It was the first day of orientation and unlike the rigors of the educational system when seeking a degree, the expectation was clearly stated that “our goal is to pull your mind into your heart.” It was a unique turn of phrase…to pull our mind into our heart. In this program, the goal wasn’t to complete every assignment; to ace the tests (there weren’t any!); or even to memorize all the brilliant writers that we collectively would study. The clear goal was to get our mind and heart to be one. Not to become more logical, analytical or intellectual, but to become more loving. For love is an outgrowth of heart, not the mind.
Perhaps you experienced years of Western education models marked by achievement and merit. If so, then you have experienced the focusing of mind—teach them what they should know, and they will live by it. It has been the model of Sunday schools, of parochial schools, of education as a whole. The church further entrenches this ideal by quoting Paul’s admonition to the Romans, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Through the Enlightenment, we took this to mean that the head (mind) is the root of motivation—teach new ways, dogma, ideologies…people will live by it and we’ll have a better society.
Overall, this focus on education has been a gift in many ways except we now have enough evidence that morality and character isn’t a mental construct. Rather, they are rooted in a deeper place. We struggle to make the quantum leap from living out of a mind-focus to living through our heart. For the ancients, and the indigenous faiths, taught that the core of motivation is held in our heart (not literal, but something deeper). This was true in our scriptures! This week, we’ll explore living from the heart and allowing the mind to sink into this place.