Kitchen Table Philosopher Joseph Raffa asks if you will listen to the whispers of the heart or stay anchored in mind misery.
Ever got to a stage in life where you feel jaded, drained of energy, without any enjoyment to lighten up your life? Then face it friend, you are on a treadmill where the daily grind has taken over. And who or what is responsible? You are. You’ve allowed the mind to take over with its demands and desires, its over-riding ideas to do this and that, its drive for more and more – security, comfort, nicknacks, gadgets. Oh, there is no end to the demands of the mind.
So, we listen to the mind, going where it tells us, doing what it demands. We ignore how we feel deep down, ignore the need for rest and relaxation, to be lighthearted. There comes a time where we get to the end of the line, when we’ve had enough, when we are so saturated with the mind and its persistent endeavours to completely control the course of our life that we want to throw it all away and feel fresh and brand new again.
Some opt for an outer change, a holiday, change jobs or homes, rearrange routines to try to unload some of the burden. You may have tried some or all of this. But take a look at what is going on. It’s the same old tired troublemaker in charge, in control, trying to jazz up a life that has gone stale. The wear and tear mind, fed up with the results of what it has created, is off in a different direction in the search for a pick me up, for a return to the fun it had long ago when life was young and new and a great adventure.
Outer change serves for a while. We feel somewhat rested and interest is renewed. Then that same old bugbear takes over again, the wear and tear mind, the know-all mind, the source and cause of all our troubles is back to lead us down the same weary pathway. And why? Because it doesn’t know any better. Concern drives the mind. Self protection drives the mind. It’s always busy looking after all the demands of the self. There is no peace, no joy and little rest while little mind is in charge. Mind is the ruthless overseer, cracking the whip of pressure, driving the body onwards, subduing any feelings to be otherwise than on the go, go, go.
Until from within, the cry goes out, “Enough of this.” Tears that act as a temporary release may flow, then a tug of war may follow. The inner insists on a change of direction but old man mind, knowing nothing else urges onwards in the usual way and clings to everything it is familiar with in spite of the pain. There must come a time when we tire of mind, of the thinking, the doing, the acting, all the busy stuff the mind does in defence of and to expand the self. This is an indication that the heart is beginning to stir, that it wants to be listened to. The heart speaks not in the language of thoughts and words but with feelings, with longings for an expansive life uncluttered by the rubbish left by the mind.
Will we listen then, to the whispers of the heart or, will we stay anchored in the mind and the misery it creates? In life we need both mind as the doer, the action side and the heart as the source of renewal. From the heart comes gentle, caring living, the appreciation of the wonder, the beauty of life, of all the magic moments that unfold from day to day. It’s not that the mind means to mess things up. It’s just lost its way. Like a child lost in the wonderland of time, it runs here, there, everywhere, eager to have everything, to taste what it can – quickly. The heart acts as a counterbalance to all this driving action. It’s like a rider who pulls on the reins to check the erratic breakaway gallop of a horse.
The trouble is, the mind has been in control for so long. It gets itself into trouble then when it has had enough it wants to get itself out. Fair enough. But the mind is the troublemaker. Wherever it applies itself, sooner or later it comes to a situation where it is confronted with the results of its own actions. When it acts from a deep understanding of its own behaviour, all is well. Understanding then, is the key to right living. This follows from listening, from paying attention to the ways of the mind, to the flow of thinking and feeling, to everything thrown up by the mind.
Not from constant thinking about it, reading and memorising which keeps the mind endlessly preoccupied. The listening that yields understanding cannot be described. It happens when there is natural interest. That is what is so beautiful about it. Mind with its thinking, its pressure and pushing for results doesn’t bring it about. It’s a response from within, when the heart stirs to give a helping hand to a mind caught up in turmoil, torment and confusion.
When the mind has truly had enough, when it sees that it cannot continue along the same channels that lead nowhere special, it yields and comes to a complete standstill. Not even a thought interferes – then in that moment the heart has a chance to act and help the mind understand. Should this happen, you’ll know what it is to feel new again, to be young and carefree, lighthearted – all the qualities we long for that somehow we have denied in our intensive efforts to look after the self according to self disposition.
Joseph’s spiritual writing is now available from Amazon.com and other online retailers.