What the Heart is Made Of

What the Heart is Made Of

When we use expressions like "that really touched my heart," or "I ,left my heart in San Francisco," we all understand that we are not ,talking about that all-important organ in our rib cage, but a vaguely ,understood area in the vicinity of said organ where we feel things that ,are extremely subtle or so powerful it actually feels like a physical ,pain. The reality is, though, that we don't have a clue what that heart ,(not the organ) really is.

There are probably thousands of books, documentaries, studies and ,research projects focused on the brain. We know quite a bit about how it, works -- the billions and billions of neurons shooting information back, and forth, for example. We can map its activities and watch the ,electricity it produces glow on a monitor. We can slice it and dice it ,and study it under a microscope. It is a complex chunk of matter, and ,can therefore be altered, destroyed and maybe even in whole or part ,recreated.

The heart -- that invisible cathedral of feelings -- doesn't get ,anywhere near that much attention. In fact, the idea of "studying the ,heart" is somewhat ludicrous. I am not interested in romance and ,heartaches, emotional issues, or any of that, at least not as it relates, to the heart as the seat of love and compassion, gratitude and ,devotion, and happiness and sadness. What intrigues me is the mystery of, the heart. The brain is pretty amazing and mind-boggling (pun ,intended). It is a beautiful example of the seemingly unlimited capacity, of this creation to produce complex matter. But ... it is matter, and I, can more or less wrap my head around it (sorry, I couldn't help ,myself).

The heart is a whole different thing. It seems to exist in space, not, in matter. When you feel love or gratitude, that feeling does not ,appear to be located in your brain. It feels as if it exists somewhere ,in the general area between your lower ribs and your neck. You can't ,pinpoint it, and yet it is just as real as anything material that you ,can see and touch. There is no denying its existence. When you watch a ,feel-good movie, that is what happens: you feel good, it feels good and ,that feeling lives somewhere in or around or in front of your chest. Of ,course, there are quite a few people who think of our feelings as ,nothing more than chemical reactions in the brain, or they have some ,other "logical" explanation. That is not how it feels to me at all. When, we feel love or compassion, it almost seems to be the opposite; it ,lives far from the brain and mind. We have thoughts, naturally, that ,come as a result of what we are feeling, and there are feelings that are, the product of our thoughts. And yet, the two seem to exist on opposite, ends of the spectrum. Thoughts are like bits of lightning: they come ,and go almost randomly, and by themselves don't affect us much -- as ,long as they don't produce feelings. Feelings, on the other hand, take ,on a life of their own. They don't come quick as lightning, nor do they ,jump all over the place. (If they do, you have a problem of a different ,kind.) When you watch a documentary about people hit by some terrible ,tragedy, the feeling of compassion can sit there, wherever that is, for a, long time. Similarly, when you feel gratitude, it brings a sense of ,peace and contentment that can hang around for awhile.

Perhaps by now, you are wondering where I am going with this. It ,seems to me that while we are thoroughly impressed with the complexity ,of the brain, we are not remotely as overwhelmed by the presence of the ,heart. That is a pity because when you think about it, the phenomenon of, the heart (not the organ) far outweighs and overshadows the relatively ,puny miracle of the brain. I know ... this is blasphemy in the eyes of ,our intellectuals and intellectual wannabes, but when you take a good ,look, the heart is, by far, the most impressive piece of this immaculate, creation. A case could be made that it is not the mind, not even the ,soul, but that vague thing we call the heart that should be viewed as ,the highlight and true focus of this creation.

The brain/mind concept is a logical, sensible and necessary part of ,creation. It helps us forage for food, make fire, build shelter and ,much, much more. As with anything else, when you practice it you become ,good at it, so it evolved and, over the many millennia that we have been, using our brains, the brain has now reached a point where it is ,absolutely and totally amazing what it can do. It can put a person on ,the moon, write heart-breaking poetry, make beautiful music and design ,lightning fast computers. It can also build very efficient weaponry and ,then use that to kill thousands of people. The brain is cold as ice. If ,the heart doesn't have a say in the matter, people can justify the need ,to bomb villages and commit all kinds of atrocities.

