Archive for October 3rd, 2011

Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.”
                                   Proverbs 4:23

I’ve been living my heart’s desire for quite a while now. For me, that means there has been more than the usual amount of time I allow myself for quiet reflection, for prayer, and for writing both in my journal and on projects and to other writers.

Service to others seems to flow naturally from this but there is not a lot of volunteering or championing a cause. There is just a pretty small circle of friends and family members I touch where I am grateful to play a part of some facet of enrichment in their lives.

Other times it is as simple as completing a fresh load of laundry and a general light house-keeping sweep to make our surroundings comfortable to Tom and me. So by world-standards, this is not Nobel Peace Prize winning performance.

But to me — I have joy in my heart and peace in my soul. Pretty good stuff. In “One World, One Home, One Heart,” Christine Whitelaw talks about Oneness being a true and wonderful message for World Heart Day, recently celebrated on September 29. She explains the heart is recognized in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the Empress of the body, the whole health of the body being dependent on the heart.

Further the heart rules peaceably our body of One with its many intricate systems, organs and cells. Ancient traditions believed the heart was the center of intelligence and personality. More recent studies in science have discovered neurones in the heart gives the heart intelligence to guide what happens harmoniously throughout the body.

John O’Donohue, in “Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom” draws attention to the importance of the heart in both the Christian and Jewish tradition. The holy sacrament of Baptism of the infant includes a special anointing of the baby’s heart. Baptism comes from the Jewish tradition which believes the heart is the center of all emotions. The blessing in Baptism intends that the infant may flow freely in the world and gather from the world peace and joy.

Then O’Donohue talks about another part of our humanity — two parts actually — one you see, one you don’t. The outer face, he says, is our “icon of intimacy”. This is what we present to the world as ourselves. But he says everyone has an inner face also, unseen by all.

The heart, he says, is the inner face of your life. We strive to make this face beautiful in our journey of life. It is here, in the inner face, that love gathers within you. Love is absolutely vital for human life. 

“Love begins with paying attention to others, with an act of gracious self-forgetting. This is the condition in which we grow. Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back,” says O’Donohue.  And we must, he warns, remain attentive to be able to receive love, for it is not only self-forgetting but learning to take care of oneself and be given to, wherein love is truly learned.

It turns out, I feel pretty harmonious when I follow my heart in my thoughts and actions. When I follow my heart, I cannot most of the time explain either scientifically or logically, why I am doing what I do. But then I realize, in many cases, I don’t have to. I trust the set of intentions I have laid down for how I live my life and now I’ve begun the adventure of stepping out more and more often into following my heart.

And it is an adventure. On the outside looking in, things look pretty normal. But this inner face of mine increasingly seems to have an agenda I need to listen in on, attend to its still, small voice, and discern how I am going to get on with my day without disregarding its guidance. This sounds pretty general but it sometimes makes for pretty specific changes in how I thought my day was going to go.  Another word of disguise for this is I am living by my intuition.

Anyway, I agree on the love part. It is of the utmost importance. In fact, I think if there ever is a judgment day where questions will be asked by the Divine, there may be only one question:

“Did you learn to love and be loved.”


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