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The Head and the Heart

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Joined: 24 Apr 2004
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:05 am    Post subject: The Head and the Heart

I wanted to start this topic because like most things on the journey to wholeness, there is a point of balance, of integration.

In the 12 step programs they say that the longest journey in the world is the journey one takes from the head to the heart.

Bhakti and devotion is heart. The intellect is put on hold and the experience of, or addiction to, love becomes god. What I have always loved about the 'tao of raj yoga' (thanks Errol... beautiful!) is that knowledge is the foundation.

The challenge then for souls like me, and I suspect some other members in this forum, is not to undo our heart experience before it even happens through reductionist reasoning. I have struggled with doubt on and off my whole life... well before 'signing up' for RY. The pattern within my nature that seeks to find truth, has me arguing away happiness and gentleness and love. And truth doesn't necessarily find it's way closer to my world through this methodology.

I have come to realise that I carry a deeply etched fear of 'losing myself' - my sanity, my capacity for self rule, my independence - if I move more to the heart, put the thinking, critical analysis on hold. However, one thing is to think deeply and effectively about the challenges or inconsistencies along the path, but to submit to the habit of the head overruling the heart utterly, just creates long term damage to the soul.

And vice-versa.

The way/s of knowing have to be greater than just thinking and feeling. I have noticed that when I look after my thoughts well (not too many, and quality) and when my yog is focused and open and trusting... I experience clarity beyond devotion, beyond logic. Such vibrant insight - the good the bad and the ugly - without judgment, without anger, without resentment... just seeing and freedom... and the love of it all.

I will stop here but am interested in hearing/reading others' experiences of this journey... on the journey.

I love some of the conversation that takes place in this forum... thanks to all for sharing your open, honest and interesting perspectives and experiences.

Joined: 23 Jun 2004
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 4:04 am    Post subject: Head and Heart

Dear Casa,

Your fears and concerns are well taken.

The BK MODEL OF THE SOUL is still useful. In fact I have not found a better model. MAN, BUDDHI AND SANSKARS are always interacting. Sanskars are very powerful and do override or simply get under the radar of the Buddhi or intellect.

I have been trained in western science. However, with the Paras BUDDHI, I am able to make a decision consistent with Shrimath, even when the sanskars of science seem abundant. There are times when the intellect takes a back seat. Those times include when I'm in deep yog or if I'm fully concentrating.

One day at a high school where I used to teach, a student deronated a sulfur dioxide bomb. The chemical reaction was in the early stages. I made a pico-second decision to inactivate the bomb. I held it and turned it over such that it was deprived of oxygen. I quickly stuffed it in a plastic bag and sprinted out of the building with it and threw it into the school yard. One school official observing me inactivate the bomb, commented that I seemed to be in deep focused concentration. At that instant when I was diffusing the bomb, I felt I was in another zone, in which my intellect was not processing the information from my sanskars. I was simply acting and my body was responding to instructions from my sanskars. It was however an experience at the level of the heart and not the head.
Om Shanti,
To my brothers and sisters.

Love to you all,
Errol bhai
   Yahoo Messenger

Joined: 24 Mar 2004
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 5:14 pm    Post subject:

What a beautifully phrased question, Casa. Indeed, what is the role of the doubting, logical mind on the spiritual journey?

David Harvey, one of the gurus of critical geography, related an interesting story in the introducation to one of his books. He was at a conference - some critical/post-modern/progressive/fill-in-the-blank-latest-'ist' event. Sharing the conference hotel were a number of Christian Pentacostals (or similar denomination) gathered there for a convacation of their own. David Harvey was struck by how happy the Pentacostals appeared next to the brooding intellectuals. How could the years of schooling and deliberate study of efforts to make the world a better place have only lead to a sense of inefficacy and hopelessness among these academics, he wondered? Of course I, a whole-hearted Brahmin at the time of my initial reading of this thought I had all the answers Smile.

Our intellect seems so useless sometimes. Gyaniwasi asked, who is Shiv Baba? Yet do we even have the capacity to figure that out in a way that would put to rest the doubts of a logical mind? It is sometimes frustrating to be able only to get an occasional peek under the curtain of that dazzling, greater spiritual realm.

Faith is the hand that can lift that curtain,but it is also a force that leaves us deeply vulnerable, as Ifegenia has deftly illustrated.

Could the middle ground possibly be to take things on board - not because our logical mind tells us they are true, but because our logical mind tells us our lives -and the lives of those around us - are better if we believe?

For example, taking on a fundamental belief in human equality -that we are all beautiful, good souls leads to respect, greater justice in the world and more love. Yet patterns of crime, conflict and other social pathologies would seem to counter this to the logical mind.

By contrast, on this basis we could reject the notion that the spiritual path we are on is looked upon more favorably by God than any other. This is because even if this seemed the case to our logical mind (we wouldn't follow a path if it wasn't the best one, right?), we would reject the notion becuase of the arrogance and disrespt for others it breeds.

Of course, this is in many ways an un-Brahmin approach because what business do we have filtering the teachings of God? On the other hand, becuase I do think the greater part of the Brahin teachings would pass this test, perhaps it is a reasonable way to negotiate our faith.

Thoughts from you all?

Joined: 23 Jun 2004
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:15 am    Post subject: Head and heart


Thank you.

Hollywood over-dramatized your concerns in a 1982 film on yoga. In the film, Altered States, a Harvard professor was experimenting on himself using yoga. He would immerse himself in a sensory deprivation tank and experience altered states, including out of body experiences (OOBEe). The film was a biography of the late
Dr. John Lilly a neuropsychologist who studied communications between humans and dolphins and experimented with altered states of consciousness in sensory deprivation tanks.
I have never meditated in a sensory deprivation tank. It is egg shaped and filled with water. You are floating in the water, in an upright vertical position. When it is closed, you are cut off from any external sounds and sights, and you are floating in water, i.e. no influence of gravity. It is dark and there are no sounds, except your heart beats and breathing. Its simply, you, your body and soul.
It's scary. But it seems as though, the stage of soul conscoiusness can be attained quickly.
There is still a website in Dr. Lilly's name.
Om Shanti,
To my brothers and sisters.

Love to you all,
Errol bhai
   Yahoo Messenger

Joined: 24 Apr 2004
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:41 am    Post subject:

Isabel I keep reading and re-reading your post... so magnificent. I want to sit with the wisdom of your thoughts, let them find a worthy resting place beyond mere 'retort', before I respond.
thank you - sincerely

Joined: 22 Feb 2004
Posts: 167

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:49 pm    Post subject:

Here's the post I mentioned under a...xBKs "Hopefully objective ....." post.

I revive it to give a...xbk an idea of the conflict between the head and the heart faced by many of us over long years and also the nature of responses: from hanuman's scientific-like interpretation of the topic to isabel's and casa's emotional responses.

Tete, you might find this helpful in understanding also ....

"Those were the days my friend ...."
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