Lead from your heart, follow your heart…  A meaningless clichè or solid guidance for making decisions?
Does following what’s in my heart today lead to a desirable outcome longterm?
Doesn’t doing so put one at risk for heartbreak? And who hasn’t had a change of heart down the road?
I’ve heard “lead from the heart” ad nauseam from yoga teachers, healers and self-help books. I’ve done that and made decisions I regret. Maybe I didn’t dig deep enough into my heart to know what was really in there, and perhaps I changed, but how do I trust my heart if following it results in something unwanted?
Experiential research (therapy) has taught me that solely made heart based decisions run the risk of impulsivity and emotions running wild, and brain based decisions ignore or under value emotional and human needs.
One therapeutic technique that I like is based on a Buddhist philosophy called “Wise-Mind”. It blends heart and mind.
The purpose of blending the loving and thinking power centres in our bodies is to make decisions that enhance connection between self and other, and uses intelligence that will keep us grounded in the present moment.
Since I relate just about everything in life to Rolfing, I wonder how this connection can be enhanced in my Rolfing practise or if it can only be strengthened with increased self-awareness.
Cranial anatomy indicates one key physical connection between heart and brain; the cardiac nerve.
I once held a cardiac nerve in my hand during an anatomy dissection lab (thank you, Gil Hedley) and wondered if I was holding the path of heart-mind in my hands. I have since tried to palpate this nerve in my own neck and though at this date I have not knowingly felt it in living bodies, I imagine the neural-cardiac nerve might be responsible for the best decisions we could ever make. A very valuable place!
Even without direct palpation, a clear pathway between heart and head can be created with good structural alignment. When we are in good alignment, the heart has space to expand and the head, properly balanced on top of the spine, is free to house thoughts that are free to come and go without forming excessive rigidities and attachments.
Where this home-grown idea becomes less conceptual and more about reality is when I apply heart-head decisions to the little things:  letting someone in front of me in line, picking up someone else’s litter,  …
I trust these little heart-brain led decisions produce small acts that will, given opportunities to be listened to, honoured and acted on, grow into a power tools of decision making for situations that are major and unchangeable.