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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Ultimate Union of the Heart-Mind

Dil say jo baat nikalti hay, asar rakhti hay
Par nahiN, taaqat e parwaaz magar rakhti hay

Words that emanate from the heart carry (more) weight
Without wings, they can fly (great) distances – Iqbal

The large majority of those who live in the west have difficulty in understanding what it is to think with the mind of the heart. Voltaire perhaps came closest:

Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.

Mind is the quintessential overriding vehicle. Reason and thinking mind's cylinders. But there is an attendant risk. Such thinking may lead to a vacuous existential dilemma.

In the East - Central, South, Mid - we are luckier. Buddha, Kabbalah, Sufis, and Mystics all have recognized the value of heart’s meditative reverberations in life. Here heart is more than a muscle pump and certainly more than a symbol of existential infatuation.

Fatima Bhutto, granddaughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, daughter of murdered Murteza Bhutto and niece of Benazir, wrote from the heart-mind on her grandfather's eightieth birthday:

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto used to say that his mind was Western and his soul Eastern. By Western he meant he was a student of Bertrand Russel and Antonio Gramsci, among other great theorists and writers. But by Eastern, I believe he meant something different. The concept of love is paramount to Sufi philosophy. Without love, there is no path to the lord who seeks his followers as a lover seeks a companion. Sufis believe that the only way to achieve union with God is through the heart.

When Buddha spoke of living in the ‘present moment wisely and earnestly’ he meant more than ‘not mourning for the past or worrying about the future.’ He spoke of living through the heart’s mind.

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.

Krishnamurthi echoes this:

The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed. Jiddu Krishnamurti

Dr. Pramod Karan Sethi who died January 5, 2008 was another person who spoke with his heart more than his mind. Thousand of amputees in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan would testify to this.

India and Pakistan are in a minority of countries that have not ratified the treaty banning the use of land mines. Mind over heart? And innocent civilians continue to lose their limbs and lives.

Tanay wrote here about Girish Bhardwaj who thinks with his heart as well as his mind.

Abdul Sattar Edhi philanthropist, social worker, in the Guiness Book because his Edhi Foundation runs the largest private ambulance service in the world will never receive the Nobel Prize. And he does not care one whit. For he serves his fellow human beings regardless of religion, or caste or nationality because his heart tells him to.

The disaster and mayhem driven media perhaps is to fault. Blood and gore drives readership and ratings higher than stories of passion and kindness. But let that not deter us to think from the heart in pursuit of inner peace. In the beginning I quotedMuhammad Iqbal's couplet. The people mentioned earlier give us hope. Their heart is in their mind - or their mind is in their heart. Either way, they shine hope in these dark moments. Let me close with Mewlana Jalal ud din Rumi:

In the orchard a Sufi inclined his face Sufi fashion upon his knee,
and sank deeply into mystical absorption.
An rude man nearby became annoyed:
"Why are you sleeping?" he exclaimed.
Look at the vines, behold the trees and the signs of God's mercy.
Pay attention to the Lord's command:
Look ye and turn your face toward these signs of His mercy."
The Sufi replied, "O heedless one, the true signs are within the heart:
that which is external is only the sign of the signs."
The real orchard and vineyards are within the very essence of the soul:
the reflection upon that which is external
is like a reflection in running water.
In the water only a reflected image of the orchard
quivers with the water's subtle movement.
The real orchards and fruit flourish within the heart:
the reflection of their beauty
falls upon the water and earth of this world.
If this world were not merely the reflection
of that delectable cypress, the heart of the saint,
then God would not have called it the abode of deception.
Oh happy is the one who has died before death,
for he has become acquainted with the origin of this vineyard.
[IV, 1358-66;72]

Translated by Camille and Kabir Helminski


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