Keys to inner growth - Balancing the mind and the heart.
There are two aspects to life, one is visible, and the other is invisible. As individual beings, we are finite visible reservoirs of life’s energies. There is a broader and more encompassing facet of life, an invisible continuum that pervades all beings. The senses cannot perceive this link. The transient and finite manifestations of life recognized by our senses turn into a composite experience through the brain-mind interaction. All such experiences come and go and are not permanent. The mind deals with the visible aspects of life. Love is invisible to the senses. The heart is the portal for touching this dimension of life. Unconditional love transcends both the body and the mind. Love in its purest form is a fragrance that cannot be seen, touched or tasted. We can feel it welling up from deep within our being. Inner growth depends on the balance between the visible and invisible, the mind and the heart. A silent mind amid a blossom of love leads to lasting happiness.
In the mind, growth is associated with happiness. Growth that is linked to finite objects can be quantified. This outer growth is a significant aspect of human life. However, the essence of joy cannot be quantified; what the mind calls as happiness is relative to the absence of unhappiness. Whenever happiness has a linear relationship to something external, it is manufactured in the mind. Just as a plastic flower has no natural fragrance, such manufactured happiness is not transformative and does not touch the deeper depths of our being. When there isn't a proportional linear relationship such as when something small and insignificant in the eyes of the world brings us immense happiness, we can say we have scratched the surface of true happiness. The mind is not good at managing happiness as what the mind calls happiness is a false idea. When the mind equates growth with joy, it follows that loss corresponds to unhappiness.
If we were to encapsulate all our longings, wants and desires into one thing, it would be seeking infinite expansion of happiness. It is extremely rare to find anyone with such a full expression of happiness. Almost everyone is holding onto finite thoughts, objects, and experiences. By doing so, we place limitations and conditions upon ourselves. If renouncing the grosser aspects of life such as physical possessions seems hard, giving up the subtle object, “I” is much harder. From the perspective of our deeper sense of being, the “I” is a limitation. What that “I” wants is to be happy, and all efforts go into tying happiness to that “I.” Expansion of happiness ends at the “I,” and once we remove this obstacle, happiness has no limit.
When happiness is free to expand, love automatically follows. Love has an intrinsic universal quality and extends beyond the human species. For example, the protective embrace of love that creates bonds between a mother and child seen in humans is also there in animal species. In animals, love finds instinctual expression, and in humans, it finds both conditioned and unconditioned expressions. The mind mediates the conditioned expression of love and unconditioned expression is through the heart. The mind knows only transactional love. In the mind, love comes and goes depending on the presence or absence of something else. The mind is not trying to trick us, and it is merely trying to put love, which has immeasurable depth, into the framework of finite quantities. It happens through the dilution of love. Such dilution causes love to become conditional.
The mind lives on the expectation of receiving love and happiness from others, whereas the nature of the heart is to spread these two without expectation. The mind is a taker, and the heart is a giver. Through the mind, it becomes a give and take phenomenon. The more mind-oriented we get, the more our awareness gets chained to the individual and finite aspects of our being. When we give without the mind as a medium, it becomes more of a transfer from one hand to another. Just as we don’t talk in terms of gifting from our left and to our right hand, when the mind is not involved, there will be no remembrance or expectation of a return when we give to another. But when we spread happiness and love through the mind, ego comes into play, and we start to think in terms of those who are ‘deserving’ and others who may be ‘undeserving.’ We begin to pick and chose who should receive from and us and when. The mind weighs and compares and makes such judgments. Everyone is equally deserving in the eyes of existence, but not so for the mind.
It is paradoxical that the mind seeks to source love from the outside world when our heart is a storehouse of love and joy and is always ready to share. The mind does not readily accept love and happiness that emanates from inside as it may devalue its possessions - thoughts and experiences related to the outer world. By linking happiness with our belongings, the value of the latter can go up or down. The mind uses this as a hook to keep our awareness trapped.
Humans are capable of freely demonstrating unconditional love. It is our very nature, but we take it as a significant achievement as very few practice this in their lives. The basic requirements for unconditional love are humility and submission. True submission is stepping down, from the mind to the heart. When we submit to the heart, humility automatically rises to the mind. When the mind is managed from the heart, the interactions between the heart and the mind become harmonious and contributes to inner growth.
In any organization, when people good at specific tasks are assigned such duties, not only do they find professional satisfaction, but the organization as a whole succeeds. Each human being is an organization of three entities - the heart, the mind, and awareness. Humankind as a whole cannot grow and prosper until ‘individual organizational units’ begin to grow and flourish. Inner growth is individual and relates to enhancing love and wisdom. Outer growth is universal and relates to humankind as a whole, as well as nature that supports all life. Our focus is on the individual and the external. This pairing is artificial and makes our awareness tilt towards the mind and away from the heart.
Consequently, the mind has the additional task of managing love and happiness, which is the domain of the heart. The mind’s forte is the collection, analysis, and interpretation of experiences and working through desires. We lose precious time searching for happiness in the mind, all the while it remains stored in the silence of the heart. The mind, by nature, is not a quiet place. It needs to be continuously engaged. It comes after us with greater force when we try to ignore its presence. The heart, on the other hand, has to be sought and found. It is quiet, shy, and reclusive. In this respect, the mind is masculine, and the heart is feminine. Awareness is in the middle, and it is neither masculine nor feminine. It acts as a bridge between the heart and the mind.
When there is a balance between the heart and the mind, there is inner growth. When the heart becomes the soil we live on, and the mind functions as the plow, we can prepare the bed on which we can safely plant seeds of awareness. As those seeds sprout and grow, we can then put the mind aside just as a plow is not needed at harvest time. The fruits of awareness are bountiful. When the mind is made the soil, seeds of awareness will not sprout just as seeds scattered in a desert will not take. Rich, flowing love is needed for awareness to flourish. Awareness belongs neither to the mind nor the heart, but through awareness, their respective energies can be channeled towards the greater good.
Through awareness, we cannot control the mind, and through it, we should not control the heart. Awareness is best left choiceless, neither towards the heart nor the mind. When we guide it towards the middle, it serves as a conduit for excess energy from the mind to flow towards the heart. Coarse mental energy turns into a softer and reflective form with the influence of the heart. Similarly, excess energy from the heart may be directed to the mind bringing the power of love as the cement that binds the right thoughts together to create inner transformation. This beautiful dance between the heart and mind will restore harmony within our being. When we are happy and content to be in the company of our heart and mind, inner growth follows.