The soul also makes some sense ... if you are inclined to believe ,that such a thing exists. It is generally viewed as the immortal part of, us, the one that leaves our bodies at the end of our lives, and moves ,on to … and just go ahead and fill in the blank: heaven, hell, another ,human body, an animal body, another planet, fantasy land, a timeless ,dream state, nirvana, judgment day or anything else your MIND has ,convinced you to be the TRUTH. A little ironic, don't you think, that we, allow that mediocre and far from flawless invention called the brain ,with help of that equally imperfect mind to use their oh-so-finite ,resources to tell us about the infinite. It's kind of like trying to use, a tape measure to determine how many molecules exist in this universe.

The heart ... now there is the true hero of my story. First off, I ,would like to point out that it doesn't have a logical reason to exist. ,Sex by itself would have been quite sufficient to inspire us to ,procreate; love -- a product of the heart -- really is just icing on the, cake. Perhaps we would have been more murderous throughout history. ,Then again, perhaps not. The logical mind, all by itself and without ,help of the heart, might have convinced us that more is better, so let's, slow down with the wars and such. In fact, if you believe the ,scientists of this world, the brain/mind thing holds the solution to ,everything, not that feminine, weak, subtle, hard-to-pinpoint thing we ,call the heart. And yet, the heart is where the buck truly stops. Not ,the mind. Not even the soul. After all, the one thing each and every one, of us needs more than anything else, is a feeling -- a feeling of ,contentment, of joy, of happiness. To the brain/mind partnership, the ,bottom line is always something material, just like the brain itself ,exists on the material plane. It therefore wants a fancy car, a ton of ,money, kids, a big house, a yacht and more and more and more and more. ,The only time the all too finite mind reaches something approaching ,infinity, it is in its ability to want. That never seems to end. The ,yacht is never big enough, there is never enough money and so on. A ,dubious quality, that is.

Obviously, the mind is not smart enough to fill a bucket. It keeps ,pouring water in it when anyone can see there is a big hole in the ,bottom.

The heart sees things very differently. When it is filled with ,contentment, there is no more want. When it feels even a little bit of ,gratitude, that translates into happiness. When it feels compassion, it ,exists in a state of beauty. When it feels joy, there is no room for ,anything else. Look at a newborn baby. The brain/mind duo is pretty much, silent, but the heart spills over. And we, grownups with fully ,developed, noisy brains, stand around that little wonder while our own ,hearts are getting touched. In fact, the reason we stand and stare at ,the baby is because we so love that feeling of our hearts being touched.

I won't deny that there is a lot of madness in this world -- the kind, of evil that makes no sense and breaks our hearts. I don't believe that, to mean that there are people who don't have a heart. I think their ,brains/minds are so loud and out of whack that the subtle voice of the ,heart simply doesn't stand a chance. Perhaps that is something to ,consider: keep your mind as quiet as possible so the voice of your heart, can be heard loud and clear.

Here then, is my theory, and please, keep in mind that my theory too ,is produced by the comic duo that lives between my ears: perhaps our ,Creator, when it was only Him (or Her or It) that existed, desired to ,FEEL. Otherwise, there is only death. Without FEELING -- happy or sad or, anywhere in between -- everything is cold. So He went about creating a ,universe, stuffing it with all kinds of things as a foundation for his ,master piece (LOL), the human being, in order that through them, as He ,lives inside of every one of them, He would be able to absorb and ,experience feelings. Sure, those humans are a work in progress. I don’t ,know how He handles all the negative feelings humans experience. My ,guess is, His perspective allows Him to let those run off Him like water, off a duck while he feasts on the feelings of love, compassion, ,devotion, gratitude, and the inevitable result of those feelings: ,happiness! You see, our Creator too, wants to be happy. Hence the human ,race (and perhaps animals and other living things, but I don't know ,about them). Therefore, following my theory, you and I have a job to do:, to be happy! You want to sacrifice to Him? Show Him your love ,and devotion? Better get on with feeling happiness so He can feast on ,your happiness. It's truly a win-win situation.

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