I am amused by all of the self-improvement empowerment literature that discuss how we dis-empower ourselves by thinking dis-empowering thoughts. This line of thinking recommends that we think empowering thoughts, make empowering choices and live empowered lives. I could not put my finger on why this huge cultural phenomenon did not ring true to me. Then I remembered that Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.” The problem is not how I am thinking; the problem is that I am thinking.
A lot of the self-empowerment focus is on how to be wealthy and abundant. I suspect that most people would rather be happy. I know that when I am happy, I don’t care whether I have a big bank account, material things, the perfect soul mate, or anything else for that matter. The defining question in my life at this time is “am I happy?” If I am not happy, then I know I have moved from my heart into my head.
I often contemplate the difference between living in my heart and my head. One of the greatest moments of my life was to discover that there is a difference between being in my heart and in my head. At one of his workshops several years ago, Derek O’Neill taught a meditation of looking at life through the heart. It took a bit of practice until I finally felt and experienced the difference between looking at life through my mind and looking at life through my heart.
When I look at life through my mind, the first thing I notice is all of the thoughts that are rapidly crossing my mind. Either critical or analytical thoughts, or both, fill my awareness and quickly steal my happiness from me. I am obsessive-compulsive by nature, that is why I was such I good lawyer. This is also attributable to an over developed defensive radar that is constantly scanning the horizon for danger. When my primitive brain is activated into the fight or flight mode, my mind goes on overload and is calculating at warp speeds. My self-perpetuating mind wants this condition to exist at all times which gives it something to do. I am a Leo, and my calculating analytical mind is constantly trying to figure out how to conquer the world. Leo’s are particularly well suited to rule the world, by the way. We just have problems convincing everyone else of this well-known fact.
When I look at the world through my heart, it seems like I have stepped into a completely different dimension, which has a completely different perspective. I look at life as completely safe and wonder-filled place to be, and I can truly believe and trust that there are no dangers on the horizon. I step into a place of harmony and equality; I am a part of the world, not separate from it. Duality disappears and all is one. I am at peace, and I have no memory of trauma or disappointment. I don’t care who rules the world, I am here to help people, not control them. It doesn’t matter whether I have ten dollars or one million dollars; I have faith that I will be given everything I need to exist.
The most amazing difference between life viewed through my heart and life viewed through my mind is the absence of fear in my heart. I have to conclude that fear is not real; it is a figment of my imagination. In other words, it is a thought that my mind creates in order to give it something to do. After all, if I am afraid, my mind gets to work overtime. When I am in my heart, I do not fear. There is no fear, because there are no thoughts in my heart, only love.
This is similar to “detaching” from my mind or my thoughts. Many meditations recommend that we detach or imagine that we are watching ourselves thinking. While difficult, it is possible to do this. At first, don’t get caught up in doing it for longer than a few seconds. It will take lots of practice to be able to sustain this detachment for more than a couple of minutes.
I had an amazing realization recently, that when I am in my heart I am experiencing God, the divine creator who I AM. I get to experience the world as my higher self, my Christ self experiences it. Buddhists describe this as the Buddha that exists approximately 18 inches above the top of my head, and is illustrated in Christian art as the dove floating above Christ’s head. New Age practitioners describe this as the 8th or 10th chakra, depending on your school of thought. It is typical that in trying to analyze and describe the aspects of living in our heart, our mind has projected that “place” out above our heads and as something separate from us. This is the basis of the belief that God exists somewhere “up there,” and not within us.
So to answer all those people who contend that we should think differently to solve the problems that our thinking creates, good luck with that. I would suggest that we stop thinking from time to time and start living in our feelings and our hearts. Thinking will not make us happy, only being in our heart can make us happy. We do not need empowering thoughts; we need to stop thinking. This does not mean that we all move into caves and become yogis. This means we need to shift to another perspective on a regular basis and remind ourselves how it feels to connect with God through our hearts.