The Mind, Decisions, and Duality
The mind may be our greatest gift and also lead to our greatest undoing. Sometimes it feels like my mind is at war with my heart.
We live in a time and place where the mind has become the most esteemed and revered part of the human. The human mind has achieved and accomplished impressive feats of masterful engineering and design. Humans are exploring the deepest depths of the sea to the farthest reaches of our solar system and beyond. Even so, we are only barely beginning to understand the mind.
Through what we perceive to be rational processes, we are tasked with making an inordinate number of decisions each day. Practically every decision we make involves the mind, with very little emphasis placed on the heart’s longings or inner knowing.
I should turn right here, I should work harder to get that promotion, I should have known better.
The mind is inherently dualistic. There’s the right hemisphere and the left. There’s the conscious and the subconscious mind. There’s the past to consider and the future as well. There’s me and there’s you. Heaven and earth. Masculine and feminine. Suffering and bliss. It’s either/or, rarely and.
This dualism can render decision making a tricky business sometimes.
The mind is seductive as well. Somehow along the way, it tricked us into believing that it knows best, it has or will find all the answers, and it is the only organ we really need to navigate this thing called life.
This has been and continues to be my Achilles heel: I have a driven mind, one that processes my environment quickly, is thirsty for ever more knowledge, and has BIG ideas about what I need to do to accomplish my very lofty goals.
And while my goals and intentions are for the betterment of others as well as myself, my mind very often hijacks the process. For me, it shows up as a relentless work ethic that keeps me DOing more than BEing. There’s a compulsion to work harder, left over from my earlier days of perfectionism, and working in a male-dominated industry. There’s an inner voice telling me to keep pushing, no matter what. It’s my mind, driving me ever forward.
And while drive and determination are generally good things, moderation is everything. There is a time for pushing, for strategizing, for planning – all things the mind is especially equipped to do. But there is also a time for rest, repair, and rejuvenation. The mind, with its entrenched behavioral patterns, ain’t so good at this part – unless you’ve made rest, repair, and rejuvenation a habit.
For me, years of living in the mind space contributed to total burnout (body, mind and spirit). My brain chemistry was fried, my hormones went ultra wacky, and my grind came to a halt. Not because I wanted to take a break – far from it. Everything stopped because my body couldn’t and wouldn’t be driven any further.
This was by far the most challenging period in my life. I only knew the life of the mind. Through trauma and the resulting BS I believed about myself, I had nearly severed the energetic connection between my body (my heart) and my mind. I wanted desperately to return to business as usual – to my driven, hard-working, high-achieving life. Spirit said, “No way, Jose” and I had to learn remember how to listen to the wisdom of my heart.
Rebuilding my life on the physical plane meant rebuilding my life on the spiritual plane. My heart needed to start navigating if I was going to make it through. I’m grateful for that really difficult experience that forced me into my heart space.
Does that mean it’s easy for me now? Some days it is. Lots of days I still struggle. As a creative, my personal creativity is a huge blessing and sometimes feels like a burden. I have more ideas than can ever be brought to fruition in a lifetime. I want to experience EVERYTHING (well, sorta… almost). But the heart and the body say, wait. Rest, relax, repair.
Don’t rush the river, it flows on it’s own.
Want to know how to tell if your mind is in charge and not your heart?
I’ll give you a hint, it’s all about the ego. Pay attention to when you hear yourself think or say the following:
I should be/do/say/act…
You/they should… You’ll/they’ll want… You/they need…
Living in the space of the thinking mind creates a false sense of separation. And separation causes suffering. All judging and criticizing happens in this space. And it just doesn’t feel very good.
Some of the emotional and chemical reactions to living in the mind space for too long are: intense stress responses, feelings of inferiority or superiority, seeing the world as “other”, feeling a sense of not belonging, not good-enoughness, needing to compare and compete.
The Heart and Singularity
They used to say the mind is a terrible thing to waste. But what about the heart?
