From Mindfulness to Heartfulness

During kirtan, experienced chanters often call us to chant from the heart, not just the mind. We are called to go from mindfulness to heartfulness.

But, how do we find the place of the heart?

Of course, there’s the physical heart, with its ventricles and atria and valves and all. And research does show that even the physical actions of the heart are affected by grief, joy, “heartbreak” etc.

And then there’s the emotional heart, when we fall in love, or out of love… But looking at it deeply these feelings are really a product of our minds taking us through the stages of thinking, feeling and willing each one engaging us more powerfully than the previous one.

But what about the heart of my heart? The deepest place inside of me where I, the soul reside. The seat of my deepest love and aspirations. And where the Soul of my soul, the Supersoul, also resides, guiding me over innumerable lifetimes… if I will only hear.

I heard a story from a friend, a Buddhist teacher, about one of her colleagues. He, also a Buddhist teacher, was assisting one of his students who was dying of a very painful stomach cancer. The teacher was coaching his dying student to go to the place of mindfulness. After some time, the student told his teacher that the mindfulness wasn’t working. His teacher replied, “Then you must go to the place of the heart, you must go to the place of heartfulness.”

We hear so much about mindfulness, and most of us have benefited from its gifts. But the interior journey has many layers. In the external world, so many extreme terrains have been trekked and explored; the highest mountains have been climbed; the mysteries of deep seas have been uncovered. But that place of the heart of our hearts remains the deepest unknown place of mystery and unexplored treasures.

How can I pursue this inward bound journey? How can I chant from my heart?

On the path of bhakti-yoga, we from those guiding us that we can discover our true heart through prayer, opening ourselves up to the grace of God that comes from beyond my own strength and that will uncover these deep secrets that are within me.

The maha-mantra is itself such a prayer. All it needs is your sincere desire, the desire of your true heart.

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