In response to my slogan “Enriching mindfulness with heartfulness,” a woman wrote, “I wonder what my life would have been like if I had lived this approach.” Her wistful line haunted me for days. I wanted to reach out, hug her, and whisper,
Live it now. As long as you have life, you have choice and chances. Plunge the depth of heartfulness!
I hope my slogan entices others and gets all of us thinking about the differences between mindfulness and heartfulness. Mindfulness grants peace but doesn’t necessarily include heartfulness. Heartfulness awards the deep joy of spiritual love and encompasses mindfulness and peace. In other words, heartfulness gives us peace and love. Because mindfulness gives peace but not necessarily Wise-Love no amount of mindful meditation or focusing on the Now will make us fully happy. We want—need—both peace and love.
Heartfulness is more than getting in touch with our current feelings. When I speak of heart, I refer to the nonmaterial heart and the emotions that radiate from our immortal self. To engage with heartfulness (which automatically generates mindfulness), we need to rouse the self from its slumber and contact spiritual emotions.
The self is an emotional being. We wake up through expression of emotions: not mundane emotions, but pure ones. How do we differentiate material emotions from spiritual feelings?
Material feelings are transient. Moods roam and shift over minutes or months or years, but they inevitably change. The supreme emotional state we most covet, happiness, is ever elusive as a full-time companion. Happiness wanders as it likes. No amount of positive thinking or creative visualizations can exalt happiness into the bliss we want, or force joy to be ever present with us.
Everything material perishes, whether an emotion, a possession, a relationship, a thought, or a feeling state. Time influences all.
Spiritual emotions endure and expand. Pure emotional states, once achieved, exist eternally, because spirit is unaffected by time and space. Additionally, spiritual feelings continue to reach new heights of expression because spirit is unlimitedly potent and energetic. Spirit is not static like matter.
We have attained the prized state of the real self when happiness increases each moment and pure love fully manifests and continues to deepen.
As the self is immortal, its thoughts and feelings are also free from any tinge of decaying matter. A spiritual traveler can arrive home to this exalted state even while still within the material body. Our awakening and subsequent spiritual life hinges on our intentions, motives, and willingness—dogged determination! With one easy nudge at a time, we move the self to revive it until it is able to stand up and walk. Then we’ll dance.
Lamps of Knowledge
Putting down our first and subsequent steps requires light to show the path we’re treading toward the immaterial heart and home. The illumination comes from a combination of lamps. When we light all of them, we’re whisked beyond the material world in a single go. Well, that doesn’t happen overnight. But when heartfulness has fully developed, our movement into trans-space-time does happen in a second.
Patience and practice lead to that moment in time when we are eternally removed from time.
These are the lamps we want to acquire and work to keep lit (upcoming: tips and tricks about how keep the fires going) to brighten our path forward toward our life of wise-love and ecstatic dance:
1. A vision of our self as a spiritual being, who is a spark of the Supreme Self and made of the same elements: being, knowing, and loving.
2. Regular company of others who have developed (or are trying to develop) this vision.
3. Hearing, singing, and chanting sacred sound coming from our transtemporal home.
4. Reading and studying sacred texts from genuine wisdom traditions.
5. Talking with comrades about what you’re gaining from the company of spiritual people, sound, and texts (or problems you’re having—this one is most important for me!)
When you illumine your mind and heart (the material ones) with these lamps, some pretty interesting occurrences begin. Matter morphs into spirit and we start the ride of our lives.
That’s next in Part II in the new Bhakti Series. Come along,