If the mind lives in duality, the energy of the heart is singular. The heart lives in the now, in this very moment. The heart expresses the unity of the divine. It is through the energy center of the heart that we are able to connect the BEINGness of our animal nature with the inspired mind. In the chakra system, the heart is the balancing point between the seven chakras or energy centers. It harmonizes and brings together the animal with the spirit.
The heart has at least 40,000 neurons, nowhere near as many as the brain. But interestingly, most of the neurons are used to send information, not to receive signals. So while we think of the brain as giving the marching orders for the rest of the body, the heart is wired to send more marching orders than it receives. Why would this be so?
According to the HeartMath Institute, the heart is the most powerful source of electromagnetic energy in the body. In addition, the heart’s electrical field is 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity generated in the brain. The magnetic field generated by the heart is 100 times greater in strength than the brain and can be detected up to three feet away in all directions.
This explains how high vibe people are infectious and magnetic, even. And why low vibe people or situations will bring us down. When we’re within the electromagnetic field of another, we become entrained to their vibration for better or for worse.
We have so many idioms and sayings about the heart: We’re told to follow our hearts, and that our heart knows best.
Yet no one teaches us how to follow our hearts, how to trust the guidance and inner knowing of the heart. If anything, our culture teaches us to question the heart and follow our head. Be rational, make smart decisions, do the right thing. While you’re at it, stuff those emotions.
Well have you ever noticed how hard it can be to know what the right thing is? Our head says, go left! While our heart says, go right! “I really want to change careers and live a life of purpose, but my head says to stay at the job I hate and chase that money.”
The emotional and chemical responses to living in the heart space are: feeling balanced, creative, loving, compassionate, feeling a sense of belonging, following a sense of inner knowing. The knowingness that life is unfolding for you.
Living in the space of the heart fosters a sense of unity and connectedness. It is the opposite of and antidote to separateness and the suffering it causes.
Coherence – How to Bridge the Head and the Heart
Coherence is described as clarity of thought, speech, or emotional composure. Or the synchronization or entrainment between multiple waveforms.
A coherent energy wave can generate enough power to collapse bridges. Whereas incoherence is like two drummers who can’t keep a beat together. It’s highly disorganized and makes me go a little crazy.
When the brain and heart are out of coherence, we feel scattered, annoyed, disorganized in our thoughts and actions, and easily frazzled. We are not at our best, nor our most creative, and certainly not our most loving.
To perform and feel our very best, we want to create coherency between our heart and our brain. Our thinking mind tells us the heart needs to get in line with our mind. However, it is the brain that synchronizes to the heart’s coherent rhythm. Not the other way around. You create coherence when you learn to shift your emotional state, which then calms your mind.
Heart Focus: Focus your attention in the area of your heart, in the center of your chest.
Heart Breathing: As you focus on the area of your heart, imagine your breath flowing in and out through that area.
Heart Feeling: As you continue to breathe through the area of your heart, recall a positive feeling, a time when you felt good inside, and try to re-experience it. It could be feeling appreciation for the good things in your life, or the love and care you feel for someone.
From this place of coherence, we can step out of the monkey mind, we can ditch our self-judgment and criticism, and we can better embrace the fullness of our human and spiritual experience.
Simply put, by choosing to reprogram our limiting thoughts, heal the pains of the past, and consciously choose to shift our emotional state, we can create the experience we are longing for.
Have you ever felt like your head was at war with your heart? Does your heart long for something that your head thinks is unwise?
Ask yourself, are you ready to change the stories and habits that keep you in an incoherent state?
- Am I ready to change what I believe about myself, and what I believe about the world around me?
- Do I want to continue to feel separate from the world, from the divine, from myself, even?
- Am I ready to let go of the past in order to create the future experience I am craving?
- Am I ready to make new habits to change my energetic state?
- Do I truly believe I am worthy of it?
I want to hear about it! Send me a message.
Are you ready for clarity around the patterns that keep you out of balance and harmony? Are you ready for change? Book a free session to talk with me and find out what your next best step is to rebalance your head and heart, and create the fulfilling, connected life you’re craving.