Head or heart?

Head or heart? Mind or emotions? Feelings or intellect? Lots of discussion revolves around these. Which one rules you? How do I make my decisions? How do I discern which direction to go? Where does my leading come from?

As I move into a more Spirit-led way of being, I am learning that the age we live in has skewed to the intellectual. Mind takes precedence. We live in the “Age of Reason”. We have been trained to trust our minds over our hearts. Feelings have been relegated to secondary status.

I am learning that this is not┬áthe way we are intended to live. The mind is supposed to be subservient to the heart, not the other way round. “As we return to a heart-centered way of being, we remember who we really are.” (Your Soul’s Plan, by Robert Schwartz, p 148)

In the Church this debate has long raged. As early as the 1970’s, in my own life’s journey, we went through a deliberate stage of learning about the place emotions play in our spirituality. We recognized there had been a serious lack of balance which needed correcting. For myself in that period, while this discussion allowed me to begin to acknowledge the place of emotions in my life, I still very much saw them as secondary to thought. It has only been recently that I have been able to place more importance on heart, following my heart as opposed to doing what makes sense intellectually.

Indeed, most of what goes for orthodox Church theology is determined intellectually. We are constantly encouraged to read and study the scriptures. Yes, we are to pray, but all direction and belief must line up with scripture. When I talk to fellow Christians about following my heart, this is still viewed with great suspicion; it is not to be trusted. In a recent discussion at church, “experiencing God” was treated very dismissively. Only “the word” was to be trusted. And of course, in his mind, “the word” equates with the Bible. And not only the Bible, but his interpretation of the Bible, although he would likely not make that distinction!

Not for me. No longer will I trust my intellect primarily. I want to trust my heart. I want to follow where Spirit leads, even when that seems against what my head might tell me, even when it goes against what I have been taught intellectually from the scriptures. I don’t delete mind from the equation. My brain is still important. My thoughts, my study, deliberation, are all still part of who I am and where I am going. But obedience to Spirit will take precedence. I make this declaration publicly, knowing that I am still a work in progress. I will no doubt fall short many times. But this is how I plan to live the remainder of my life!!!

2 thoughts on “Head or heart?

  1. UM, I read your most recent journal entry. Following your heart is a huge shift for you. I’m pleased for you (and for me). The piece is very well written. It’s clear. It’s personable.

    I’m going back to your website now, to look at more stuff.


  2. Well done Urban Monk! Fabulous blog post and I am so pleased that you have the website up and running! It looks great!

    Well written and thoughtful post! I would suggest that you may want to read “The Alphabet versus the Goddess” by Leonard Shlain — in it he explains the origins of the Church’s fascination with ‘the word’ versus image or experience. VERY interesting indeed!

    Have a beautiful day!

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