It’s become popular to speak about listening to your heart and being true to your feelings. But what about reason? What are the dangers of listening to your heart, following your feelings, without thinking things through?
Sure, feelings are super important. It’s what you’re experiencing and it points to who you are. Things do indeed need to be done in harmony with what you’re feeling, with love and aligned with your values. Of this, there is no doubt. But there is one crucial problem with regards to feelings and following your heart.
Every sentiment is a result of who you are now. It’s based on the filters you have acquired, practically all of which unconsciously. It’s based on the mental map of reality you have today. And both your filters and your mental map can be wrong.
Here’s a rough example: what are the feelings and sentiments of a racist? He or she has created a mental map in which his or her race is superior to other races. This person has created filters to emphasize all the bad qualities in people of other races and all that’s good in people of his or her race, confirming their racial views every step of the way. So, what does a racist feel in regard to people of other races? Negative, hateful sentiments. Is this view correct? No. It’s a mistake. It’s an error in his or her mental map, which is distorting reality. But the sentiment is certainly true to that person. It’s the expression of his or her heart, it’s in synch with his or her values. Feelings, therefore, can lead you astray, when you’re operating on wrong ideas and facts.
Now ask this same racist what 2 + 2 is. Ask an atheist, a Christian, a psychopath or a saint… the answer is always 4. Reason operates on a different system of the brain, known as the deliberative system, or slow thinking process. It’s not influenced by subtle concepts and doesn’t go through filters, when purely engaged.
The same thing happens in regard to spiritual life. We can’t simply depend on our current feelings, we can’t just “follow our heart”. We have to use our brain. That’s why in the path of yoga it’s essential to cultivate knowledge – jnana. Spiritual yoga knowledge is rational and internally consistent. It explains the workings and experiences of life in a clear manner, in a way that makes sense. Enhanced by this knowledge we can improve our mental map and correct our filters, absorbing reality more intelligently. With this, then, we can feel these truths vibrating in our hearts. Perfected knowledge leads to perfected sentiments.
God gave us a brain and a heart and we should use both. Make use of reason and feeling, both, to maximize your human potential.
In my book, “The 3T Path” (https://3tpath.com/books/), there is a whole section on jnana, where I explain what this avenue of perfection entails and the most important transcendental knowledge you need to live a better life and appreciate how rational spiritual life is.
Check out my video on this topic here.
Check out what they are saying about my book: “I’m loving the book. Wonderful teachings!” – Simone de Morais