Posted on Sep 15, 2010

One of the things I most love to do is to walk my dog along the railroad tracks down by the creek. The town lays on one side of the path, while on the other the lake lies shimmering and surrounded by snow-capped mountains; the air is clean and fresh and being there does my heart good! 

What do you think I mean when I say, “It does my heart good?”  Do I mean that there is some actual effect on my physical heart?  Maybe.  If  it makes me smile, that activates the muscles that generate the “happy hormones” (dopamine, I think they’re called.) At the same time the blood vessels in the back of the neck release their tension and the blood pressure is lowered.  Since blood pressure and heart problems are related, it seems that smiling and feeling happy actually do do the heart good.  But as many people as there are hearing this question, there are probably almost as many ideas of what that means.  Language is so marvelous.  It allows us to express ourselves and define ourselves, and our world and our thought lives, and everything we can perceive as far as our sensitivity extends.  It’s a way of sharing and communicating everything; and our language, the English language, is especially elastic, creative and magical.  We have adopted and continue to adopt tens of thousands of words from other languages and therefore, ours is expanding constantly. 

The person who most taught me that and to whom I am very grateful was Richard Burton (tell about his writing).  He illuminated the language and taught me that language can transport or move the senses and thought beyond words toward the wordless source of meaning.  He beckoned me to the study of human speech.  He made me search for what makes a word reverberate so that it comes alive in us, thus becoming word made flesh.  The power of mantra and affirmations is that correctly recited, they can become the objects they represent.  They are literally “seed sounds” that grow and draw substance to themselves with repetition.  And of course, in moments of heightened consciousness, speech gives way to silence, which is its own language, as is nature or music.

In the 4th and 5th centuries, pilgrims visiting the hermitage of the Desert Fathers, who practiced long silences, would always open their dialogues by saying, “Give me a word that I might live.” So today I want to give you one word, the word “heart”, as in “it does my heart good.”  I’m not profound, nor a desert father, so I’m thinking of it as a word game to play with you.  I want it to be fun and playful, so I’ll try to make it “light-hearted.”  Now what on earth do you suppose  I mean by that?  Is it literal?  Or a feeling?  A holdover from childhood when we tripped the light fantastic?  I’d sure rather be light/hearted than light/minded.  No one wants to be thought of as a mental lightweight.  But then nobody wants to be “heavy hearted.”

For most people, lighthearted probably simply means “happy”.  I believe it means feeling light, maybe even a little floaty, no heavy burdens weighing one down; no reservoir at the moment of unfinished business; no dark shadows lurking around.  Just joy, laughter, fun.  This state of heart increases circulation throughout the body, carrying oxygen to all the cells, sweeping away obstacles to free-flowing energy.  So, lightheartedness is truly related to optimum health.  Many verses in the Old Testament reinforce this concept.  “Gladness of Heart” and “letting the heart rejoice” are mentioned in both Psalms and Job.  When doing spiritual healing, the healer should be able to lift the spirits of the patient — to make him or her more light-hearted.  It is necessary that the afflicted one be able to lift his or her vision up and away from the body so that his thoughts present no impediment to incoming streams of healing energy.  That’s why patients are often encouraged to talk or think about other things when receiving an energy balancing, massage, or other forms of healing ministry.  And the healer needs to work from his or her own center of Joy.  The bible teaches this view with the Proverb, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  And an old Irish saying proclaims, “If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come.”

The opposite of this, of course, is heavy-hearted.  What does that mean?  That the physical heart actually gains in weight?  Or that one simply “feels” heavier?  Where does he feel it?  In his mind?  In the emotions?  In his everything?  If so, why do we call it “heavy-hearted?”  And what about “hearty”?  Which is neither light or heavy.  If neither, then what is it?  When we want to be strong, we eat heartily — a hearty meal.  Is that about the heart?  Or about stomach hunger?  What’s the relationship?  And if we laugh a hearty laugh, aren’t we really doing a big belly laugh?  Not from the heart at all?  Yes — but again it’s about how we feel, so the heart in all these examples is related to feelings.  The Bible says, in St. Luke, 21:26, “Men’s hearts are failing them for fear of those things that are coming upon the world.”  I think this means, very clearly, that fear weakens one’s heart.  When we say, “Take heart!”, we’re saying, “Be strong, be bold, Be confident.  You can do it!”  “There is a power in you greater than whatever stands in your way.”  This has to do with courage.   The word courage comes from the Latin “core” or old French “coeur”, which both mean heart.  When I hear the word courage, I usually think of Daniel in the lion’s den.  Daniel must have been afraid — how could he not be?  Yet he literally rose above his emotions of fear and dread and faced the beasts with a peaceful heart.  Where did this courage to rise above his emotions and enter into peace come from?  I believe from his habit of daily prayer and his steadfast faith in God.  The Bible tells us that Daniel prayed morning, noon and night “as he had aforetimes,” meaning “as was his habit.”  From this I surmise that courage, as a heart quality, can be cultivated through prayer and the exercise of faith.  What do you think?  Can you think of others meanings related to “taking heart”?

