As we hurry through our day, it’s easy to forget that being is just as important as doing, as being needs to inform our doing or life will begin to feel dry, lifeless, and joyless. If we listen solely to the egoic mind (the voice in our head), we will begin to feel like an automaton, and we will find ourselves consumed with doing things that don’t bring us joy, but only more things, more money, more power—more of what the ego wants but less of what is truly meaningful.
Slowing down our pace and just being for moments throughout our day gives us access to our true nature and its innate wisdom. Hurrying, on the other hand, keeps us tied to the ego, which barks its commands, pushes us harder, and shames us. The ego views life from a lens of fear and scarcity. It doesn’t trust life because it isn’t in touch with the truth about life. It copes with its fears and insecurities by pushing us to constantly be doing. When we are caught in the ego’s world, we can never rest and just be, and we lose touch with the deep sense that all is well.
Here are some notes I made regarding the role of the heart in nondual spiritual teachings:
One of the problems with talking about the heart is that we need to define what we mean by heart. It is so often thought to be feelings, or emotions. But “follow your heart” doesn’t mean follow your feelings, such as your anger, jealousy, hatred, guilt, or sadness. As everyone intuitively knows, following your heart means following the feelings that come from your deepest Self: feelings of joy, love, peace. And yet, we talk about a broken heart. However, the broken heart is not the spiritual heart but refers to the human heart and human feelings, for the spiritual heart is not affected by the events in life.
Opening the heart is opening the spiritual heart. When the spiritual heart opens, you feel joyful, relaxed, at peace, loving, content, at one with life. This happens to everyone, sometimes many times a day or, for some, only occasionally. After awakening, when that awakening includes the heart, then the heart is open much of the time. Instead of being an occasional experience, it is more of one’s ongoing experience. In short, when you awaken, your heart opens; and when your heart opens, you awaken (at least momentarily). Awakeness and the heart are the same thing. Devotional practices are a means of opening the heart before awakening and getting to know what that experience is like. After awakening, devotional practices are a natural celebration of an already open heart.
This is so unlike the ego, which disparages such things. “Oh that—I’ve seen that before!” is its attitude. The ego wants life to be about it, not about life itself. The ego loves whatever makes it feel good about itself, not what makes it feel good. This egocentricity is one of the most obvious differences between the state of ego identification and our natural state, or Essence. The ego refers whatever is happening back to itself: What will it mean to me? But when we are in Essence, we experience Essence’s joy at experiencing itself through all of creation.
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