“The way is not the sky,
It’s in the heart.”
The last three years I had felt slightly confused and out of sorts about many of the big things in life: my relationship, work and home. Which by the way, psychologists say are the biggest stressors one can have. They advise not to change all three at the same time. I had been needing change in all of these areas, yet when I looked at what was actually there, I couldn’t figure out which thread to follow and what the divine order of it all was- leaving me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I tried using all the skills at my disposal, the things I know work and have worked for me in the past: meditation, movement, talks with friends, lists, walks, singing… and nothing was yielding further clarity only more questions.
It’s always felt clear to me that the heart is essential to ‘The Path’- our Dharma. That embodiment cannot occur without it, making the journey feel hollow when only the head is consulted. That the specific kind of knowing the brain offers is extremely useful though incomplete and doesn’t lead to satisfaction on its own. We need both- the head and the heart. Though socially we only praise the brain. Fortunately for us, that seems to be changing.
The brain, in the form of science, can tell us that the electrical field of the human heart is 100 times greater than that of the brain; it’s magnetic field 5,000 times stronger. Which means the ‘field’ of the heart is the dominant electromagnetic field in the body. This feels important, like something worth paying attention to.
But what exactly is the make-up of the human heart? I have a clear image of what my brain does: it catalogues, labels, sees the options, studies them and lays them out in front of me, factually untangling the clues so that I may study them and use my discernment to make decisions. But the heart… well, I guess I’m almost embarrassed to say I’d never thought about it in depth. My understanding was that the heart feels. The heart, though quite esteemed in my process and the way I meet the world, just seemed like this nebulous amorphous thing. Like a dumpster of lumped feelings, emotions and gut instincts recklessly thrown, smudged and mixed together in a chaotic, stinky mangle. Making the contents of my own heart seem overly fecund and unruly. So if the heart is to be an important key to the puzzle along the path but there is no map to understand it, wouldn’t it follow that the path would be partly obstructed at best?
Recently, in cranio-sacral training, I came across a cosmology for the heart based on ancient Basque mysticism and esotericism. It maps out the heart by endowing each of its chambers with a quality, a personality:
the upper left chamber or left atria- “Full Heart”
the lower left chamber or left ventricle- “Open Heart”
the lower right chamber or right ventricle- “Clear Heart”
the upper right chamber or right atria- “Strong Heart”
This way of mapping the contents of my own heart has been a profound game changer for me. It has offered me a way to organize and go Marie Kondo on my heart to see what is actually there and how to make sense of it, bow to and thank the shit I don’t need and say “Sayonara Fucker!”. The outcome has been extremely affirming. It has given me a different kind of steadiness and what’s grown out of feels like what Brene Brown calls “Wholehearted” (all the chambers in relationship to one another working together (lightbulb on!!). I realized all these years I had been confusing an ‘Open’ heart with a ‘Clear’ heart. This has made a world of difference. And all of a sudden some of the rubble and muck obscuring the bigger pieces of my life are shifting out of the way or into place so that I can finally see where I am in space and see where I would like to place my next step. It has produced some tectonic movement in what felt like very sticky areas.
I’m still only beginning to play with it and testing the edges of what this work can offer: what awareness in all chambers brings and how their relationship changes to each other depending on what’s going on. But it has been uplifting to learn that I can give a ‘full’, ‘open’, ‘clear’ or ‘strong’ hearted ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and even ‘wholehearted’ ‘yes’s’ and ‘no’s’. Things take a long time to sink in when you’re a slow learner like me.
To this end, I am kicking off a monthly Study Group for all you freaks and geeks out there. This is for all levels, but we will be diving deep into some of the more esoteric and philosophical practices that keep my mind and practice fresh with discussions, stories and satsang. Starting on Saturday April 27th at Naam Yoga from 2-4:15 with the first installment. The focus for April will be Wholehearted: Cosmology of the Heart. Every month will focus around a different topic or a continuing topic that can stand on its own. I’m hoping these sessions will become more circular in participation as opposed to just me leading them and will spur meaningful conversation and growth from all of us sharing together in the great collective. We will practice for about an hour and a half, sometimes more, sometimes less and leave around 45 minutes for some non-asana work and group discussion. I’ve wanted to offer something like this for a long time. So I am really excited to be making it happen finally. I hope you can make it. And if you can’t afford to come, shoot me an email and we will discuss. If you want to be there, I want you to be there.
PREMA YOGA, BROOKLYN
FRIDAY APRIL 12, 11:30-1PM
This will be for those practitioners or teachers hungry to explore nuance and refinement! All are welcome.
Sign upon their website.
HOUSE KIRTAN AT CHEZ BOWIE
WITH MILES AND DHARMA
FRIDAY APRIL 26, 7:30PM
Spring Kirtan at my place. If it’s nice we will go up on the roof. Bring whatever you want to eat or drink, make it shareable. Or just come with yourself. Space is limited. Email me to reserve your spot.
COSMOLOGY OF THE HEART
NAAM YOGA, NYC
SATURDAY APRIL 27, 2-4:15PM
I am kicking off a monthly Sacred Sangha or Study Group for all you freaks and geeks out there. This is for all levels. We will be diving deep into some of the more esoteric and philosophical practices that keel my mind and practice fresh, with discussions, stories and satsang. The focus for April will be Wholehearted: Cosmololgy of the Heart.
Every month will focus around a different topic or a continuing topic that can stand on its own. I’m hoping these sessions will become more circular in participation as opposed to just me leading them and will spur meaningful conversation and growth from all of us sharing together in the great collective. We will practice for about an hour and a half, sometimes more, sometimes less and leave around 45 minutes for some non-asana work and group discussion. I’ve wanted to offer something like this for a long time and am really excited to be making it happen finally. I hope you can make it. And if you can’t afford to come, shoot me an email and we will discuss. If you want to be there, I want you to be there.
To register EMAIL ME.
It’s been so great to have so many of you on my table. Come on down and get what my Nuqui crew called the Brain Melt.
Touch, of course can also be the most healing thing, respectful and wanted.
Email me. Let’s make it happen.