Xin ~ Heartmind

Existential Research, mind and body, Perception

the first paragraph of this post is from:http://taoism.about.com/b/2009/07/09/xin-heartmind.htm

In The Healing Promise Of Qi, Roger Jahnke writes:

The middle Elixir Field, sometimes called the heart Dan Tian, is the residence of the mind and spirit according to Chinese medicine and philosophy. In Chinese, there is no discrete concept for mind, nor is there a discrete concept for heart. One single concept, Xin (pronounced “shin”), embraces both. Confused Western translators have struggled with this, often translating Xin only as “heart” or only as “mind.” There is no heart and there is no mind, there is only Xin – HeartMind.

I notice a lot of therapists, teachers, guru’s being very convinced that thinking most of the time is a bad thing. You should meditate and stop the internal dialog. I have noticed this made me doubt about my own thinking and making it a subject with a negative emotional charge. Thinking makes me unhappy, makes me live in my head, makes me stop living in the now and experiencing my surroundings.

This was all very true as I have in fact been living in my head for a big part of my life. It has been a prison. So first I tried stopping the negative thoughts and only thinking positive thoughts. Later I read in Carlos Castaneda’s books about “stopping the internal dialog”. I tried lots of times, but never arrived at a point where I would stop my thinking for long periods of time. On some moments I thought I had big breakthroughs but a lot of time it was just hard work for nothing and it had nasty side effects. I couldn’t concentrate and I often got confused as I tried so hard to stop the internal dialog because I “compressed” or pushed my thought away. This gave me a smaller amount of thinking in my head , but it didn’t help me relax and get an open mind.

When I read the above text about Xin I realized something. Thinking in itself isn’t bad. It’s bad when you loose the connection with your heart. Thinking needs to be balanced, this happens when you connect your thinking to your heart.

How does this work? What are possible guiding principles?

  • Trying to have the sensation of an open heart while you think might alter your thinking in a positive way. “Follow your heart” means that if you concentrate on your heart physically,  your thinking might change. It is not your physical heart you feel though, but a feeling we connected to the word “heart”. When you think about love, it makes a shift in your feeling. This might sound very logical but it is essential.
  • If you try, without love, to stop your thinking it probably won’t work and make you get even more tensed. It needs this sensation of love. You need this attitude of love towards yourself.
  • I think it is good to think of love as an abundant source. It doesn’t deplete, it doesn’t get empty. Of course you sometimes feel love and sometimes feel hate. But if I manage to believe there is no limit to the amount of love I can give this can make me much more courageous.
  • In this courage there is one essential point: our thinking doesn’t always have an answer. And if we mentally don’t get to the answer we interpret the situation as “hopeless”, we don’t believe there even could be an answer and we start loosing hope. But most of the time that ain’t true. Most of life’s situations have a solution or can be relatived. Our thinking is limited and our heart can steer our intuition and synapse connections in a good way.
  • I know I don’t know, I keep an open mind. I observe what I think and which emotional layer is accompanying my thoughts. I don’t identify with my thoughts, but I keep my heart open and I look at what’s passing.
  • Care for your mind. It only tries to help, to give answers.
  • And be light, humerous, as this frees your obsessiveness and mental cramps.

In fact, I realized it is not without danger to make the moral statement that you should stop your thinking in our practical world. It’s good to get it into a more natural dynamic, to soften it, to make a lot of space, to breathe in your thinking. And it can have amazing effects when you do arrive at stopping your thinking. But at the same time it is the source of all of our accomplishments so far. We need it to get organized and creative. The most important thing is the quality of our thought.

Just trying all the time to “think positive”  or “stop it” won’t necessarily make it happen. If it works and you get relaxed the effect will probably be beneficial, but you can loose a lot of time trying in a way that doesn’t work for you.

What I most need is acceptance of what happens in my mind. I don’t necessarily accept a situation as it is, I accept the way I’m thinking about it.

I think  a lot of teachers don’t realize meditation and thinking works different for everyone. I think thinking misses clear thought.

Thanks to Marianne Williamson and her book ” a Return to Love” to inspire me for this post.

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