Dr. Rajesh Mohan Rai
Mindfulness and heartfulness
Article originally published in Free Press Journal.
What differentiates us from the rest of the animals, is our ability to control ourselves and commit ourselves to a form. We have made our lives much more comfortable than those of our ancestors. With the streamlining of relative comfort, things started to settle down. When the acute hand to mouth fight for survival was over, we started to look at bigger perspectives of existence, for self and for others. It was only then that we were able to ponder upon the ideas of Mindfulness and Heartfulness.
Mindfulness and Heartfulness are like two wings of a bird. One without the other just doesn’t support flight. To train the mind without the heart is like trying to learn to fly with one wing. These are for fostering general mental well-being and development of 3Cs i.e. Calmness, Clarity and Concentration making contributions to effective emotion regulation.
We often aren’t in touch with our awareness moment to moment. Humans are not aware of their involuntary breathing or heartbeats or even inner monologue. It is like living along a highway and becoming so acclimatized to the noise, you no longer hear it. It takes effort to tune in again. Likewise, it takes effort to tune into our values for responses to life that are not fearful but heartful.
The best way to support this effort is to live in a heartful way is a daily mindfulness practice that is alive. It will be distinctive to you. It will be personal, comforting, challenging and rewarding at the same time. These efforts require consistent guidance and persistence.
The practice of mindfulness and heartfulness helps us to live life with grace, confidence, and love even as we carry our baggage of fears, judgments, habitual and emotional patterns. It is not about the absence of these things, however, to hold them in your heart to have the freedom to choose love even when feeling any fear.
There is a big overlap between mindfulness and heartfulness. They are not mutually exclusive. It is hard to talk about mindfulness without heartfulness. Unfortunately, the over-emphasis on mindfulness sometimes misses the enormously supportive energy of heartfulness needed to persevere in the meditative practices.
You live the practice and after practising being awake and fearless in daily life, that effort becomes increasingly effortless. In addition to becoming a state that you work hard to nurture, it gradually becomes more and more a part of you, the desired YOU.