HomeVOLUME 6May 2021The heartful innovator – part 5

In the previous articles, RAVI VENKATESAN outlined 4 key aspects of the “inner state” that we want to fine tune to become Heartful Innovators. He explored the role of the intellect, ego and awareness, and their transformation in enabling innovation. Here he explores the role our mind plays in innovation.

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I always find it interesting that whenever someone talks about their thoughts, they point to their head.

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On the other hand, when they talk about their feelings, they point to their heart.

Is a thought really in our head (brain) and a feeling in our heart? No, because thought is not a physical thing. Yes, when we have certain thoughts and feelings, we can see their physical manifestation in brain activity or heart rate, but that is just a manifestation. So where are our thoughts and feelings?

Thoughts form in what we call the mind, which is not the same as the brain. The mind is a non-physical vibrational field, which has two ends of a spectrum – what we commonly call the mind (not the brain) and what we commonly call the heart (not the physical heart). To understand this better, let’s take a couple of examples.

As Sally goes to bed, she has an uncomfortable feeling that she forgot to do something. While falling asleep, she wakes up suddenly, remembering that she forgot to lock the main door after guests had left that evening. The feeling has generated a thought.

Jake has an unexpected surprise when his boss tells him he will receive a very nice bonus and appreciates what Jake has done. As he heads home, the thought of the bonus is no longer in his conscious mind, but he still feels great through the day and carries that feeling with him. In this case, the thought has generated a feeling.

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If you observe closely, you will find that when a thought slips from conscious levels to subconscious levels of awareness, it becomes a feeling. And when a feeling comes up from subconscious levels to conscious levels of awareness it becomes a thought. So, thoughts and feelings live at two ends of a spectrum that we call the mind and heart. Since it is a spectrum, there is no such thing as a pure thought or a pure feeling. A thought always carries the shadow of a feeling and vice versa.

There is a level in between, which we might call sensing. The easiest way to understand this is when we are looking at a problem and thinking about various solutions. If we step back, we often “sense” the right solution. We can even practice this as a creative problem-solving technique. It is interesting that the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sensing as “to have a vague awareness of ” and also “to have a clear idea of.”

Thoughts and feelings live at two ends of a spectrum that we call the mind and heart. Since it is a spectrum, there is no such thing as a pure thought or a pure feeling. A thought always carries the shadow of a feeling and vice versa.

For an innovator, this ability to step back, “sense” and eventually “feel” or intuit solutions to problems is one of the most useful abilities. So why utilize the “feeling” side? Consider this: According to Dr. Bruce Lipton in The Biology of Belief, the subconscious mind can process 20,000,000 bits of information per second, whereas the conscious mind can only process 40 bits of information per second. So, the subconscious mind can process 500,000 times more than the conscious mind.

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Here are a few simple exercises to develop the sensing and feeling side of the heart-mind spectrum:

1. Do 20 minutes of meditation every day. Heartfulness Meditation is a great practice to rapidly expand our awareness from the thinking to the feeling level.

2. Practice pausing during meetings or conversations, and pay attention to your feelings. Try to “sense” what is going on versus thinking it through all the time.

3. Develop the habit of paying attention to signals from your body, which can often take you away from the world of thoughts to the world of sensing and later feeling. For example, when you are about to have a conversation with a colleague and feel a knot in your stomach, explore that feeling a little more to see if there is a signal to heed.

In the next few articles, we will explore more practices that help make the shift to becoming a Heartful Innovator.


Ravi Venkatesan

Ravi lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently Head of Innovation at Bakkt. He is also a regular public speaker and public speaking coach. He has been a Heartfulness meditator for over 20 years and is passionate about applying meditation lessons to improve workplace relationships and productivity.


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