Mindsets and Heartsets

A commentary on resources I have experienced that nourish the heart in a world that seems bent on educating and changing our mind; all so it can sell us something that in all probability we don’t even need.

In this last week I’ve been doing some research into personal development resources online amongst other stuff and I discovered stevepavlina.com and what a resource he is! Scrolling through his blog, checking out the quality I found him referring to ‘heartsets’ (ok so it was within a blog post that was all about masters and slaves as a means of getting the support he needs for his work, but no matter). This is refreshing to me, everywhere I turn especially online right now I am reading about mindsets, PJ McClure, get the right Internet Marketing Mindset etc and while its true that I come from a Spiral Dynamics background so my filters will be set to see mindsets everywhere, I had never, before reading Steve’s post heard anyone refer to a ‘heartset’, though I have been reading Thomas Moore’s The Education of the Heart which might amount to the same thing.

Everyone seems to be talking about mindsets and changing your mindset or ‘getting the right mindset’ for whatever, manifesting a relationship or creatively fulfilling work, yet no one truthfully acknowledging just how difficult it is to change your mindset, (try it, there’s that bugger of your subconscious self which frequently betrays you by not following in your desired footsteps (or should I say ‘headsteps’) and spewing out the same old unconscious crap: the difference between the one’s ideal self (who you aspire to be, or ‘think’ you are) and your actual self, how you actually behave under the ‘load’ we sometimes call ‘life’. So I was tickled pink at the contemplation of ‘heartset’ and what Pavlina might mean by that: guess I will have to keep reading his blog.

I guess the truth is we need to be aware of both heartset and mindset for effective living and personal growth. Much of what is out there in the ‘personal development market is essentially advertising ‘follow this system’ or ‘do what I have done’ and change your mindset and you too will find success or happiness or fulfilment or ‘the one’. In terms of what I imagine a ‘heartset’ to refer to (‘where is your heart? for there will be your treasure also’) my experience tells me that getting to know my own heart and how it might be ‘set’ is less about trying to change it and more about accepting the truth of it and what I find therein. We are not encouraged to be in the vulnerability of our heartspace in much of our current consumer addicted culture. The Journey through the heart takes time, as does truly getting to know yourself, and there are many distractions, cul de sacs and a huge Abyss to get across if you want to place your trust in Spirit as opposed to ‘the world’ (material reality).

I’ve been doing this journey through the seven levels, or the seven mysteries for over 6 years now. this is my third and half time round. This journey is for those who want to consciously make the journey from Matter to Spirit. It’s not for everyone; it IS for me and a few others a very effective way of developing spiritual discipline and overcoming blocks in your life through focussing on creating a structure through which, beginning with the physical material reality of your life, at the base, you can journey or work your way up the levels (at the rate of a level per month to give you time to integrate the journey), also called chakras. The ‘big stuff’ or the blocks to manifesting or bringing one’s vision to earth, where it can be ‘grounded in form’ (or even ‘owning’ one’s vision) are often to be found in the heart, or at the very least show up there.

Blocks in the heart can affect both the solar plexus and the throat, can indeed show up in any of the other levels for in truth the levels are all deeply entangled and interconnected. Also if one doesn’t allow oneself to honour what is in the heart by giving it expression whether verbally or through art, or song, the throat will become clogged or blocked. We need to express what is in our hearts: from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas we are told:

“If you bring forth what is in your heart it will save you; what you do not bring it forth, it will destroy you”.

Failure to express the truth of our hearts often results in dis’ease, fragmentation and losing one’s sense of grounding. Shock often has the effect of knocking us out of our bodies (I wrote about this elsewhere in the physiology of stress) and thus we become de ‘based’ and is most keenly felt at the heart.

Too often, we are not taught or supported to face the heart and how to be with everything therein. It is here on the wall’s of the heart’s cave that everything we have ever experienced, felt, decided or acted upon is engraved (see article on The Cave at the Heart). If those events and experiences still hold any pain or are left unresolved in the sense that we haven’t come to terms with the experience or made peace with it and somehow made it our own (‘got’ the learning or ‘harvested’ the ‘upside’ – even in the darkest of experiences there is an upside, though it may take some serious inner work to uncover the perspective which might be most fruitful) as opposed to something that ‘happened’ to us or to which we still have some sense of being victim to.

