27 March 2016

Seeing and Hearing--with the Heart

I've really had to make a lot of effort to see and hear with my heart instead of my eyes and ears and brain, mostly because my mind values evidence--a lot.  I like to know something because I witnesses it with one of my senses, because I've actually experienced it that way, rather than with any feeling. Because we have to face the fact:  when we see and hear with our hearts, we're working more from the realm of feeling than we are from evidence.

And that's okay to me--now.

For years, though, I thought I couldn't trust my heart. I had a bit of a warped way of reading my heart, always with a bit of suspicion that didn't allow me to have a great deal of faith in the ways that I was interpreting what my heart told me or showed me. Because of that lack of faith, my brain always interfered with the messages that my heart was sending me, and when I made decisions, that interference tended to sabotage them and make their results become very unpleasant.

For example, if I really wanted to like someone but my heart told me the person wasn't good for me, my brain would jump right in and come up with three or four reasons why my heart was wrong, and I would try to make that person a part of my life--usually with pretty negative results. But I was also dealing with depression and loneliness, so my brain thought that it needed to try to "fix" those two conditions.

Some people might call this a conflict between the rational/logical tendencies of the mind and the emotional feelings of the heart. I call it not trusting the heart and trying to put the logical/rational side of ourselves in the driver's seat, all the time. I've learned over time that it's important for me to pay close attention to my feelings because--and here's the part that many people will argue with--I can trust my feelings more than I can trust my logic.

And I've learned to do so through experience. I do not by any means mean to diminish the power or strength of the logical/rational mind, and in fact, my feelings and my logic tell me the same thing perhaps 95% of the time. But in those other 5% of the situations in my life, my feelings are always more accurate than my logic.

But here's the hard part: my feelings are more accurate only when I don't allow my logic to interfere with their message.

My heart tells me things by putting my body and mind at ease or by causing my body to tense up and feel uncomfortable. My heart tells me things by letting me feel peace. My heart tells me things by helping me to avoid conflict and find cooperation. My heart isn't the source of "romantic love," as all the songs will tell you--it's the source of unconditional love, which extends to everything in this world. If you'll let it, your heart will change your life by guiding you in ways that your mind can't even imagine.


07 March 2016

What Does It Mean to Be Great?

The True Measure of Greatness

Randall S. Weeks

A young student once asked his old teacher, "Teacher, what is the true measure of greatness?"  The teacher looked far away into the mountains and gave the following reply:

Some measure greatness in height and weight, but great people are never so tall as when they stoop to talk to a child or bend their knees to help a hurting friend.

Some measure greatness in physical strength, but great people are never so strong as when they shoulder the burden of the downtrodden stranger.

Some measure greatness in terms of financial gain, but those who show generosity to their family and friends, they are the ones who are truly rich.

Some measure greatness in applause and accolades, but those who seek opportunity to serve in the quiet places of the world, theirs is the higher reward.

Some measure greatness in commitment to achieving in material ways, but those who spur others on to reach their goals is great indeed.

Great people have vision and do not keep the truth to themselves.

Great people have passion for life and are not ashamed to show it.

Great people expect the best from others and give the best of themselves.

Great people know how to work and how to play, how to laugh and how to cry, how to give and how to receive, how to love and how to be loved.

There are many people who are by the world called "great," but those who bear honor in their hearts, who can, in the evening hours, lie upon their beds and peacefully close their eyes, knowing that they have done all that is within their power to live their lives fully and fruitfully, those are truly great people.