One of humanity’s frequent references to the heart is “brokenhearted.”  BROKEN HEARTED.  (I loved you truly but you got away; melancholy baby; romance, passion, and sex that lost their promise, but never their allure.  The bluebird of happiness — maybe next time.)  Desire of all kinds.  We know that strong emotions and desires are generated from the solar plexus and sometimes from even lower places in the anatomy that have nothing to do with the heart.  So why the confusion in calling unfulfilled desire “heartbreak”?  The answer lies in the understanding of the development of the etheric centers.  Up to the Atlantean period of mankind’s development, there was a powerful interplay between the solar plexus and the sacral (sexual) centers.  They were very close together and the “petals” of each faced and vibrated toward the other.  This interplay of vibration within their shared magnetic field can still be noted in the mass consciousness when in the heat of strong emotions, like anger, people use language that refers to the lower extremities of the body.  Think about what unrefined people say when they are angry.  (You don’t know anyone like that?  Okay, you can skip that part.)

During the Atlantean period and thereafter, humanity began to purify and control its emotional nature, which had the effect of lifting the solar plexus energies up towards the etheric heart center.  The petals of the solar plexus center began to reverse and turn upward while the petals of the heart center were still turned downward.  Thus began a growing interplay between solar plexus and heart.  This, as always was reflected in the language.  Lower desire was linguistically transmuted into “heartfelt desire.”  Mankind’s consciousness has been registering and expressing this upliftment by attributing to the heart more noble and aesthetic aspects of love than raw emotion.  Strong, self-preserving emotions such as fanatic loyalty (my country, right or wrong) are lifted by the heart into more tolerant and universal loyalties.  The “my” softens into “our”.  My world becomes the world and “I” yields to “we”.  The ego becomes decentralized, no longer the center of “my” universe.  This is the stage of transformation I believe  Kahlil Gibran had in mind when he said, “Say not ‘God is in my heart’, rather ‘I am in the heart of God’”. Ponder on this, for it represents a subtle but major shift in consciousness.

What about “Have a heart!”  What are we talking about here?  Have sympathy, empathy, sharing, caring — neighborhood, community; being sensitive to others’ needs, where one’s interests become broader?  At this place in consciousness, competition (I win but you lose) dissolves into cooperation (we all gain) and companionship (which literally means walking together.)  And a person who has a lot of heart, whose heart is stretched to encompass and love and serve broadly, could break.  He or she could have a heart attack.  Our heart never attacks us, but we could possible stretch its sensitivity so far and so fast that the physical heart cannot endure the pressure.  Negative, fearful and angry thoughts and emotions can attack our hearts.  We read in Proverbs, "the foolishness of man perverteth his way, and his heart fretteth against the Lord."  Lord here actually translates into the word “law” and the whole statement is a perfect description of high stress.

 Today, the heart center of mass humanity is sufficiently activated that most qualities associated with it are considered good.  Stouthearted (strong and courageous) is good.  Pure-hearted (without deception) is good.  Hardhearted and heartless are not good.  Let’s see what some of the scriptures say about these qualities.  “Keep thy heart pure with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life” from Proverbs 4:43.  What does that mean — to keep the heart pure?  Pure from what?  Or with what?  How?  I’m not sure I know, but it must be important because it’s very clear that the Creator wants us to do it.  Proverbs 22:11 talks about “He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.”  So, pure-heartedness is important — to be sought after.  Another counsel, from Chronicles 28:9 is “Know thou the God of Thy Father, and serve him with perfect heart and with willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of your thoughts.”  This would indicate that the purity of heart which we were questioning has to do with intent or motive.  From an esoteric point of view, these qualities of heart — empathy, sharing, compassion, community, sensitivity, etc. — mark a very important position in our evolving consciousness; for until those qualities are fixed in a person’s character, there cannot begin a corresponding opening of what is called in much spiritual literature the “cave of the heart”, the 12-petalled lotus at the center of the Brahmaranda, the 1000-petalled lotus, which is the exact replica of the etheric heart center in the energy matrix of the human body.  And it is there, in the heart center on the mental plane, where the soul works and will work for the next 2500 years at least, in the field of relationships.

