Whether you view it symbolically or quite literally, the heart space is the place where we begin living through love rather than fear (ego). By ego, I don’t only mean one’s sense of counterproductive pride or narcissism, I mean any action one participates in that doesn’t benefit the world, but rather hinders it.
“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.” – Paramahansa Yogananda
The head and things that darken the heart space
Overthinking is the best way to remain trapped in your head. This is because our mind dictates reason and logic. Over-reasoning, as many of us have probably felt, creates resistance as well as the urge to control every aspect of our lives.
We then lack “flow” and trust in the universe.
I love the Psychology Today article written by Marilyn Mitchell, “Quiet the Mind to Open the Heart.” In it, she accurately writes that “we get in the habit of identifying with the brain chatter that attaches us to the details of our lives. But beyond the mind there is an expansive and peaceful state of being that I call Heart. It turns out that this state can be a powerful resource to us, if we can quiet the mind.”
Indeed, but we can’t access it if we’re always stuck in our reasoning mind. Of course it is important to remain in control in some aspects, like when making important decisions. But the key is to not overthink decisions and identify with unhealthy thinking habits.
Meditation as the means of moving into the heart space
Meditation quiets the overbearing mind. Common to popular belief, the objective of meditation is not to cancel out all thought. The brain has evolved to think. The problem lies within the fact that the world humans have created through industrialization and agriculture.
We now live within large, complex societies that no longer call for the survival instincts that have evolved within us throughout time. Also, our society demands things of us that we haven’t evolved to do. An example of this is public speaking. How do you feel before getting up in front of a large crowd of people whom most of are strangers?
To learn more about evolutionary psychology, check out this book by Robert Wright.
Mediation involves the passive reconsidering of the way our minds run. It involves letting emotions arise as the result of thought, but observing the emotion as something separate from the self. When this happens, pockets of love and creativity become more easily accessible. We begin to flow through life by feeling and intuition, with non-resistance, rather than over-reasoning.
I highly suggest checking out this TED talk by neuroscientist Sara Lazar about how meditation “can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.”