You hear it all the time…think things through analytically or follow your heart. The trouble is, they don’t always, or even usually, agree. This applies to decision making, however there is another heart v’s head battle going on…
I’m referring to one’s spiritual path. Gaining knowledge about spirituality is essential to walking the spiritual path, like having a map to help guide you, especially in the beginning of your journey. But there comes a time when that knowledge must move from the head into the heart and become a knowing, the very fibre of your being.
How many times have you heard someone on the spiritual path fall into a hole then say, “But I know all of this! How could I have made such a mistake?” I know, because I have said it myself, many times!
My question is, do we really know it, or just have the knowledge of it in our heads? I know people (I was one of them) who have a whole bookshelf of spiritual and self-help books, yet live their lives as if they hadn’t read any of them. They have the knowledge and understanding of the content and concepts they contain, but they haven’t taken the message into their hearts in order to really live and know it and integrate it into their very being.
This gap between knowledge and knowing results in a huge divide between the high standard of spiritual living in books and various religious faiths, and the reality of how people actually live their lives. Is that high standard really that unobtainable? It is something that I struggle with all the time when I am around people who claim to be well-versed in these standards and practices, yet often their actions do not match their words. I’m not saying I expect people to be perfect, and we all fall from grace every now and then, but I have observed one common theme amongst such “knowledgeable” people…they often live in their heads rather than in their hearts. They can spend hours debating with other spiritual scholars, splitting hairs about the interpretation of doctrine, and are able to recite reams of texts and prayers by heart. They are full of knowledge, but empty of love, compassion and mercy.
Jesus called the church leaders of his day hypocrites, because they lived the letter of the law of the church to the utmost, and could recite all of the holy texts, but they were like fancy tombs, nice on the outside but dead on the inside.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matthew 23:27
If you have read my book, Freeing the Tiger Within, you will recall that my ex-husband Esau used to joke that I lived in my head so much that I didn’t need a body and would be happy just being a brain in a jar. Up until recently that was true, however I am learning to open my heart chakra so that I can allow compassion and love to rule my life and actions. It doesn’t matter how many hours a day you do your spiritual rituals, say your prayers, reading and analysing spiritual texts etc, if you don’t have an open heart, full of love and compassion, you are missing the point of why we do those things.
As it says in the Bible in I Corinthians Chapter 13,
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profiteth me nothing.”
I was too afraid to open my heart, which had been firmly welded shut from the barrage of hurt and pain I had experienced for so long, for fear of being hurt and vulnerable again. But I now realise that in hardening my heart in order to protect it, I wasn’t able to receive love either…it’s a two way valve.
I also now know that people can only hurt me if I choose to be hurt or offended. It is usually my self-worth or ego that takes a blow, but if I am confident in the knowing that I am part of the Creator, and therefore love itself, presently residing in a less-than-perfect human form, then nothing anyone else can say and do can shatter that or bring me down. Instead I am learning to have compassion for them, because they must be suffering in order to be hurtful to others.
It would be better to read one line, burn it into your heart, such as the Golden Rule (love thy neighbour as thyself) and live by it every day, than to fill your head with knowledge, act out all of the rituals, and be selfish and self-serving. It is such a common pitfall for those on the spiritual path, along with self-righteousness and pride.
The end purpose of all of the books, texts, prayers, rituals etc. is as tools to help achieve enlightenment and realisation of our Divine nature, and to assist in revealing the reality and truths of the Universe. They are not ends in themselves. It’s like worshiping the map instead of the treasure it is pointing to. No bookcase full of books can help us find that treasure unless we are prepared to bring that knowledge into our hearts until it becomes a knowing that we live by every day. Get out of your head and into your heart, seeking the love in each and every moment.