The Mind and the Heart

The Heart is the seat of consciousness. Open into it and expand inwardly into eternal bliss.

As September’s focus for the Chakra Series at Castle Hill Yoga, is the Anahata or Heart Chakra, I’ve been meditating on the Mind and the Heart. And what each truly represent.Yogafly, Yoga Illumined

I’ve added a photo of Susannah Raulino, one of our lovely Yoga Illumined 2013 Teacher Trainees, striking a version of supported Anjayenasana at the wall. This is a heart-opening posture – in the outward sense. Meaning it’s an opening of the heart up toward the sun. But outward asanas are not necessary to open the Heart inwardly. To open the heart into the “City of Brahman” — I like to define Brahman as God beyond God beyond and concept of God. — one must empty the mind and dive into the Heart.

Easier said than done, yes? Yes.

And so we have two kinds of Teachers and Healers in the world. And I believe they are both incredibly necessary in our modern day and age – with information overload, Internet, Facebook, Istant-gram-ification, everywhere.

The two types of teachers are:

1) Spiritual leaders
2) Psychotherapists

Often times, folks come into a spiritual practice, and they are hit with their own minds’ contents, spilling out all over the place — stuff that has never been looked at. And you see these folks run screaming from a meditation hall saying, “I can’t meditate.”

And this is where psychotherapists come in. Because the spiritual practices are there to open up all these drawers of the mind that have been closed for so long. And then bam, you open them all up – and you’re not quite sure what to do with the contents. This is where a great psychotherapist comes in and helps you sort out your underwear from your socks, metaphorically speaking, and tell you which clothes, ummm, don’t fit you anymore and should be donated to Goodwill.

I believe that incredibly advanced spiritual teachers can assume the role of both the Spiritual leader (Guru) and the Psychotherapist. But I’ve also come to find, that although Holy Beings are everywhere and abundant, there aren’t enough truly advanced spiritual teachers around who can cover both the inner workings of the mind and the Heart.

Ramana Maharshi, Bhagavan

Ramana Maharshi, Bhagavan, a great spiritual teacher

In fact, in so many spiritual communities, I am often truly struck by the need of a lot of the people for real psychotherapy alongside their spiritual practices. Psychotherapy, to me, in its highest sense, is a loving analysis of the mind and its contents.

Now, I realize that these two worlds are merging. And I’m happy to note that I work with some truly amazing spiritual-psychologists. But I do hope that this continues to expand because spiritual practice, when not grounded in a clear psyche, is just too often another place where folks “drop out” – instead of “dropping in.” Which is another way of saying, it’s really easy to run away in our culture. And often times, spiritual centers are just escape hatches for folks who have a difficult time functioning in the rules of the world. And they simply don’t have to be.

Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati, Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D. said: “Become a living Ashram.” Which means, that eventually, you don’t have to travel to the Himalayas to be at a spiritual retreat center or go find an Ashram, you can simply dive into your own Heart. Now this isn’t to say, that you shouldn’t run to the nearest Ashram and Yoga meditation retreat when you are called to do so. These places are havens in a world filled with all sorts of chaos. And everyone’s Karma is different, and I honor this. Many simply need to be at spiritual centers, permanently, for the greater good of all. I tend to go in and out of spiritual centers, and at this point in my life, it doesn’t really matter which spiritual center it is – just as long as LOVE is the dominant force – I can go in and out of churches, Ashrams and meditation halls. But at the end of the day, the church in my Heart is where I go to rest and for peace. And so it is.

May all Hearts open into limitless, undying love,

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