It’s so much easier to follow the path of the heart than to try to follow the path of the knowing mind. Through the doorway of the personal heart, you can enter what I like to call the Heart of Vastness, or the Big Heart of infinite connection.
Later, of course, you can bring the mind back, and it can be very useful. So long as it’s not in the driver’s seat, the mind can be a brilliant vehicle of creative intelligence, rather than serving as the voice of your dominating will. Then expression becomes poetry. Or, better yet, comedy!
But right now, tune in to your heart. Is it at peace, or is it in some healing process? Are expansion and opening happening, or do you feel contraction, or holding on?
What else is happening in your body, right now? What sensations, what feelings? Finding your home ground has to begin with the body—with the movement of the breath, the feelings of the heart, all the natural rhythms of this mysterious, miraculous life form you find yourself inhabiting.
Learning the Path
The path of the heart is to learn to listen, rather than talk; to allow, rather than dominate; and to really take in the many, many communications from all directions that are guiding your attention, helping show you the way to return home.
That guidance, that inherent wisdom, is always communicating, always and forever attempting to return you to wakefulness. So even in those inevitable times when you’re incredibly out of balance, it’s helpful to allow yourself to feel the imbalance, the disconnectedness, and the off-centered-ness. Gradually, you’ll learn to allow your experience to be exactly as it is, rather than trying to avoid it, or fix it, or even understand it.
Allowing yourself to be out of balance is often how balance can return.
The great Zen master Dōgen Zenji described human life as “one continuous mistake.” If it wasn’t, he asked, how would we find our way? Most people think mistakes are to be avoided but on the spiritual path, mistakes are welcomed. So-called mistakes are opportunities, guideposts, and lights illuminating our way.
So the path is to turn toward what’s difficult and allow it to guide you. Gradually you learn to understand and accept that you’re always in the midst of ongoing transformation. Even when you feel stuck, caught in the drama and struggle of the identified, suffering, separate self—even then transformation is actually in process.
Spirituality does not mean leaving your humanity behind. Rather, the height of spirituality is the complete embrace of every aspect of your humanity. Many people believe being “spiritual” means transcending our humanity, somehow escaping our flawed and messy human experience.
But true spirituality is the opposite of that. Nothing is denied. Nothing is excluded. How could it be? Ultimately, what else is there but this simple, human experience that is the only reality we know?
Finding Peace & Joy
As we integrate this truth, this vast peace that we are, we begin to welcome anything that might be challenging us—any difficulties we may be faced with in our work, our relationships, our health, our financial situations. We finally have the space to really take care of whatever needs to be taken care of, right here, right now. From this space of acceptance, we find out how to truly live, how to be in this world, and how to be of service to others.
When we can really tune in, allow, and listen, completely surrendering into that Big vast space of the heart, we find it’s a total joy to be here. It’s such an incredible pleasure simply to be alive, and yet this unbelievable richness is nothing that needs to be held onto at all.
It’s just one discovery after another; one surprise after another; one revelation after another.
Excerpted from The Unbelievable Happiness of What Is: Beyond Belief to Love, Fulfillment, and Spiritual Awakening by Jon Bernie. © Non-Duality Press, 2017.