Most of the ancient mystics, seers and sages of long ago knew that our higher Self resided in our heart center. They intuited that the state of unconditional love, which lives in the heart center, is our true nature – our soul. These teachers wrote poetry that expressed the longing to break free from the ego and live entirely from the heart’s highest intelligence. They used love as the main tool for connecting to the Divine. (Learn How to See the Ego for What it Is.)
The spiritual heart – not to be confused with the organ of the heart – is our access point for deep transformation, even enlightenment. Yogis, Sufi poets, Toltecs, Greeks – all these wisdom traditions knew that the intelligence which resided in the spiritual heart is far greater than the intellectual intelligence of the mind. They knew that inside this spiritual heart lived limitless love, unbounded wisdom and a consciousness that was higher than anything we could experience through our ego.
When you read a poem by Rumi or Hafiz and feel your heart ache with love, you’re tapping into that unconditional love and higher wisdom. It should come as no surprise then, that even modern Western science has proven the magnetic field around the heart to be hundreds of times greater than that around the brain. The Heartmath Institute continues to do research in the field of heart intelligence which shows that if you can start talking to your heart, and accessing its intelligence, you’ll see your life open and expand in amazing ways. (Learn a Heart-Opening Visualization Meditation.)
Accessing your heart’s intelligence can be as simple as beginning a dialogue with it. When you’re in a relaxed state – after a yoga class or while taking a hot bath – start asking your heart yes or no questions and see what comes up. Sometimes there’s no clear solution to be found in the whirlwind of the mind, but in that clear, still voice of the heart, you might find the answers and solutions you most need.
Becoming attuned to your heart’s wisdom can sometimes be painful and complex. We might feel pangs of heart ache as our heart breaks more and more open. That’s okay, too. Sometimes it takes deeply painful experiences to happen before your heart is able to be so open and clear that its knowledge flows forth with light and vigor.
The Buddha also knew what heart intelligence was. If you were to ask him what the definition of bodhicitta was, he’d probably say it was the way of moving through life with a heart so open it could take in and hold absolutely every person and situation it came into contact with. (Learn more in The Meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum.)
When the heart can hold it all – the dark, the light, the pain, the suffering, the love and the sorrow – it can become so big that you begin to live solely from its higher intelligence. You can even open the hearts of others that are closed in immense fear. (Read more in Love Versus Fear.)
When we live from our hearts, life becomes more free and less of a struggle. We learn to let go and surrender. We forgive everyone. We allow all the barriers shielding our hearts to fall away so that we get to love everyone we meet without condition. This is what the spiritual heart knows to do. We get to be vulnerable, which allows for deep self-love and self-compassion, as well as deep love and compassion for everyone else. (Experience The Freedom in Letting Go.)
The highest intelligence of the heart knows no separation like the ego does. It becomes one with all so that we don’t cling to people, places or things anymore. We know that we’re all one, and that is one of the primary aims of yoga – to experience that universal oneness. Previous limiting beliefs fall away and we live from a place of softness and surrender, much like the Tao.
We get out of our own way and experience life as a flow of innate universal intelligence. We can trust that everything is happening for our own good and for the good of others. Walking through life with the spiritual heart as our best friend and confidant is the wisest thing to do. Of course, we can still seek guidance from our friends, teachers and mentors, but we also know that our heart knows best, and the more we cultivate that deep friendship, the more we’ll know that simple truth in the core of our very being.
There are all sorts of heart meditations out there, as well as heart-centered yoga practices to follow. Some spiritual teachers and gurus are dedicated to teaching how we can all get more deeply in touch with our heart’s highest intelligence. If this sounds like a path to enlightenment that resonates with your heart, then seek out those teachings. You’ll be so glad you did! (Read on in Integrating Feelings of The Heart.)