I was attracted by an article I saw recently on Heartfulness and it prompted me to do some more research on the subject and I was surprised by what I found.
So what is heartfulness I hear you cry? Well Heartfulness has been described as “Taking meaningful action using your character strengths and virtues for the common good”. It’s about experiencing the world from the heart or with love; so you could say that Heartfulness is actually Lovefulness.
How do you practice Heartfulness? Here’s a story that might make things a little clearer for you;
“Two virtuous, solitary monks walk together in silence, making their way from their monastery to the closest nearby store, several miles away down a windy dirt path. After walking a few miles, the monks come upon a babbling brook. On the other side is a woman carrying a large bag and appearing hesitant and fearful at the brook’s edge.
The younger monk, recalling his vow of silence and commitment to have minimal contact with the outside world, swiftly crosses the brook and passes by the woman averting his eyes from her, acting as if she does not exist.
The older monk follows the young monk across the brook. Upon reaching the other side, he stops, turns to the woman and asks if he can help her. He lifts the woman and carries her across the brook. He and the young monk then continue their journey.
About a mile down the road, the young monk stops and turns to the older monk, angrily exclaiming, “How could you pick up that woman? I can’t believe you disregarded our vows.”
“Brother,” said the elder monk, “I let go of that woman back at the brook and you are still carrying her with you!”
In this story, the elder monk is not only mindful, he is heartful. His mindful attention helps him see the reality of the situation and the wider perspective of what matters most. In this situation, what matters most is helping someone who’s struggling. This mindfulness opens him up to acting from the heart. With heartfulness, the monk brings forth kindness and humility and courage.
If you stop to think about it, our way of life is usually at a million miles an hour. We have gizmos and gadgets to remind us of where we need to be and what to do and when. We have our food delivered to us, we shop online to save time; and if we’re just lucky enough we might get a couple of weeks off in the summer to recharge our batteries! Does any of that sound familiar?
With heartfulness (and Mindfulness for that matter), however, we are being asked to slow down and take stock. Get off the treadmill on a regular basis and spend time in the present moment.
Heartfulness suggests that we allow and experience the wisdom of our heart; allowing our heart to guide us for a change rather than our head. That we are present in our actions, and that we consciously connect with, and have consideration, for others.
I personally like to think that heartfulness is about the heart and mind working in harmony, together as one. The perfect balance of the material and spiritual!
It was Helen Keller that once said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” and you know what, she was onto something there!