Who takes charge – your head or your heart?
Making arrangements to meet a long-time school friend was quite challenging recently – all my suggestions were rejected so I just left everything to her.
Interestingly, I was aware of observing myself listening patiently as she catalogued her ideas until she made a decision.
The above scenario highlights two key experiences gleaned from meditation. The first one is: you cannot change anyone but you can choose how you respond to a situation.
This leads to the second key lesson: acceptance and doing this with an open heart.
In the case of my friend, I look beyond her attitude and see the hurt she carries. Life has taught her to be tough as a way of protecting herself from more pain. One the flip side, she is also incredibly kind, generous and caring.
During the coming Festive Season and other end-of-year celebrations, you may be with relatives, friends, acquaintances, clients or work colleagues who are challenging in different ways to my friend.
So what do you do? It is simple – choose whether to respond from your head or from your heart.
When you head takes charge, you allow all your pre-programmed thoughts, beliefs and assumptions to determine your actions – and you tend to react.
When you respond from your heart, you recognise that just like my friend, everyone’s personality is a potpourri of attitudes and experiences. You may also reflect if you really know a person’s life story and the reasons for the inner barriers that he or she has created.
When you open your heart, you simply observe without judging.
However, there is so much more to the heart connection. Consider how through the centuries, literature has mentioned the wisdom of listening to your heart for guidance. From a scientific perspective, the quietness of your heart activates the right hemisphere of your brain which is a realm for intuition.
Meditation researcher John Selby highlights in Quiet Your Mind how the makeup of the heart mirrors the brain – about 65 per cent of the cells in your heart are neurones, exactly like those in the brain.
The heart also produces hormones that influence the brain’s response. The heart connects to the specific regions of the brain related to emotions and perception, via the spine’s complex neural pathways system.
The final aspect is especially relevant during this busy socialising time of year – the heart broadcasts a powerful electromagnetic force field that radiates out almost five metres.
So be aware of the heart energies that people radiate because they influence the energies of your heart and your response.
Also, when you are mindful about your heart being gentle, loving and open, you will discover the delight of connecting with people and enjoying all that life offers.
And finally, from my heart to yours… wishing you a wonderful Festive Season and a happy, healthy and meditative New Year.