How to Cultivate Clarity of Mind and a Loving Heart
How mental clarity affects the strength of the heart is a very deep & profound topic. It is greater than just mastering feelings, but let us begin there…
The clearer and freer a mind is from referencing things personally and/or judgmentally, the more feelings are able to assist in the process of guidance. Lack of clarity misleads feelings, just as easily as does any emotion. Feelings are different from emotions, as we will discuss later. Further, if an individual is not able to see things impersonally and from other points of view, the mind is unable to guide in a useful applicable way. This is so because of what the mind already knows is mirrored in one’s own life. There is no wisdom within the precincts of a dissatisfied mind and life. It is analogous to the fact that it is virtually impossible to solve a problem from within the circumstances of existing knowledge. Why? A problem is a problem because it is missing pieces of knowledge, skills and/or abilities. If these “pieces” were not missing, there would be no problem. Solutions would be applied without further thought. Thus the more judgmental and less aware of other ways of thinking, the more susceptible to errors of interpretation and/or focus the mind will be.
Dr. Benjamin Libet concluded that what he called the “mind” exists in the biomagnetic field of a person. Namely, it is what is the essence of an individual that can not be tracked by any modern technology. The mind utilizes a vast incalculable array of patterns, learned meanings, knowledge, habits, and skills. Often people operate in a discerning mode which can become habituated judgmental patterns of thinking, especially if thoughts become fixated on comparing in a personal way what exists with what they want and don’t want of circumstances. Sometimes people find life too troubling or overwhelming and often choose to decide to do nothing. Perhaps they even decide to let the circumstances of life, something, or someone else decide it for them. From a Buddhist Yogic perspective, this is Not the best option.
Instead meditate, find peace (calmness) within yourself, release all of your personal opinions, all of your attachments to outcomes and wants, all standards of judging, all desires for gain, and all of your fears, even if it is only in the moment and you have to pretend what it would be like to do so. Do this! Then examine what is your truth, what would be best, not for how you want to be living in the world, but for how you want to feel. That is, what state of consciousness do you want to be in? Instead of planning anything in the world, seek to be how you wish to feel while you are being in any functional role in the world. Always seek your very best vision of how to be, inside of you. If you can sustain this focus, whatever else that is needed will come. Joy does not come from the circumstances or people outside of oneself. It does not come from without at all, but it is a state that arises when the heart is truly freed from judgmental mindedness. Things of the world can only flow and be influenced when this freedom from critical thinking and blaming is attained. Otherwise, everything else, even if you are good at doing it, will be a struggle.
Whilst in a state of calmness and non-judgment, outline the various scenarios that you have to deal with (you can even use a sheet of paper to make notations). Sit with one scenario at a time. If any emotion arises, go back to the calmness. Example: take the idea that a circumstance was no longer possible, or that someone you are having difficulties with, but care for, were no longer in your life. Feel into what that would mean to you without telling a story about it. Really focus on the feeling, as if it actually is what is real, right now. This is aimed at becoming conscious of what is truly valuable.
Then do the same for any other possible experiences. Stay out of a dialogue in your head, out of predicting any details in your thoughts, or reacting to potential circumstances emotionally. It is the reactions we are looking to overcome. If thoughts or emotions arise, gently go back to calmness as a resting place, as a state to feel into. When you’re in calmness, restart what you’re focussing upon.
Recognize that feelings are functionally very different from the details of what it is you want, or do not want. The latter are stories that combine to create emotion. Feelings are free of stories. You can always change your mind about the details. Your heart, however, will always speak the truth you actually live by. Doing this exercise will help you explore what your heart really feels, without the brain telling the heart (as it usually does for most) what it thinks the person (really the heart) should be doing.
The heart has been and always will be so loving that it will always do what it is told to do by the brain, even if this literally means that it will lead to the physical death of that very same person living in and from their head and not their heart. This is called societal conditioning. The good news is that awareness is greater than the brain and can override the brain.
To live from the heart means to live from clear calm awareness. This entails coming to know one’s underlying feelings which are deeper than any emotions, thoughts or beliefs. All beliefs, thoughts, and emotions that lead away from contented natural centeredness can be retrained by using the feeling state of calmness. When calmness becomes a baseline in life, then clarity of vision and thought result. The start of a new life of living from awareness opens the doors to what may be called miraculousness. Circumstances will no longer be a problem, just something to work with.