Head and Heart
Head and Heart (February 1995)
The fact that we are endowed with intellect and the ability to feel is proof enough that each has its rightful place in the scheme of our lives. Favoring one or the other then, would suggest that we may be at a disadvantage when it comes to making the right decisions.
The conflict between head and heart is well known, for it is understood that as human beings, we are liable to favor one or the other from time to time and become unduly influenced by the extreme side of each. Head and heart though, are largely misunderstood and often a balance of both will bring the most satisfactory results.
Heart is seen as the less favorable option if one is to be influenced at all, for it is commonly thought that one makes more rational decisions when operating under the influence of head. Allowing oneself to be influenced by heart is regarded as foolhardy, for love is unreliable as a motivator. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Love, used as a guide for living one's life, will lead to 100% success every time. Using one's intellect may work some of the time, but it is less reliable, less spontaneous, less flexible and much more clumsy, with a less than perfect success rate.
Using intellect alone to solve problems or to handle situations has many disadvantages. Probably one of the more obvious ones is that in using intellect or head, the individual has to rely on past experiences to guide them in new situations. This can have serious pitfalls, particularly in situations where things may seem the same, but may in fact, be different. Heart is the only reliable solution here because head cannot anticipate subtle differences very efficiently, especially at these times when things seem to be the same. However, with the use of heart an individual can feel what is right and is not shaken by how things appear to be. As long as they are prepared to trust to the feelings, success is assured.
The problems begin when head interferes with heart and tries to take over the problem solving. This is very easy to do, because very often, feelings cannot be explained or logically justified and the need to explain can very strong within us. It can often seem easier to go along the road that has a suitable justification or reasoning, than to follow the nebulous road of feeling and to not even know why you are on that road. Yet once again, feeling is the only way to circumvent the confusion that intellect can produce. There is one snag however and it is the snag that beats most individuals every time. Trust. Without it, the information the heart offers is almost useless. For it can easily be rejected out of hand, through the interference of reasoning and other mechanisms of the intellect and many a time the individual can let opportunity slip by.
Another more insidious snag is the confusion that can exist between feeling rightness and allowing that to motivate us and the feelings of revulsion and threat etc, that can result from a threat to one's identity. We might think at times that our feelings of revulsion are really instinctual feelings that are telling us not to do something. In one sense they are telling us not to do something, but for 'impure' reasons. This can only adversely affect the individual if they allow the intellect free reign to perpetuate the process. For the head performs a critical function in this scenario. The feeling of revulsion may be there, but it is never felt in isolation. There are always negative thoughts, justifications, reasons and other variations present in the process, that ensure that we do not do whatever it might be. A genuine feeling is never felt as a 'don't do', a 'don't want to' or anything proceeded by a 'don't'. A genuine feeling is always suggestive of affirmative action and is therefore easy to distinguish. If there are reasons to justify not doing, this impression is not a product of heart, but of head in tandem with identity.
And this is an important distinction. Head by itself is not inherently destructive or defensive. When paired with a vested interest, a hidden motive, a need for identity however, it takes on a negative quality all of its own. There is obviously, a natural and right function for the intellect, otherwise we might assume, we would not have it. And that right function is to work together with the heart, free from identity in order to help us prosper in life. We must use the head to create and investigate options, communicate concepts and to generally enhance the functioning of the heart.
We cannot rely solely on the heart as such, because practicality requires that we use our intelligence to survive in life. We cannot rely solely on the head, for we would be devoid of desire, passion and the other emotional experiences that make life what it is. Put the two together, with a desire for rightness and use them wisely and we have access to a very powerful combination, with the potential to take us anywhere we wish to go in life, with precision and with passion.
Wayfarer International, Copyright © John & Melody Anderson, 1995 - 1999. All rights reserved.
Honesty (August 1996)
It is commonly but mistakenly imagined that we can select and control the degree to which we are honest and dishonest in various areas of our lives. The absolute nature of these things however, ensures that if we choose to deny honesty in just one area of life, by doing so, we cannot help but adversely affect others.
It is commonly acknowledged that honesty is the best policy but just what is meant by honesty and why is it the best policy? And what is meant by best? The implications of being honest would seem to be obvious, but if we look more deeply, there are advantages to adopting honesty as a way of living that do not at first present themselves clearly. There are hidden benefits in being honest that are beyond the traditional perceptions about what being honest affords us.
Honesty is least of all about what we say and most of all about how we are. It is most important to understand that honesty cannot even be restricted to the definition of our actions, for there is a whole network of behavior that is affected by our degree of honesty and the degree to which we allow honesty to pervade our lives. The absolute nature of honesty sees to it that we cannot apply it selectively. It is quite impossible to be truly honest with one person while all the while lying to ourselves about someone else. It is not realistic to assume that we can maintain a dishonest relationship with one friend and maintain an honest relationship with another. Friendship could not exist if we were able to perform such a feat. It is true then, that honesty applies not only to the words we say and the things we do, but also in the feelings we feel and how we allow those feelings to impact on our lives and on our perception of our lives.
