Too often we rush into what our mind says and ignore the heart’s call. Is there a difference? Yes. The heart is that much closer to our instinct, our gut-feel of what’s appropriate or not for the situation. Paradoxically, the mind races mindlessly, the heart prefers a slower, more measured, mindful pace. The mind judges and can be intolerant, the heart accepts and gives a long rope. The mind says yes to harmful habits, the heart says no. The mind frets impatiently, the heart is willing to wait.
The fact is, mind and heart are required for a balanced life. They don’t have to agree, but they give us the space to discern, reflect and take preventive steps. The mind is a great motivator when we need to act swiftly, while the heart is a lovely ally when we need to surrender to life’s flow and blows. And both facilitate in changing our decision when things shift.
Remember and listen. You have an inbuilt personal guidance set-up; all you have to do is listen to it. It puts you in touch with your own sense of what is right for you — a core stability that allows you to act wisely.
Most of us blurt out the first thought or reaction that pops into our mind, especially when we are with our loved ones. When it is negative, it creates disharmony in the relationship and rocks our own stability. On the other hand, before speaking, if we silently listen to our heart’s murmur and apply the Socrates’ method of questioning: “Will this help? Is it really necessary? Am I pandering to my ego?”, our stability takes over like a conductor in a grand orchestra and harmony hums its sweet, unheard melody.
Do every duty, task or chore as if you’ve chosen it. Do it wholeheartedly without any resentment, only with love.
Nurture a relationship between your mind and heart. The mind holds only our ego, information and experience, not knowledge or stability. The heart holds our spirit, a deeper knowledge and wisdom. When each crosses the bridge to the other, we remain stable and balanced.
A morning mantra. To bring mind and heart together, start the day with this affirmation given by a Yoga teacher: “We develop ourselves beautifully only when we maintain a balanced state of mind and heart all the time, all the time, all the time.”
Then do every duty, task or chore as if you’ve chosen it. Do it wholeheartedly without any resentment, and only with love. Even if regarded by society as ‘menial’, honour it as noble because from the highest perception, all is noble. Focus on every activity as if it is the only activity you have to do. Do it well with full attention. Concentrate on it with the sweet intensity of a child absorbed in playing with a toy. Be deeply devoted to the process, enjoy your ability to do it. Willingly surrender the outcome of your efforts to the world and allow a wonderful sense of fulfilment to be your reward.
When you hold this attitude and work from it day after day, a beautiful sense of quiet flourishing gathers in you — a deeper knowing that you are in the place and space you are meant to be. This knowing is a benediction — you become completely free. Where there was fear, there is now an overarching fullness; where there was an inner trembling, there is immense peace; where there was resentment, there’s a wide, softly yielding acceptance. Doing away with emotional stresses brings great relief, deep tranquillity and a quiet joy shining with the dignity of self-reliance.
A feel-good heart. With a clear mind and heart, it is easier to deal with physiological stress as well. Research has revealed that the heart is much happier, literally light-hearted, when the abdominal area is free of fat. It has nothing to do with looking good, but feeling good. And it has everything to do with not getting a heart attack.
Researchers say fat around the midriff is a symptom that we have unwanted visceral fat. The danger visceral fat poses is its penchant to accumulate around our organs — the heart, kidney and liver. It’s an albatross.
It weighs them down, doesn’t allow them to function with ease and the stress on them is enormous. So, reduce this stressful fat by walking briskly 42 minutes daily or do stationery-cycling 30 minutes every day. Follow it up with 30 crunches. Then, 30 hyper-extensions with five-pounders: Lie on your back, holding weights. Raise arms pointing weights to the ceiling. Lower both arms backward to the floor until you feel a stretch on your abs. Raise again.
Cut out sweets. Sugar raises insulin in the bloodstream disallowing the fat from being burnt. Cut out fats, alcohol and salt too. Why add when there is already excess to be rid of?
End the exercise session with this simple and helpful posture: Stand, feet together, hands at sides. Close your eyes, quieten the mind. Raise both arms sideways until fingers point to the ceiling, palms touching each other. Hold this pose for one minute. It enables all the organs to click into their correct places. Lower the arms.
Mind the mind. Above all, give up this obsession, this addiction to thinking, presuming, speculating and seeing the worst in every situation. An annoyed mind turns everything and everybody drab, irksome, awful. To the annoyed mind, a pleasant smile looks like a sneer, a beautiful person appears unpleasing, a rhythmic drumbeat sounds noisy. My wish for all of us is to have a mind full of love, blessings, acceptance and warmth.
These are the three mind-rules that synchronise with the heart rules which I practise and find wonderfully effective:
- Not to assume but ask for facts
- Not to judge but understand the reasons or let it go
- To think a hundred times before hurting someone and feel their pain and yours which is bound to arise later.
When you are synchronised in mind and heart, it’s as if the Universe is working on your frequency and sending the good stuff to you on an invisible cosmic conveyor belt. And whenever an unexpected flash of joy zips through you, know it’s the good stuff on the cosmic conveyor belt coming closer and closer to where you are.
The writers are authors of Fitness for Life and Simply Spiritual – You Are Naturally Divine and teachers of the Fitness for Life programme.