Lately I have been finding that some things have been getting in the way of discerning, or being, with insight. There has been anxiety; questions of practicality and timing; learnt expectations from culture; questions around how other people might be seeing me, perhaps judging me. While Bonnevaux has resolved, there has been something of a stew of anxious expectation and push and pull that has been moving around (sometimes strongly) within me around where life might be going next.
How might we approach these times, when the heart and its insight are cloudy, or not yet revealed? These times do teach us patience. Perhaps at other of these times in life we have been impatient and made rash, unwise decisions. Hopefully there has been learning from these past times as well.
A regular contemplative and spiritual practice helps to uncloud the heart. This kind of practice is done here and now; the present moment is of the heart and so any here and now practice can also be of the heart, teaching us to be of the heart.
Meditation is one such practice. As we meditate, we experience the heart without thinking about it, without imagining, without conceptualising. We learn to simply be. This being is the heart, is consciousness; it is not self-consciousness. We learn via this experience that seeing with the heart happens when we be. To live life being is to see with the heart, being open and responsive to insight as it comes.
This growth as a human being happens as we freely give attention to the heart, the centre of consciousness. This grows us in seeing with the heart, in being with the heart’s insight. As we continue to practice, in time it gets harder to act contrary to this insight; our interior sensing is being ‘enheartened’. It becomes harder to act against the insight of the heart because this insight is being clarified in us as we meditate. It becomes more of a challenge to not act as who we are and divinely.
We discover that to act contrary to the heart would mean being unfaithful to ourselves and divinity; it would mean doing violence to ourselves and not loving others who would be affected by our contrary actions. It can take years of life and practice for many of us to act consistently from this place of human and spiritual maturity.
What can also help on this journey into being and acting with heart insight is to have company on the way from people who have experience of this journey themselves. This may mean meeting with a spiritual accompanier/guide for a time. For some of us it might also include a time of counselling and/or therapy to help us discover just what it is that throws us into reacting to life rather than responding. Effective guidance and counselling, just like meditation, are also present moment, here and now practices. Guides and counsellors mature enough in the here and now will act to ensure that any guidance and counselling is anchored here and now. In this way, guiding and counselling are spiritual practices. And if they are open to the possibility of contemplation, then they are also more obviously a part of contemplative practice.