Throughout esoteric literature, the heart represents the life of the group.  The Sun (the heart of the solar system) is Life to its group of planets, just as the heart within the body is life-giving to its group of major organs and energy centers.  This is an accurate analogy.  The heart of any efficient working group is a 3-pointed nucleus (visioner, energizer, organizer) on which the others depend for sustenance.  The heart represents the Source of Life, not only to the group, but to humanity.  As a source, it is also the center — the deepest, most hidden, yet most real part of us.  The language reflects our consciousness of this in such phrases as “Deep in my heart”, “At the heart of the matter” or “the heart of the city”.  If the Source is within the center, and God is within the center, and the Heart is within the center, then there is a major connection between the three:  God, the Source, and the Heart.  The heart can then be seen as a contact point between man and God.  See the Bhagavad Gita for more exposition on this concept.

When man’s mind begins to develop and to register consciousness (including memory) the heart and mind come into close association.  We then can learn things “by heart.”  The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah recognized that heart learning was more lasting than intellectual learning and told his students, “Lay up my words in your heart.”  (Memorize them and use them until they become part of you).  The love of the heart interpenetrating with the light of mind leads to what Solomon called, “Thinking in the Heart.”  No matter how educated or intellectual a person is, no matter how many facts he may have stored in his memory, he cannot be wise unless his heart center is functioning freely.  This may be one meaning behind IITimothy 2:7 which refers to those who are always learning but never able to come to an accurate knowledge of Truth.  The intellect is one-dimensional and by itself is never whole.  In the same respect, the feelings and emotions of the love nature alone are never whole.  Wisdom watches over Love.  When the head and heart cooperate and vibrate together, the result is this “Thinking in the heart” — conscious, lighted, aware thinking.  When someone says, “I know it in my heart,” they’re pretty sure that they know that they know.  They may not be able to prove it, reproduce it. or convince anyone else, but they know.

The heart of anything is its innermost part.  We say we want to get to the heart of the matter.  When we learn something by heart, we have learned it right to the core of our being.  So to think in the heart is to know it in the center of one’s being.  The reason some people say, “I know it in my gut”, or “I just have a gut feeling” is that our language has not quite caught up to our consciousness.  They really do know it in their heart, but still fall back on the old concept of the solar plexus being the centermost part of our being; 18,000 years of development of that center has impacted our language very strongly.

In her book, “Esoteric Healing”, Alice Bailey says, quoting the Tibetan master, Djwal Khul, “Thinking in the heart becomes truly possible only when the mental faculties have become adequately developed and have reached a fairly high stage of unfoldment.  The ability to think in the heart is the result of the process of transmuting desire into love during the stage of elevating the forces of the solar plexus into the heart center.”  Obviously, this heart thinking is very potent.  For Solomon’s teaching — “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” is universally accepted as the key to one’s liberation into a truly spiritual life.

During the current phase of humanity’s evolution, the soul has begun to infuse the personality with its qualities of Light and Love, and our language is once again growing to encompass and reflect this.  The heart center on the mental plane is the agent through which this fusion takes place, and this activity causes great impact on the etheric heart center.  For these two great centers — the center of fusion on the mental plane and the organ of circulation on the physical plane are very closely related.  The petals of the etheric heart center have now turned and face upward, vibrating into the soul’s field of activity.  About this, the Tibetan says that “the heart center corresponds to the heart of the sun, and therefore to the spiritual source of light and love.  It is brought into functioning activity after the emotional nature is brought under soul control and the desires of the personal lower self have been transmuted into true love.  The energy thus made available will bring about the regeneration of humanity.  The human heart’s transforming, magnetic and radiatory power is essential for the reconstruction of the world and for the establishment of the new world order.  Upon the unfoldment of the heart center…with the consequent response of man to the energy of love, …. all are asked at this time to ponder and reflect, for ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he’.” 

The primary distinction between emotion and heart quality is that the former is inherently personal, while the latter is inherently impersonal.  Personal energy is reactive, can be both attractive and repulsive and tends to form attachments via the astral/emotional plane.  But the emotions refined , disciplined and qualified by heart energy are non-reactive, and therefore can be used as a means of relating effectively with a humanity as yet unable to respond intelligently to higher spiritual impressions from the intuitional level.  Thus, the spiritually poised individual of considerable heart quality is an instrument of impersonal, unconditional love, compassion and goodwill, who can achieve an intelligent rapport with humanity while remaining poised and detached.  Not detached from others, but from his own ego.

