We have all said this, and it has been told to us. ‘Straight from the heart,” from the bottom of my heart,’Í am telling you this from the depths of my heart,’ etc.
I began to think of reasons why people used the heart to validate their claims. The only reason I found that made any sense is that we use the heart as a weapon when we want to communicate something that cannot be rationalized. Somehow our claims become valid when it is born out of the heart.
If we sift through it carefully, we see that lovers resort to the heart to convince the other person of their undying love. Parents will beseech their children not to do something crazy because they know it will not work out ‘in their hearts.’ Spiritual leaders might convince their followers to part with their money or undertake some extra work because they know in their ‘heart’ that it is God’s will.
Why do people resort to this method to convince others? It is because people respond to ‘heart-born’ petitions more readily than to ‘reason-born’ ones. We are simply wired that way. Knowing this, we unashamedly exploit each other with many emotionally draining supplications..
People who are not assertive and emotionally strong could be the most affected by this behavior. Sometimes children are taught to ‘listen to their heart’ when making important decisions. Of course, this does not mean we listen to our heart in a literal sense. But what it means is that we respond to intuition. But intuition evolves according to knowledge. Maybe someone will claim that they ‘feel good’ when deciding in a specific manner. But what does that mean? ‘Feeling good’ is an emotion, just like feeling sad or angry. Does emotion arise without thought? No. Emotion is the result of a thought. If we think a person is good and kind, we will feel good in our interactions with them. Even if you meet a person for the first time, and that person projects a friendly face, you will feel good and respond in kind. But that good feeling is the result of your thought about that person looking friendly. If a person is agitated, your thoughts will drive your emotions to be wary of that person.
So then, is it a good thing to be led by your heart? If the decision that you need to make is important, it is always best to leave the heart alone.
It is sad that even among the educated in our society, people behave as if the heart is literally capable of thinking or hearing. Some religious leaders are famous for hearing God’s voice in their ‘heart.’ To their credit, some hear it in their ‘head’ too. But I believe that if we cannot take ownership of the voices in our head, either we need a psychiatrist or an exorcist, as one Indian yogi has said.
If we think about this carefully, isn’t it true that the most outrageous claims are validated because it has come from the ‘heart’?
Take charge of life. The mind is a wonderful servant if we learn to use it well. Being driven by the ‘heart’ or emotions, will rob us of a rich and fulfilling life as we will be on a constant roller-coaster ride with people and circumstances. If we want authentic relationships we need to stop appealing to the heart. If you want something, learn to ask. It is better to be rejected than to get what you want by appealing to emotion.