It is not commonly recognized that honesty applies as much to our relationship with our feelings as it does to any other aspect of our lives and yet perhaps this is the most important in terms of how it affects us. It must be remembered that usually our feelings are the most significant representatives of our relationship with ourselves. In a sense, our feelings and what we do about those feelings essentially define our outlook on life. It is easily demonstrated in the media that individuals are often defined by how they feel about issues. For example, if an individual is opposed to abortion, they will be described as an "anti-abortionist". If an unruly dog attacks someone's child, then a likely description could be "outraged parent". Perhaps a group of local people objects to something happening in their street, a possible description might read "angry residents".
Feelings and opinions constitute much of our identity. We will often define our friends as those individuals who share the same opinions or feelings about things. More often, we create simulations of feelings to masquerade as the genuine article in order to round out some important aspect of identity. For example, we might have strong feelings about issues that we have never given due consideration to, or issues we have no direct experience of. Such feelings do not always represent the truth. Very often these false feelings can be distinguished in one of two ways. Either they are supported by strong justification, or they are completely irrational and entirely unsupported by any reason at all. These kinds of feelings are less correctly described as feelings and more correctly defined as opinions or 'intellectual feelings'. For in order to defend such feelings, the individual must rely on heavy use of the intellect.
When honesty is applied to our feelings we able to recognize the presence of choice, change and flexibility. The less flexible a feeling is, the less likely it is to be a feeling and the more likely it is to be an opinion, supported by intellect. The less honest we are about what we feel, what we think and how these things are allowed to determine what happens to us, the more likely we are to become restricted by this absence of honesty. For in order to maintain aspects of identity, it is usual to have to pervert the truth in some way.
The most common and successful way to do this is to feel one way and think we feel another. Our intellect can provide all the justification required to make us think that what we are experiencing are genuine feelings. For example, if we feel a compulsion to make a purchase which does not reflect a genuine desire, or perhaps reflects an identity requirement, we will have to undergo some sort of process in order to go through with the purchase. Perhaps part of that process involves talking ourselves into the notion that we want or need the object of the purchase. We must engage in dishonesty in order to see to it that the impure purchase is made. Sometimes this can be quite a struggle, particularly if it is necessary to hide the truth about the purchase from ourselves.
Where this sort of process fails down is in the absolute nature of honesty and of lack of honesty. When we seek to deceive ourselves over one issue, then we cannot avoid deceiving ourselves over others. If we furiously defend an illusion in one area of our lives, then we will be compelled to do so in other areas also. If the only way we can have things is to do so through dishonest means, then we become a slave to the dishonesty and are bound in other areas of life to give the same credence to dishonesty and its power to influence what we have. We become caught in a web of deceit that entangles us in its sticky grip. It ensures that we are only capable of achieving things in a very limited fashion, as long as it does not interfere with our carefully constructed illusions - illusions that are more correctly referred to as expressions of dishonesty.
Illusions however, can only continue to exist as long as they are not openly acknowledged or expressed as such. Their true nature must remain hidden for their power to be strong. The more dishonest we become about the little things in our lives, the more the dishonesty pervades the significant issues. Dishonesty has a way of completely overwhelming the life of an individual to a point where it becomes almost impossible to be honest, under any circumstances. This alone is responsible for the fact that as soon as we begin applying honesty to long held illusions, it can seem as though all hell breaks loose in all sorts of areas in our lives.
The mere presence of genuine honesty in one area almost forces honesty in others. This is very important in gauging our degree of honesty should we be interested in identifying any areas of difficulty. Anomalies must be carefully examined, for honesty is indeed absolute. Should we become dependent on lying to help us get through life, then we must be prepared for the consequences. Habitual dishonesty or lying can ensure that when it comes to something important, something that we want very much, our pattern of lying has become so strong that we doubt our ability to carry out our objectives. The lying not only convinces others but impacts upon our own perceptions of our abilities and ourselves.
Not only does this become problematical when it comes to achieving, but because we must hide the truth from ourselves, we are unlikely to understand just why we are experiencing such difficulties. The effects of dishonesty are compounding, they become worse the more we try to fight the truth.
Such is the significance of honesty in the course of personal progress that it cannot be appreciated in its entirety in the spaces of a few pages. However, an initial interest in the direction suggested by honesty and suggested by the effortful actions of dishonesty and a genuine sense of inquiry, can provide the individual with important understandings which will naturally lead to further realization and eventually knowledge. A knowledge that will be useful in the quest for truth and for the enhancement which results from it.
Wayfarer International, Copyright © John & Melody Anderson, 1996 - 2002. All rights reserved.