I have never listened to people who told me I couldn’t follow my true heart’s desire. And following the heart’s wisdom is what I have been doing, more or less successfully, since I was born.
When I follow the heart’s wisdom, I remain in touch with the basic goodness of existence. When I start off in the wrong direction, I feel ill. It’s been like that since I was a small child. I’ve never really had a choice.
This simple “method” of moving in the world has cast me as an inspirer, or even a rebel in some people’s eyes, and as baffling, or a disappointment in the eyes of others. I’ve been admonished to think smaller, aim lower and be “realistic.” I’ve often been advised to follow fear.
So I’ve always appreciated teenagers and young adults—we call them millennials now—because they tend to ask “Why not?” and “How?” more often than they dig in with “I shouldn’t” or “I can’t.”
Although the millennial years can also feature dangerous recklessness (they certainly did for me), I still feel saddened when I see this more daring, experimental, values-based approach to living get compromised as people age.
We can compromise about a lot of things, but our sense of wisdom, goodness and dharmic living should never be compromised. When that voice speaks to us, we should always listen. And if any person, culture, society or government should attempt to separate us from our wisdom, we should resist.
Resistance for me has most often meant going around rather than fighting the tigers head on.
I’ve tried not to struggle with other people’s fears, projections or demands that I take up a leading role in their karmic patterns. And I respect that people have the right to be however they are. I sometimes want to fight—to prove something or make people I’ve cared about understand me—but this rarely works. It most often gets me more entangled.
Going around and continuing on my way, or engaging in a softer mode, have worked better. These strategies have been my teachers. They have taught me a lot about aggression and have required developing some serious patience and fortitude. I’m definitely still working on it.
But I’ve learned, through sometimes painful trial and error, that the use of more forceful means is only rarely necessary. In fact, I’ve found that in simply continuing on my path and letting other people be, the intelligent and compassionate patterns of nature are revealed. Nature is generally playing a longer game than us impatient humans.
This strategy has been effective in my life personally. I wonder what it would look like to “do” civic life in this way. Is there a way to effectively engage and act on one’s values without expending undue energy on struggling and battling?
Can there be positive, heart-based, forward moving, effective and powerful movements based on alliances that don’t buy and sell compromises of fundamental values? Can we conserve energy and demonstrate basic respect for those with whom we radically disagree by going around them, rather than by brow-beating them or mowing them down?
I certainly don’t know the answer to these questions, but I think they are worth exploring.
During the current election season, a curtain has been pulled back to more clearly reveal the failings of our democracy here in the U.S.
I want to point out a beautiful circumstance that has also been revealed—a circumstance that is far more powerful than lies, manipulation, greed, oppression and bigotry.
This circumstance is the deep, deep yearning that people have to live from the wisdom heart. Whatever mean-spiritedness one can locate in the public discourse around the elections, the over-riding momentum, the real energy of this election season, is the expression of that yearning.
The millennial uprising we are seeing is an upsurge of the heart. It reminds me a little bit of the 1960s, but without the self-deception. The current millennial movement, still in its infancy, feels more clear-sighted and practical; more creatively engaged, daring and goal-oriented.
It’s much larger than a candidate, or a party. It’s about doing the things that our hearts have always known are the right things to do. It’s about living fearlessly, creatively and with care and concern for everyone and everything in our world. It’s about actually having a future, not to believe in, but to live in.
I guess you could say that I’m a charter member of this movement. I was born into it, and most of my life I’ve tried to nourish and support it. But in fact, we all are members of the movement of the wisdom heart. It’s just that some of us have temporarily forgotten.
In the spiritual traditions of India, the cycles of ignorance and wisdom follow each other naturally. The pain of separation from wisdom eventually causes us to be determined to find it again. I’m hoping we are moving into a cycle where that determination to reconnect with the wisdom of the heart prevails.
We can all participate by courageously following the promptings of wisdom in all matters small and large. Wherever you start is a good beginning.
Lots of Love,