THE BLOG
07/13/2010 08:16 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Why Being in Your Heart Is Better Than Being in Your Head

"A good heart is better than all the heads in the world."

-- Robert Bulwer-Lytton

When we fall in love we feel our heart flutter, beat loudly or leap for joy; when we are rejected our heart breaks. We are called heartless or cold-hearted when we show no care or love, big-hearted when we extend our concern to others. We "take things to heart" or "talk heart to heart" about deeply personal issues. We love someone "from the bottom of our heart" but are half-hearted about something when we are emotionally uninvolved. We all experience our heart as the center of our feelings, as seen on Valentine's Day, when love-filled hearts abound. We know this instinctively, as we always physically point to our heart when we say "I" or want to express our deeper feelings.

Yet our heart is so much more than a vessel for romance! It has been described as the king, with the mind as the king's advisor. When faced with a decision, the king may ask his advisors for advice, may even send them out into the world to gather information, but ultimately it is the king that makes the final decision. Even though the advisors do not always agree with the king's decision, the king is invariably right, as the king's view not only sees the bigger picture but is also aware of the needs of others.

In the same way, when faced with a decision or conflict, our mind may come up with numerous different and quite logical reasons why we should act as it advises, but if we listen to and trust our heart, however illogical or irrational it may appear, it is usually right and we are happier as a result.

There is great brilliance and beauty inherent within the mind, as it is capable of understanding the most intricate scientific and mathematical theories and can make complicated corporate decisions, yet the same mind can get caught up in trivia and nonsense, becoming upset or even unglued over a seemingly harmless remark. It runs our lives, pushing and pulling us in all directions, from attraction to repulsion, creating endless dramas acting out our insecurities and fears, for it is not in touch with our deeper feelings. Living inside our heads all the time is actually not much fun!

While the mind is the content of who we are, our heart is our essence. Our true heart is not subject to chaos or limited by pain, fear and neuroses, but is joyful, creative, and loving. Some believe that the heart can be too uncertain and even misguided, but that is the head talking! It is actually a source of great richness, and this wealth is one that cannot be squandered or lost. It is the core, the essence of our being, a reservoir of joy, powerful love and infinite compassion that lies within us all.

When we honor the wisdom in our heart, then we act from this core of our being. We experience it in those moments when our needs and worries quietly dissolve and confusion or pain no longer dominates. Tears may spontaneously arise and there is a sensation of great warmth and peace. It is the letting go of fear and the need to control. Try the meditation below to get more deeply in touch with this loving center of your being.

Opening Heart Meditation
Settle your body in an upright and seated posture. Bring your focus to the natural flow of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Just watch your breath as your mind settles.
Now bring your attention to the heart space in the center of your chest. And just breathe in and out of this space. As you do so, with each in-breathe feel your heart gently opening and softening; with each out-breathe release any tension or resistance.
As you do this, silently repeat, "May heart is opening and softening." You may experience great joy or even sadness. Let the feelings come and go, while you just keep breathing into your heart space.
Stay here as long as you wish. When you are ready, Take a deep breath and let it go. Gently open your eyes, and take the peace of your heart with you through your day.

Where do you hang out -- in your heart or your head? Do comment below. You can receive notice of our blogs every Tuesday by checking Become a Fan at the top.

You can learn more in our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, or from our three meditation CD's.

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Our latest book won the 2010 Nautilus Gold Book Award: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You And The World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie, Michael Beckwith, Dan Millman and others.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta--Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi-Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra-Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: www.EdandDebShapiro.com