Follow your heart. Listen to your heart. The truth of the heart is something our culture seems to both idealize and demonize. I have always had a loud heart voice. It has never let me down even as it has encouraged me to take wild leap after leap in my own life. I have often found it curious when others’ seem to have a hard time hearing the voice of the heart. Then I realize, so often, what the heart is yearning for is beyond cultural boundaries, beyond social constraints, past what is ‘good’ or ‘right’ or ‘moral.’ The truth of the heart is pure and holds the essence of love, but love has no fixation on color, or religion, or social structure or family dynamic. Pure love transcends all of this.
When I was fifteeen I had a burning crush on a boy of color and my family reacted very negatively to this news. I became aware that my heart’s truth at times challenges others. Certainly we have all experienced this at one time or another. This stepping into heart’s truth requires courage. Many who have followed their heart have often been shunned by the social norms at the time. Jesus, Joan of Arc, even Ammachi the living saint of India is hated by many of my South Indian friends. As one friend gently reminded me recently, it seems the brighter the light, the darker the shadow mirrors to remind us of the dance of duality that exists within our limited human perception.
Oftentimes we do things, lie even, to make sure we don’t hurt or harm another’s fragile self while burying our own truth deep within. When that truth eventually surfaces, whether its in the form of a breakup, quitting a job, coming out, a disease, we may be judged and put into the mercy of other’s fear and projections. When we betray our own heart, our own truth for so long it seems shocking when it is revealed to others. What is it that we so desperately try to protect or hold onto? What can we shed to step ever more powerfully into alignment with the voice of our hearts?
Ultimately, when we step into love with the fierce flame of compassion and clear sight, we burn up the ego’s wish to be right. The desire to hold onto a small self that won’t feel unsafe, lost, betrayed or hurt. Love transcends all of this too. Love knows no boundaries.
So much of what we learn, conceptually about what is wrong or right, black or white, good and bad comes from our families, our societies, our cultural standards. I am inspired by certain indigenous practices at the time of coming-of-age when children becoming adults would shed their own human parents and invite the earth and the skies to become their guiding force. That the universal language of love, care, compassion and support may speak to us through those we choose to be in our lives. Through the trees and creatures and stones. Through the infinite night sky. To remember, in love we are part of one another and we are not our concepts, our beliefs, our thoughts.
Ultimately, the heart speaks its own language and it is not the conceptual language of reason or rational. Rumi’s poem captures this so eloquently:
There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.
Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.
And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild Darling!
At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face into mine.
Breathe into me.
Close the language-door,
and open the love-window.
The moon won’t use the door,
only the window.