How to know the nature of your being – part 2
Author of The Untethered Soul – The Journey Beyond Yourself, MICHAEL A. SINGER, shares his thoughts on the nature of the world, the mind and the heart. In part 2, he dives deeper into the nature of the mind and the heart, and how to handle the human heart – how to be at peace with the tremendous range of the heart.
If you want to know why your heart is attracted to some things and repulsed by others, it’s pretty simple. For the most part, your heart is programmed by your past experiences – just like your mind. In yogic philosophy this programming is called samskaras. Samskaras are past impressions that have created habitual energy patterns in your heart. When stimulated by an object, the heart will tend to flow in these learned directions. Note that it is not just objects in the outside world that stimulate the heart; thoughts can also stimulate the heart. The heart affects the mind and the mind affects the heart. But you already know this. When your heart gets attracted to something, your mind wants to think about it all the time. Your thoughts didn’t used to fixate on that person, place or thing, but now they do. Likewise, when you get really scared by something, suddenly that’s all you can think about.
Now I want to discuss your heart in a way that you may not like. Your heart is a very active field of energy with underlying vector flows, and none of it has anything to do with you. It is just one of the things you are aware of. One moment you notice you are attracted to something and five minutes later you’re repulsed by it. It happens all the time.You can feel completely attracted to someone until they say or do something you don’t like; then suddenly you’re turned off by them. This is what we call the personal heart because its energy flows are formed by an individual’s personal experiences. At any given moment, almost everybody is following either the personal heart or the personal mind. And in most cases the mind wins.The mind simply applies its logic based on its past experiences and then tells you, “I know how to make you happy.”
But the mind cannot make you happy. It will never make you happy. The mind only knows about thinking. In the end, real happiness must come from the heart. The very fact that you are in your mind thinking about how to be happy means you cannot be happy. All the mind can do is try to calculate what will make you happy based on your past experiences. One minute it likes something, and the next minute it doesn’t. You’ve had billions of experiences, and your thoughts about a current experience simply depend upon which of these past experiences is being stimulated the most. Eventually you come to realize that you’re so busy dealing with your mind’s likes and dislikes that you can’t feel the true happiness that springs spontaneously from your heart.
The best way to come to peace
with the mind
is to come to peace with the heart.
So are you better off following your heart than your mind? Truth is, neither will take you where you want to go. This is because neither is who you are. You are the one who experiences the heart, and you are the one who experiences the mind. If you can objectively watch something, then it is not who you are – you are the one who is watching. What do you see when you watch your heart? One thing you see is that it can open and close. You experience this as attractions and repulsions, loves and fears. You feel great inner strength when the heart is open to an experience, then if something closes your heart, all that energy drops out or becomes turbulent. That’s how you know you’re not your heart: you were there when the inspiration started, and you were there when it stopped. You’re the one who’s in there watching all these changes take place inside.
Over time you will come to realize that there is only one you in there. You who sees the world, you who witnesses the mind, and you who experiences the heart is the same you. There is only one conscious being in there aware of all these experiences. And none of what you see has anything to do with you. Only you, the awareness of being, has anything to do with you. When you reach this state of awareness, you are awake. But you will not be able to truly explore the nature of your being until you come to peace with the world, the mind, and the heart. This is your spiritual work.
By honoring the nature of the world, you can come to peace with it. Your work with the world becomes to appreciate it, honor it, kiss it hello when it comes and kiss it goodbye when it leaves. Because in truth, that is all it’s ever doing – coming and going. God is trying to teach you something: every day a new day comes and every night it goes, never to return again. Now you see it, now you don’t – like a magic trick. It has nothing to do with you; you are just experiencing it as it flows by. But the incessant activity of the mind will not allow you to honor the world. Based on its past experiences, the mind has its own idea of what should be going on, and it believes it’s right. A truly wise person understands this as part of the mind’s nature and does not struggle with it. The wise one simply looks at the personal mind with compassion, realizing that all it is doing is trying to solve the problems of the heart. Therefore, the best way to come to peace with the mind is to come to peace with the heart.
The underlying problem is that the heart is not filled with love and contentment, so the mind keeps trying to rearrange the world to make up for that. But this will never work; you must be able to deal directly with your own heart. Your heart is capable of going from the deepest lows to the highest highs. It can be filled with love, beauty, and song, or it can feel empty, painful and drained. That is part of the nature of the human heart. Like an amazing musical instrument, the heart has great range. But if you can’t handle your heart, you’re going to be drawn into your mind to try to figure out what to do about it. You’re going to use your mind to create an alternate reality of how everything needs to be so that your heart can be okay. Then you’re going to go out into the world to try to control and manipulate things to get them that way. If left to its own, that is the interplay you will see between the world, the mind, and the heart.
The alternative to all of this is to learn to handle your heart. Your most important work as a spiritual being is to learn to come to peace with the tremendous range of your heart. You have to wake up every morning and say: my heart is very interesting, and I’m going to handle wherever it goes today. You may feel tremendous love, or you may feel tremendous pain. You may go to the heights of your being and think this is the meaning of your life, or you may visit the pit of your being and think that your life has no meaning. But neither is true. These are just places your heart can go. From the seat of witness consciousness, just marvel at the tremendous range of the human heart. Love, disdain, joy, sorrow, pride, and shame are all simply places the heart can go depending upon whether it is open or closed to what’s coming in through the senses or passing through the mind.
Learn to handle your heart.
Your most important work as a spiritual being is
to learn to come to peace
with the tremendous range of your heart.
The bottom line is that your inability to handle your heart is running your entire life. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can celebrate the nature of the human heart and take great joy in experiencing its entire range. People misunderstand the path of unconditional happiness. It doesn’t mean that your heart is always feeling happiness; it means that you are always at peace with whatever your heart is feeling. Do you see the difference? There is a deep joy in your awareness of being for the honor of experiencing what you are experiencing. Tears are pouring from your eyes, but they are not tears of sorrow, and they are not tears of joy. They are tears caused by the sheer depth of experiencing what that heart has to say.
The highest spiritual practice every single moment of every
single day is to set the world free, set the mind
free, and set the heart free. When those three are
free to be true to their nature, then you will be free
to be true to your nature – your true Self.
This is the journey back to the nature of your being.
The heart is a great gift that the Universe has given you. It adds tremendous richness to your life. But because you can’t handle your heart, you are not free to explore the true nature of your being. If you want that freedom, you must learn to honor the world, observe the transient nature of the personal mind, and be able to handle the human heart. Only then can you sit comfortably in the Self; only then are you free to naturally merge into the true nature of your being.
What is the nature of your being? Christ said: “My father and I are one.” Genesis says: “God created man in his own image.” That is the true nature of Self, and you are capable of experiencing this directly. Just remember every time the heart goes someplace you think you can’t handle, you can choose to just breathe and relax back into the seat of Self, instead of getting involved in the heart or the mind. This is the highest yoga. The highest spiritual practice every single moment of every single day is to set the world free, set the mind free, and set the heart free. When those three are free to be true to their nature, then you will be free to be true to your nature – your true Self. This is the journey back to the nature of your being.
© 2012 by Michael A. Singer. This article is an edited transcript excerpted from his audio CD The Clarity of Witness Consciousness Lecture Series: The World, the Mind, the Heart, and You, published by Shanti Publications © 2009 Michael A. Singer, www.store.untetheredsoul.com or www.untetheredsoul.com.
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