Someone sent me an email with a question today, thought it might be good to share the answer and see what others think:
Q: What is opinion what are the things of the mind vs the things of the heart….what is agreement, disagreement or truth if there is such a thing…
Had a think about this question today. My short answer is of course: “I don’t know”. I’ve asked my head to think about this, but that’s much like asking a worker if they think their job is redundant. Still here’s some thoughts anyway:
This seems to be one place where Buddhism and Hinduism seems to disagree. When I was in India I did a course on meditation – Hindu style – that seemed to be saying that we are the heart and that the mind is an illusion taking credit for decisions it had no part in and there seems to be some truth in this. I know there are time the I have reacted with out concious thought and then my thoughts have retrospectivly taken credit for it, when in truth I had just acted. Moreover there is something to that whole “bright light” being the true-self. That reaching out from that heart that seems to be channelled from somewhere deeper.
On the Buddhist side, however, it seems they are saying that we are all of them and none of them at the same time. Everything is so interconnected that it to separate one from the other would be impossible: heart influences mind and mind influences heart, to describe them as separate would be like trying to talk about the sea without context of land and air.
While I think they are talking about the same thing in the end, my tendency is towards the later teaching. On one hand is seems more logical – which as a scientist type person I quite like, but it also seems to fit with my own experience: they seem interdependent. Furthermore I would say that they don’t exist in isolation either. My mind is influenced greatly by the physical: what I eat, my sleep, exercise all have a massive effect on my mind and emotions for sure.
On a side note, It does seem odd that a lot of people who are into things like Yoga, eastern medicine and all the rest often deny the physical as part of the self? Why is this?
Getting back to the point I would say that we have a Trinity of Body, Mind and Heart that, with a few more bits here and there possibly (the other Skhandas), makes what we consider ourselves, but stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, even that is just a small part of an even larger interconnected system that includes everything. Hence the lack of self.
However, going back to my original answer, I would again say “I don’t know”, I’m not even sure it’s important to know. As I mentioned I’m the sciency type and I want to know the answers. But I’ve started to come round to the idea that with these kind of questions, answers from other peoples direct words wont help – you have to just sit and experience what is true and not worry so much about putting it into words. I think there is truth out there but we all look at through our own lenses, so what we see is not always the same thing, but truth remains unchanged.