The most anyone can do for us is connect us with our heart, and get out of the way. To be connected with our heart, we have to get out of the way. That’s the real trick of the spiritual life, getting out of the way. We’re back to the Spiritual Law that states, “The only thing standing between us and God is us.” If I am to have any luck connecting you with your heart, you and I both have to get out of the way.
Connecting us with our heart hasn’t always been what the church has been about—it has always been what the church is supposed to be about, but not what it has actually endeavored to do. The church of our experience has spent its time separating us from our heart, disconnecting us from our heart, from ourselves—from our own deep sense of what is right for us. The church of our experience has told us that our heart was a sinful, misdirected, ego-centered and evil, kind of thing (We have “followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts,” you know). But, the heart is not the egocentric self. My heart’s idea for me, and my idea for me are two different ideas.
Generally, it takes a lot of living to see that my idea for me isn’t going to get me anywhere that’s good for me—that my idea for me isn’t going to take me somewhere I really want to be. It takes a lot of living for me to be able sit down, shut up, and listen to my heart—to say, “Okay, I don’t know as much about running the show as I would like to think, so I’ll get out of the way.” We have to live a long time to have what it takes to get out of the way, and allow our heart to have a chance at us. When we reach that point, we have to be quiet, and wait it out.
Waiting it out is a real test of faith—faith in our heart, faith in the reality of heart—faith in the reality of that which is beyond us, yet has our best interest “at heart.” Do we believe in “heart”? Do we believe “heart” is the inner link, the inner contact point, with the Source of Life and Being? Do we believe there is anything to this “heart” business? Or, this “Source of Life and Being” business?
Do we believe our heart can be trusted? Do we believe we can commune with our heart? Do we believe there is a drift to our hearts? A leaning toward something, and away from something else? Do we believe our heart will lead us somewhere? That our heart knows what it’s doing? Do we believe in our heart—do we trust our heart—enough to wait for heart to speak?
The problem with listening to our heart is that all of our nudges are not Holy nudges. We can fool ourselves. We can tell ourselves what we want to hear. We have to sit, listening for more after we think we have heard it all, to see what else might be there.
We sit, waiting for our heart to offer something in the way of direction, for a sign, for an intuitive shove, for a door to open—and we get this inkling that being a bull rider is what we should do, or becoming a poet. We think that we should sell everything, and join the rodeo circuit, or sit on a park bench and write poems. It takes a while to figure out that wasn’t it. Or, that it was it. Who knows? And, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe, all we needed was to get moving.
One of the amazing things about heart is that heart can use whatever we give it, and turn it into something valuable. This is the truth of alchemy, taking lead and turning it into gold. That’s what the heart does. It takes bull riding, and gives us life. If life can come out of non-life, life can come out of nothing, out of anything—and it does! Our heart can create life right out of nothing, right out of death. This is the truth of resurrection coming to life in our life.
It is never too late for heart. Heart never says, “Well, you can just forget it. You’ve done it now. It’s hopeless and over now. We might have done something fifteen years ago, but it’s too late, now. You’re a lost cause if ever there was one!” The truth is that there never was one. There are no lost causes where heart is concerned. Heart can work with anything, at any point in our life. Heart is always looking for what we can do here and now in the time left for living. Heart never quits.
Of course, the miracle heart produces may not match up with our “inflated idea of our own importance.” We can always deride and discard heart’s offerings. We can always insist that heart produce the life of our dreams—without realizing that the life heart is capable of producing is far superior to anything we could dream up on our own. Whose life are we going to live? That’s the question. The life we have in mind for ourselves, or the life heart has in mind for us?
The sad truth is that we generally have to get to the end of our rope before we are willing to take a chance on the life heart has in mind for us. Salvation—waking up, realization, restoration— is what happens when we run out of options and wonder, “Now what?” and nothing comes to mind. And we wait it out, at the end of the rope, waiting for a door to open where we don’t expect a door to be. We wait, trusting that heart is with us to open the way for us, and to invite us along for the ride. Will we get out of the way, and allow heart to have its way?
Whose way is going to be our way? Who is guiding our ship on its path through the sea? How do we know the difference between the way of heart, and the way of the egocentric self? It’s easy. We don’t worry about it. We go with the best inclination we can envision, and see what happens. Time will tell. It’s only a matter of time. Everything in good time. All it takes is time.
Go with bull riding, for instance, or with poetry. Heart can work it out. Heart can take a first-class, A-1, screw-up, and make a miracle. We just go with our best guess about what our next step should be. Make a decision, and go with it. See what happens. See where it goes. Learn as we go. Trust our ability to self-correct in mid-stride. It’s easier to do that than to wait until we are sure before we do anything. The people who have to read all the books, and consult all the authorities, and collect all the opinions from their friends before they make a move are the last people to make a move.
Here we have the law of inertia taken to the spiritual level: A body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body at rest tends to stay at rest. The second law of inertia states that it’s easier to change direction of a moving object than of a stationary object. So, start walking toward what you think is a worthy goal, just to get some momentum going—and make adjustments when it becomes obvious that they are needed.
Make your best guess and go. Change course as you need to, but at least chart a course—at least, have a course—and be prepared to change it. That’s the one sure strategy for finding your way to the Way: Guess and Go—With Your Eyes Open! See what happens—and be ready to guess and go again, as often as it takes to get where heart wants to be.