I was recently asked to comment on a blog exploring the idea as to whether or not it is “critical to follow your heart”. It got me thinking (quite a bit). Oh, and I make no excuses for the apparent New Age flavour to this post. It’s just how it came out!
Over the past few years, I have become more aware that we have several centres of intelligence. The mind is but one. The heart is another. More recently, the gut has been recognised by scientists as having its own intelligence.
In such a fragmented world, where academics and book writers are rewarded for micro-ideas that can be framed into sound bytes (such as the one above), I find it interesting to call on history and the ancient wisdom of the Hindu/Buddhist Chakra system. In this system, there are seven centres of energy within the body. Each system nowadays has a colour of the rainbow associated with it. The heart charka is green and is at the centre of the system.
One of the main issues in today’s world seems to be that the mind (indigo) and communication (blue) centres are so energetic – with our so-called “knowledge society” coupled with “mass broadcast media” that the other (lower) forms of subtle energy get drowned-out.
Maybe this is an age-old problem? For there is also an ancient buddhist saying that “the longest journey in life is from the head to the heart”.
Anyway, I am currently doing some research on how the seven centres of chakric energy can become better balanced – not just within the context of an individual – but also in organisations AND society in general.
- Without a higher purpose, life becomes meaningless.
- Without mind that is connected to serve others, life becomes ego-centric and selfish.
- Without clearly articulating what you want for yourself or your organisation, others won’t understand where you are coming from and ignore you or misinterpret your ideas.
- Without being allowed to truly express your feelings, life becomes emotionally blocked.
- Without a sense that you are truly empowered, life becomes deeply frustrating.
- Without a co-creative connection with others in your family or tribe, life becomes lonely.
- Without a place to call home, life becomes frightening.
And so, to the main discussion about whether or not it is critical to follow your heart.
On thinking about the idea, I came to the conclusion that it isn’t just when the heart-centre is “in flow” – or we are “in the groove” that we get that feeling of life-is-good. It is when ALL the energy centres are aligned to create an organic energy that is more than the sum of its constituent parts. It is at such times that we, as human beings, are most connected to our fellow human beings – and to the natural world around us.
In terms of organisations, as regular readers will know, I look for much of my inspiration in the work that I do a as a beekeeper. I find the universal energy which is generated in abundance from the colonies of bees that I keep is indescribable – it has to be felt to be understood. The ways that the movements and (unrecordable) energies from each tiny, individual bee are compounded to create a colony that vibrates and energises the space around for the greater good of the colony is not too dissimilar to an organisation or society where the subtle forms of energy are recognised, amplified and aligned to a higher purpose. Religious movements are one obvious answer. But there are many other examples – some with “good” objectives. Others perhaps, with more dubious ones.
I’ve also come to believe that intuition and flashes of inspiration (Ahah! moments, if you like) are not from us, but come to us when we most need them or call upon them. The egoic state sees itself as the centre of the universe. But spiritual practice is about removing the ego and tuning into more subtle forces of universal energy that pull you. It is as if you are plugged-into connected consciousness and more aware of the subtle energies that might give you a greater chance to allow your energy to be mixed in more rewarding, unique ways.
So, it probably is important to follow your heart (over your head). But true connectedness comes when each energy centre is in alignment with the whole. It is then that we give up pushing and allow ourselves to be pulled. It is then that all the dots are joined-up and where everything makes sense after the fact. This was so well articulated by Steve Jobs when he delivered his famous speech to Stanford graduates:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” Jobs told the Stanford grads. “You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Trouble is, it’s very difficult to put all this stuff into a few sound-bytes and broadcast them over Twitter – or even a blog post like this!