What’s with all this “heart” talk?

Group of people engaging in discussion
Heart showcasing a checkmark in the middle/

When you hear me talk about your “heart system,” you might wonder just what exactly I’m referring to.

Your heart system is where your feelings live—the place where your true wants and needs reside.

Many people find that their heart is the most neglected system in their spiritual anatomy. Sadly, this is not surprising. So many of us have been told, whether directly or indirectly, that our feelings and desires are the enemies of true spiritual work. We’ve been taught that we should work hard to escape from our feelings.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Your heart system is vital to your spiritual work and development. If you do not learn to listen to what your heart is telling you, it will be impossible for you to connect deeply with God, others, or even yourself.

The reason why is simple: you cannot show up authentically before God while you are disconnected from what is true inside of you. Moreover, you will never honor the feelings and needs of others if you do not know how to honor your own.

How can you possibly love your neighbor as yourself if you do not know how to love yourself?

Do you think that some feelings are “good” and others are “bad”?

If so, you’re not alone. Many of us have been raised to think this way. We’ve been raised to flee certain feelings and rush toward others, in the name of “love” or “peace” or some other ideal.

I want you to know that your feelings are neither “right” nor “wrong.”

They are simply true for you or not true.

This message is so important to us, you can find a blog post about this topic here called “You have no bad feelings.”

Let’s say, for example, that something scares you. In that instance you are feeling fear. It is “right” or “wrong” for you to feel fear? Of course not. Can I walk up to you and say, “You’re not afraid!” Again, no, of course not. You are simply feeling what you are feeling.

At the most basic level, reconnecting with your heart starts with the simple act of paying attention to your feelings.

I say “simple,” but notice that I did not say “easy.”

When I invite you to pay attention to your feelings, I’m inviting you to allow those feelings to surface and name them. If you’re anything like I was in past years, that kind of attention is uncomfortable. It is incredibly difficult. It may even feel like the last thing you want to do.

And yet, that kind of attention is exactly what your heart yearns for. It’s why God gave you a heart in the first place.

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