Do you know how to follow your heart?
There is a lot of emphasis in the self-help industry which sells the concept of following one’s heart. The most accepted thought around this seems to be that by following your heart you are following your path of happiness.
Following one’s heart as opposed to following one’s head seem to refer to going after the experiences in life that are more meaningful to a person, where as following one’s head seem to refer to what is more logical, what makes most sense, or what seems to be right.
I have no doubt that both strategies are needed at times and they work very well in synergy with one another, however I’ve always wondered what really is meant by “following your heart.” If ever you have been at crossroads in your life, you may agree that this kind of answer can be quite a trigger.
How is one supposed to follow your heart, and what does it even mean?
I have heard it being described as an overwhelming desire, an deep urge to fulfill, and to act on one’s dreams. If your heart is like mine, this would translate to traveling to every country in the world, eating the finest food, attending retreats and seminars which will help you grow, and spending hours with people you love. Perhaps spending hours in volunteer work, and by the end of it, quite possibly you may still wonder wether really you are following your heart? Even though all those things may make a person very happy, if it is not fulfilling the deeper needs of one’s soul, they are mere distractions.
Even the most noble ambitions and actions may simply be reactions. Reacting is to have a feeling in the body and to take action based on it, without the deeper knowing of whether the action will lead you to peace and happiness. It is like acting with wishful thinking, hoping that you will be closer to your goal, but without the courage of clear evaluation and decisive responsibility. It is no different than wanting to lose weight, yet grabbing an ice cream at the first sight of it.
To know what really to follow, a person has to know his/her core values. You can approach this task through intellectual activities, yet raising the question of your personal values will inevitably lead you to your feelings, and as soon as you realize that feelings change quite rapidly, you will be directed to use your intuition.
It is my belief and experience one has to develop intuition – a sense of knowing, in order to fulfill your deeper desires, and the way to develop one’s intuition is through meditation.
Through meditation all the immediate needs of the mind falls away until you reach the lesser immediate needs, which sometimes can be thought of as deeper desires, and yet deeper to these are our true needs, our true desires, our true wishes.
The funny thing is that there is no urgency here. These wishes, needs and desires have so much patience to be fulfilled and just touching on them, leave us with a peaceful feeling of inspiration. This knowing shines a light and shuns the anxiety of having to do the right thing, of having to follow the right dream, of having to follow one’s heart. This is a true path to bliss.