Consequently many of us avoid opening up the ‘pandora’s’ box at the heart, or if we do, we try to focus on the ‘light’ stuff, the stuff that brought is joy for there is not much in modern culture to indicate or hint that the ‘dark stuff’ has its place and it’s value too. The dark stuff needs to be mined so that we might discover the ‘acres of diamonds within’ instead of always looking outside ourselves for answers or gold or other riches of whatever description.

The reason I have chosen to make this spiritual journey from matter to spirit three and a half times (never got beyond the solar plexus the first time, but that’s another story- in fact the very first time I never got beyond the sacral level- clearly I have had major ‘issues’ getting to earth, becoming fully present and embodied, no doubt because I have had to face a lot of ‘dark stuff’ and reconcile myself to it’s often unconscious manifestations and it’s tendency to ‘self-sabotage’ as it’s tired to ‘grab’ my attention and focus in one way or another. There is much healing to be had within the ‘dark stuff’, typically the very stuff we spend so much time and energy investing in avoidance is the very place we need to go to clear the blocks.

‘Every upset is a set up’ claims the Course in Miracles, and whilst that’s a ‘high’ thought to ‘plug into’ or to ‘hold’ given we are not encouraged to be upset, or even allowed to be upset, or to express the upset, there is much fear around being upset and little recognition of the inherent ‘gift’ within it.

Philip Pullman has written a great series on the ‘dark stuff’, the Northern Lights Trilogy; a fantastic modern myth around the dark stuff and the fight between the ‘Authority’ and the battle of good and evil for the hearts and minds of the people of earth. ‘Dark stuff’ in his books refers to the latest findings of Quantum Physics and he creates a wonderful series of parallel realities which the heroes and villains can travel between through various means or ‘doorways’ most of which were cut by the ‘Subtle Knife’. In his books, the ‘dark stuff’ has the invisible energy of the universe within it….

For one reason or another we are frequently afraid of what’s in our hearts; it might be that it is within the heart that we hide our emotional truth about our experiences or the reality of our current lives: it takes courage for example to face realisations like we are deeply unhappy within our relationship or with the reality of our lives as it is currently manifesting, or simply to face the inner truth of some incident between ourselves and another that has perhaps upset us more than we want to admit, so we tried pretending it ‘doesn’t matter’ or it’s not important’ but in truth it has affected our ability to relate to both ourself and the other and no amount of sweeping it under the proverbial carpet will help.

We need courage and determination to really ‘be with’ the stuff of the heart. in order to fully trust spirit in my life I have had to go into my heartspace and clear out the debris, empty myself and even upon occasion rub salt in the wounds I find there to stop them festering and enable healing. Salt is a great antiseptic, interesting that the homeopathic remedy, Nat Mur is made form table salt and it one of the primary remedies for resentment, for those who have been so hurt that they’ve built a wall around their heart and no one can reach them there. I have learned to be willing to allow myself to be ‘upset’ for the information within the ‘upset’ has given more back in the form of greater self knowledge, healing and awareness than anything the ‘embarrassment’ of being upset has taken away. Willingness to allow the full range and gamut of my feelings to be conscious and to not judge them has done more to facilitate the healing process than anything else.

Judgement and coercion close the heart down. If I want to make the journey from matter to spirit and put my trust in my connection to Spirit/Source/the Universe/God or whatever name you prefer to call it by, then I must cross the Abyss at the heart. That self same Abyss that both Blake and Dante refer to in their wonderful poetry.

I find Thomas Moore’s writings (see www.careofthesoul.net) really helpful for being with the heart. Indeed his book, The Education of the Heart is an attempt to provide resources to nourish the heart in a world that seems bent on educating and changing our mind; all so it can sell us something that in all probability we don’t even need.

I have discovered it’s impossible to enter the stillness without being able to be with the heart authentically; I can avoid what is in my heart by pushing it away and pretending I’m ok with whatever, but this costs me in the end, in terms of both emotional and physical discomfort or dis’ease. Besides, if I am not willing to be with all of me, how can I expect or hope anyone else to be?

For more information on the Journey through the seven levels or the Seven Mysteries check out www.grahamemartin.com

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