“Can you explain the sinking into your heart for me?”
This is a beautiful question I received from a reader, Paul, in response to the post from a couple of weeks ago. It was about pressing the reset button – the choice that is available in any moment to stop feeding the momentum of a reactive pattern.
If you are caught in an emotional whirlwind, or if you are consumed by a flood of thinking, you can stop, pause, connect with your wisdom and intelligence, and reset. Ahhhh, sanity.
I mentioned that one of the ways to reset is to let go of thinking and sink into the heart. This is what prompted the question. What exactly does that mean – to sink into the heart?
The Value of Inquiring
I love this question because it is penetrating. You could easily assume that you know what it means. After all, everyone has a heart. But let’s make sure. Let’s inquire deeply, so you can fully understand. Let’s shine the laser on even the most obvious idea so you can drill down to the absolute truth of it.
Only then can you relax.
Isn’t that what you long for?
So let’s take a deep, penetrating look. What does it mean to let go of thinking and sink into the heart?
Lose Interest in Thinking
We all know what it’s like to be caught up in thinking. You judge, ruminate, worry, plan, and tell yourself sad or scary stories. You negotiate and justify and defend. When the mind is functioning in full force, you can’t possibly be fully available to the moment.
Now the letting go part. If you make the choice to become less interested in thoughts, your attention will naturally move away from thinking. Then you are available to presence, reality. And this is the realm of the heart.
Without attention to thinking, miraculously you notice sounds and sense perceptions that were always here. You are quiet enough to realize there is breathing, the wind on your face, tension in the jaw, a feeling you’ve been ignoring.
You are waking up to what is. Mind clear and alert. Eyes wide open. Seeing and hearing from the space beyond eyes and ears.
I used to do silent meditation retreats where, after a few days, the mind would become very still. Looking out through my eyes everything was so clear and precise. There was a great sense of peace. At first, I thought something was wrong, and I would look in the mirror to see if my pupils were dilated.
Now I understand that with no interest in thinking, the reality of what is actually here in the moment becomes obvious. No distractions, no hiding, no pretending.
With nothing whatsoever in the way, what remains is infinite clear seeing, unlimited awareness. Perception of everything that is so amazingly fresh.
And in this clarity, heart-centered qualities appear naturally – compassion for people and situations, being overcome by beauty, gratitude overflowing.
A Practical Experiment
I invite you to try an experiment, just for a moment. Think about something with gusto, then let go of the thinking. Be awareness itself, fully open and allowing.
I just tried this myself and noticed a palpable difference in my experience. Thinking felt tight and contracted. But once I stopped feeding thoughts and opened to awareness, there was the sound of birds, the rays of sunlight dancing with the leaves, and a sweet softness and relaxation.
Live in the Heart
“Sinking into the heart” is a remembrance of our true nature, or, as one of my teachers says, our “infinite magnificence.” When we disconnect from thinking, there is somehow an unshakeable knowing that we have arrived home. Who we are is not our thoughts, not the individual entity we call the body or Paul or Gail.
Separation is seen as untrue, and what is realized is the inter-being (as Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says) of all of life. In the realization of this wholeness of all, with nothing excluded, is the unnameable. But probably the best word to describe it is love.
The suggestion to sink into the heart is an invitation to align with life, to let go of resistance, and to know ourselves as love, as life itself.
What is your experience with losing interest in thinking? Is it hard or easy? What happens? I’d love to hear…