The soul infused heart is always group and inter-group conscious because all souls constitute one Group.  Was this possibly God’s’s meaning when, through Ezekial (ll:19)  He said, “I will give them One Heart and I will put a new Spirit within them, and I will take the stone heart out of their flesh and will give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in my statutes and keep my ordinances and do them and they shall be my people and I will be their God”?  It seems obvious to me from this verse and the other quoted passages that this Love and Goodwill, associated with the heart, are God’s Will for his people, and that the heart center is associated with the soul’s qualities of Light and Love.  This is reiterated in the epic Indian poem, the MAHABARATA, which counsels us, “If your heart breaks or closes up, if it becomes bitter, dark or dry, Thy Light is lost.”  And of course we know that a love-starved heart can neither teach nor heal.

Sensing this evolving destiny, man’s language again casts the shadows of future, yet imminent, events.  We hear phrases such as “Heart and Soul”, “Wisdom of the Heart” and so on.  In the last few years we’ve begun to received an immense amount of information about the heart through books, music, visualizations, meditations, healings, sermons — everything.  This is a wonderful sign for humanity because it means that we Humanity, the One Son of God and the One World Disciple, are lifting our collective consciousness up from the solar plexus and the lower centers, which govern family life and all that makes up the personality, into the higher, more communal consciousness.  We’re hearing words like commune, communication, community, and the petals of the heart center are collectively turning upward toward the world soul so that we are hearing references to the spiritual heart center, and the twin heart within the Brahmaranda.  I make a special point of the communality of this spiritual movement because while we are all so very common, and must work and live as part of the whole body of mankind until the full transition of forces carries us, liberates us, into a new realm of service.

We could go on with this — it is nearly endless.  But why don’t you continue to play with this idea?  What can you say about “wholehearted”, “with all my heart”, “cold-hearted”, “heart-felt”, or others?  In his book, COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS, Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke expounds on the evolution of language as it parallels the evolution of consciousness.  In our own lifetimes we have seen an entire language base created around space explorations and discoveries, computer science, and wholistic healing practices.  You might want to look into “language watching” because it is really useful.  Language is a record of consciousness.  The first Hermetic law, “Energy follows thought” is followed closely by “The mind is father to the word.”  When you hear the consciousness people are experiencing underneath the words, it is said you are “reading people.”  You have become a better listener — and therefore a better communicator.  Should you have been in consciousness where they now are, your life and consciousness can be a light on their path.  Should you read by their light that you have not yet been where they now are, you may gather therefrom wisdom relating to your path.  This does not apply just to individuals; one can also learn to read groups, public opinion, etc.  The process of understanding one’s language is very consciousness-expanding.  So even though this little word game has been “in fun”, it may also be useful and practical. 

In conclusion, I’d like to speak of the heart, and all that we have just talked about in relation to healing.  To see how the heart relates specifically to healing, let’s review how the Soul is connected to the body.  The consciousness aspect is anchored in the brain, and from there permeates the cerebral/spinal nervous system.  The Life aspect is anchored in the heart, and is permeated with God consciousnesss, which it circulates throughout the circulatory and sympathetic nervous system.  When one’s heart is tranquil and open to the inestimable power of God’s Love, which is Life Itself, healing and regeneration take place.  It is nourishment, not only to and from our Souls, but to our bodies.  It is the Bread of Life, and the Source of all that is Good, and good for us.  And we increase these powerful energies through conscious use of them, and in being connected with the spiritual will.

Take these forces, these truths, into the Silence, where the greatest blessings and healings are to be found.  Learn to open your heart to Divine Power and gratefully send it forth to be shared with all Humanity.  And so shall the heart of man be healed and the heart of the nations be opened to Justice, through Love, the Universal Life Principle.

The Tibetan wrote, “The Sun is the Heart of the Solar System; so also the heart of man is the sun of his being.” and;

“It is precisely the quality of the magnet that is inherent in the heart.  Verily, the silver thread which links the Teacher with the disciple is the great magnet of the heart.”

“Not egotism dwells in the heart, but universality.  Thus the heart is verily an international organ.”

I hope you will consider this time we’ve had together lighthearted and lightminded.  It has after all, been a playground for thought — not a thesis.  Psalms tells us “be glad in the Lord and rejoice you that are upright in heart.” Oh, gosh, what does that mean — upright in heart?  Enjoy figuring it out.  My heartfelt love is with you now and always.