Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Is Your Heart Born of Anger?

Date Line May 23, 2007

We hear a lot about. “Listen to your heart,” and is often good advice; but it is restrictive in its concept.

What you are listening to is not that silly blood pump in your chest, but rather the sub-conscious portion of your mind.

What is the subconscious? In reality it is the processing center of the brain. I call it the back of the mind, to differentiate it from the frontal lobes which are seen as the data and logical processing center. The frontal lobes are what make humans human; but they do not include the ability to think rationally.

If you doubt this, consider a animal; consider your pet dog or cat. They do not have the lobes of a human; but they can out think us when it comes to all aspects of basic survival.

We call it “instinct’. That adds some level of magical ability to what is basically thought processing at the basic level. Instinct is the central processor of the brain; that area which is hardwired, or preprogramed, to process the software we call experience and learning.

“Listen to your heart” is really an expression, a rational direction, to allow the basic survival programming to work. In life you pick up small signals which have no real context in the experience, but indicate the long term outcome of a course of behavior, or path. This is what is to be listened to.

“Listen to your heart” is too often taken to mean “follow your emotions.” But, as we all know, and have experienced, emotions are transitory; they are short-term. They pass as quickly as they emerge. You cannot hold on to that laughter, that thing which made you smile because of the context and timing; you cannot hold THAT smile because it is created by an external context.

Can you be happy? Of course.

Can you be happy all the time? Not “all the time”; but certainly there is no reason to be unhappy for more than a very brief time. How brief? The time it takes for you to replace the contextual experience with a memory, or a new context.

What is meant by replacing with a new context? That’s easy. You are told to “take your mind off it.” Well, that can be hard. But what is easy is to take the unhappy and transmute it into a happy. And how is that done; who does that?

Actually, death is a great example of doing it. We ritualize death; which is to change the context of the loss of a love one. Forget the funeral thingy; that has minor, but important, relevance. The real ritual is the concersion.

In Judaic tradition the mourners, the immediate family, come together and sit on wooden benches for seven days. They sit, and the talk. They remember. They tell stories of the departed; and those stories are generally the silliest most stupid things; those things which eventually have everyone crying, laughing, and learning about the person they believed they knew, and the people who are their family. It is called “Sitting Shiver.”

“Listen to your heart,” and tell it what it should hear. It should hear the happiness, it should see the joy, it should know the positive amidst the negative. “It is always darkest before the dawn.” You’ve heard that; and instinctively you know it is true. You know that it will keep getting darker until it begins getting lighter; and getting lighter is the sign the dawn is here.

Everything has a positive side. If not for “A”. Then “B” would not have come into being. My oldest, now a man of forty and finally getting married for the first time, when he was about ten and I was bemusing on an opportunity not taken before he was born, reminded me: “If you had, I wouldn’t be here.”

Because I selected not to take a path, a new path opened up. Because I took a path, some roads were closed to me; but would I have still had what I have? That is the instinctive; the element which makes this the “best of all possible worlds”; though, when Voltaire wrote those words he was intending them as a rebuke, they are, in fact, generally more true than false.

This is the best of all possible worlds. Our “back of mind” tells us what to do, and if we do it, we experience “the best of all possible worlds.” If we listen. But all too often we do not.

I chose to turn my back on wealth, in part because I have always followed the back of my mind. In so doing, I ended up married, widowed; companioned; married, and divorced. I received three women who produced six children. I live in an unfinished home; which, in its unfinished state, is still grander than most.

Of the children, to date, the oldest idiot earned an LLD, passed his Bar without half trying, and is employed in a menial position with one of the top law firms in the world; the next idiot proclaims she seeks “the one” while living with one she declares is “not the one” and earns more than the lawyer. Both are idiots, for as their lives have shown, they cut off the noses to spite their faces.

Then there is the Ivy League daughter. She is young, and learning. She smiles, and she cries; her heart is true, and her mind is open to what life brings. Where her older siblings closed their minds, and so cannot “Listen to their heart”, she is experienced the opening and closing; and it appears she has chosen the opening, the listening, the smiling and the joy.

“Listen to your heart.” It does not mean close your heart. It does not mean allowing anger to override logic. It means allowing the logic of life, the listening to ancient wisdom, allowing instinct to guide you. Instinct. Every creature has it. They know to follow family before strangers; to avoid traps which are known from earlier indications; to learn and to prosper based on where they want to be; to have a dream and to define that as their “heart.” The heart is happiness not anger.

No comments: