The Heart and The Head
The head is analytical. It sees in black and white, right and wrong, yes and no. Hard lines. These exist in our heads, but they are about 10% of the world as we know it. The head is loud and judgmental. It believes it knows all the answers. It believes it knows the difference between right and wrong. We have 5 tangible senses that help us process external stimulus; smell, sight, sound, taste, touch.
The heart bleeds, and weeps, it expands and contracts, it hurts and it breaks, it loves and it lives. It is the seat of our soul. The essence of us. It carries the vital nourishment to our organs. It sustains us and feeds us. It speaks to us from another level of existence, from within. The heart is internal. The soul is eternal. The heart cannot smell, hear, see, taste, or touch. It depends on the sensations of the soul to guide it actions. It depends on faith and trust in it's deep knowing to light the way. The heart is a quiet and gentle soul.
I have embarked on this journey to merge the void between these two parts of myself. Sometimes it feels like a collasol communication breakdown is taking place. My head is ardently arguing about why something is wrong or bad, and my heart is telling me to soften to open and learn to let go.
It has been said that a yoga teacher can only lead her students as deep as she herself has gone. In other words, I can only teach you what I know. The more I dive into this vast and mysterious world of spirituality, the dark and the light, the rich and stale, the "thrilling and terrifying" as one of my best friends would say... the more I want to explore and feel, really truly feel the array of my emotions, whether they be happy or sad. The emotions that spring from the tornado inside my head, my imagination, the juicy tenacity of the heart, that throbs for more, these external and internal stimuli lead me down winding pathways, twisting and turning, dark corners abound, and then the light will sparkle for me, and for a brief moment, guide the way. I will be in an instant, validated. I can see it. It is within my grasp. I will get there. I wonder though, no matter how many missteps I make along the way, no matter how many times my head tells me, no, that is wrong, and my heart counters with; but what if, what if that is your destiny, that perhaps there is space for both the head and the heart to co-exist.
Some say just follow your heart. And what of the head I wonder? Do we completely ignore it? Has it not lived along side (or atop) your heart laboring and processing for just as long? I have come to believe that the head, while admittedly can be a bully at times, has some wisdom to offer up, as well. We cannot have one without the other. We have to learn to accept them both. To live with the void of uncertainty, the paradox of love existing along side of misunderstandings and fumbled words, and then there will be moments, rare, but so precious, that will remind us of our purpose. And we will continue onward.
It's true that sometimes in the thick of our journey we cannot see our way out, we may feel lost or helpless, I have been there before, and I'm sure I will be there again. In times like this though, I find solace in the words of others who have gone before me, those who have been lost in the fog of the mind and cannot feel their hearts. Poetry has always been a balm for these open wounds, and as a salve, I leave you with these words, by Mary Oliver:
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house began to tremble
and you felt the old tug at your ankles
"Mend my life!" each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible.
It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice
which you slowly recognized as your own,
that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,
determined to do the only thing you could do--
determined to save the only life you could save.