Follow Your Heart?
For many years of my life I found the phrase “follow your heart” completely incomprehensible because the heart didn’t seem to say anything. It doesn’t speak in words like thoughts do. But this is precisely the point of the invitation to “follow your heart.” We’re being asked to let something deeper than words guide us.
It’s really no different from “trust your gut” or “listen to your intuition.” We actually can’t say what this other source of guidance is because it’s the non-thing that includes all the things that the mind delineates. All these phrases are inviting us to feel into and be moved by the whole field rather than pretending, as we typically do, that our particular worldview is the whole field.
However, even when we have some appreciation of the nature of the invitation to “follow your heart,” we can often find ourselves wary of doing so. Thought, especially if narrow and familiar, can provide a reassuring sense that we know. When we believe our thoughts we erroneously believe we know the truth. Even though listening to the heart connects us with deeper wisdom, it often feels like not knowing, because we’re leaving behind the familiar ground of our repetitive thoughts.
The heart is mysterious and confounds the mind with its subtlety. The mind creates fixed images of the good life for us to move toward, but the heart is completely disinterested in the fixed and dead. Thought defines things as this or that, good or bad, black or white, but the heart receives all the nuanced undefinable flavors of life.
So even when we do feel into what’s here, it may not produce the clear “yes” or “no” that thought would like. Following the heart often means honoring not knowing rather than trying to grasp an answer. Not knowing is, in a way, the baseline state of the heart. We’re just innocently exploring and playing in the rich, ever-evolving field, having little sense of direction or of what will happen next. And yet, like a miracle, clues can appear to guide our next movement.