Doing a keyword research for my “Little Ways of Being” blog and Wise-Love book launch, I typed heart into Google AdWords Keyword Planner and waited.
Google, the Wizard, brought up the top searches: “heart pictures,” “heart healthy,” heart diagram,” “heart failure,” “attack causes.” The list went on for fifty-eight pages! One the first page alone, I quickly calculated that 1,000,000 searches were conducted each month in those categories about the heart.
Wow, a lot of people are worried about heart disease, I thought. We’re really unhealthy. Thoughts about vegetarian diets, fast foods, raw and organic foods slipped by.
I scrolled looking for keyword searches on my topic: the heart related to the soul and spirituality. Hmmm. Those searches didn’t exist in these results. All the searches related to “heart” made inquiry into the heart as an organ, a muscle in the chest.
Am I that unusual, I wondered, that I think of the heart as the seat of the soul?
I thought heart a no-brainer keyword that would lead to a dialogue about spiritual topics. After all, as feeling beings, our heart—not the muscle—is at the center of our lives. Heart-matters of relationships and community are the very connective tissue of our existence. For good reason. Vedanta teaches that the soul, a unit of consciousness, sits in the heart next to the Super Self.
Sure, my well-developed perspective from Bhakti’s ancient wisdom tradition predisposes me to think about the heart in relation to the soul. But the idea of the heart as the seat of the soul is not unique to Bhakti. All the spiritual traditions that teach about transformation, enlightenment, and ego effacement discuss the heart as a place of intelligence—or inner guidance.
Throughout history we have used heart has more than a metaphor. For instance, Thomas Carlyle is attributed as saying, It is the heart always that sees, before the head can see.
Since our culture promotes that happiness comes from gratifying ourselves and ignores our spiritual self, I wasn’t expecting many searches about the heart in relation to the soul.
But my research surprised me. Are we divorcing ourselves from a metaphysical understanding of the heart? If so, what is the impact of this on our ability to be compassionate? To find meaning in our lives?
Or do I just need an education on how to do keyword research?!