Much of unconditioning the heart is unconditioning, or reconditioning the mind. While in many ways the heart is a far more intelligent organ, the mind gets to reside over most of the dominion of life. There are many reasons for this. The primary reason is that the mind is a major part of the system through which we understand this ongoing drama. We are educated from a young age to use the mind and it’s faculties to navigate this journey and to make our own impression upon it. All the while the journey through the lens of the heart is often little explored.
Frustrations of parenting and teaching create environments where emoting is stifled. Fears generated through experience of loss and grief and suffering generate environments much the same. Soft hearted language that ignores the painful realities of hurt, abandonment, cruelty, broken heartedness, and just plain old abuse turns the pragmatic and realistic off and away from the good vibrations of love, and who’s to blame them. When you have hurt, truly hurt, no “it’s all good” is going to change that reality. And is it all good?
Spiritual bypass is one of the greatest trappings of spiritual culture in the west. Broken hearts exist. Abuse is real and never warranted. Terrible things happen to innocents every day. The pain of the heart can be almost impossible to navigate when the mind is just a theatre of bad movies. Is it really all good? Is love really at the heart of all creation?
While the rhetoric of all being good may not actually cut it, similar rhetoric that espouses closing off the heart and shutting down the expansiveness of spirit has the same narrowing effect. For evidence of what lay at the heart of it all we can use the faculty of mind to it’s greatest capacity and analyze nature. Sure nature is volatile, destructive, without rhyme or reason. And simultaneously nature is collaborative, cooperative, seeking expansiveness and growth, creating always the best possible environment for life to not only survive but to thrive. And while energy exists in a manifest form it is permitted to exist, until, for whatever reason, it dissolves. This permission exists in nature without condition. No, you have to be a good plant to live here on the forest floor. No, you were a bad zebra and now you get eaten by this lion. Just circumstance, relationship, and Existance in an animate intelligent world.
My mother was diagnosed with cancer just over a year ago. Before her diagnosis I had many theories about cancer. At the heart of all these theories was a belief that there is always a linkable cause. Be it environmental, emotional, genetic, spiritual, mental, something was the reason that any individual human would have to endure such a trial of health and spirit. At her first oncologist appointment my mother espoused to her doctor all the things that she had done through her life to stay healthy, to avoid such a predicament, to keep her vehicle maintained so to speak. Without qualifying her statement in any way the doctor said point blank “cancer doesn’t discriminate.”
For me, upon hearing this wisdom I realized that I had built a false premise in my mind about the rules of the game. Whatever is rising or falling away, there may never be reason or rhyme. Nature is energy and energy wants to transform. There are no rules from a merciless God condemning specific individuals to suffering. Transformation does not discriminate. For whatever reason an environment changes and cells change with it. And just because an individual has to walk through the fire does not mean that love is not beating their heart as they muster the courage to step.
In order to feel love we have to be willing. We have to allow our minds to be willing to expand whatever belief structures that would first condemn us, into something more accepting of the mystery. The experience of pain is not without love, it is just with pain, discomfort, agitation, and the unknown. The beauty of the mystery is that it is a mystery. If we can separate ourselves from ideas of good and bad we can set the stage for experience, experience of multitudinous circumstance, for that is primarily what life is. If we can not try to force ourselves into belief structures that confine nature to limited intelligence we permit ourselves more room to be with nature as nature is, mysterious, powerful, elegant and messy, and surprisingly intelligent. When we recognize the mind for what it is and take the time to step away from its rules and into the spaciousness of our hearts we permit ourselves that much more room to know what beats us all, without condition, in the presence of all circumstances. When we uncondition our minds we uncondition our hearts.
As a side note, we all walked through the fire with my mother on her journey with cancer. It was many things from harrowing, to heartbreaking, and everything in between. She is on the green side of health again and for this we are all grateful. In the wake of this journey more than ever before I am reminded the love is at the heart of it all. To love ourselves in the company of our misfortunes is a great trial and great teacher. To love others in the company of their fear, anguish, frailty, and imperfections, is much the same. And to let oneself be loved by the unknown rather than condemned by it in the midst of such a journey is the great soother, peacemaker, and solace we all get to know if we choose.
With Love, always, in all ways, for giving, in joy,