Heart and Head, a Creative Dialogue

The heart represents the fundamental, all-encompassing and substantial oneness of creation in man. The heart is life and consciousness. Embracing and sustaining everything, it is love.

Heart and Head, a Creative Dialogue

It is the self-offering of the Divine into the material realm, into the world. We say “the heart of all things.” God dwells in the heart – as a mystery that desires to be unveiled. Can anything go beyond that?

The head goes beyond that. It reaches into the formless. It is the connection with that which is not (yet), which lies outside of that which we would already know or be. It is the faculty that drives creation forward. An enlightened head is the bridge to the divine (non-)being, to the absolutely unborn. It is able to rise from what is and seek the connection to the transcendent behind. When it grasps the original will behind everything and opens itself to it, it is the motor of creation.

Head – heart – hands or thinking, feeling and doing are representations of the divine spirit, the original soul and the original matter in man. Basically, the divine development takes place through us humans, and thereby, the divine self-knowledge.

Heart, head and hands can thus reveal to us what lies enclosed in our being and in creation itself. The original God-human consciousness unites three principles: an experiencing of one’s own being (albeit in a more subtle materiality than we are now), a recognizing and experiencing in the whole, as well as a drawing from and reaching into nothingness (or the not-yet). In their totality, these three principles are God revealing Himself. And creation is a collective becoming, sharing, learning, joy, celebration.

Our Reality

Here and now, we experience something different. Nevertheless: What is operating in the heart and the head always shows itself as action and reality of life. The way a person thinks determines the way he sees the world; it opens some paths and closes others. What a person feels determines what he wants to do and can do. What was immaterial and hidden shows itself thus in life and action. Even if our search for self-realization should appear unconscious and aimless, even the unconscious heart and the unenlightened head cannot deny certain qualities inscribed in the human being. Through trial and error we are becoming more conscious.

In our present state, the heart is often besieged by fears and desires. It experiences how the search for real unity fails, it experiences anxieties about the evanescent joys of connectedness. The head often takes refuge in detachment, in mental speculations, in non-interest, in an ostensible “pure thinking”, in a desire to know for its own sake.

Nevertheless, the heart that seeks unity out of an ego-centeredness is on its way of discovering its essence even if it draws smaller or wider circles around itself which are mere spheres of influence. Therefore, if it fails to attain unity because it monopolizes people and things, it experiences an awakening of consciousness. If it fails because it often can’t help but exclude people and things from “its unity”, the pain of the others becomes, at some point, a corrective of its own state of being; this too brings awareness. The “proper” sphere of the heart is somehow always being drawn too wide and too narrow. We despair in wanting to have and keep things, and we are flooded with connections we cannot accept. Where lies the fault?

The mind which always wants to go one step further, beyond that which is; it often loses itself. It exchanges the reality of its being for something that is not yet, that cannot be realized effortlessly, and maybe never. It experiences that the sensed access to the inner principle of creation “from top to bottom” does not relieve it from the troubles of the normal human work in the material for the time being. Where upcoming changes in one’s own being can be realized organically from the mental via the astral and etheric into matter (thus “from top to bottom”), the self-generated thought-buildings must be brought into the material by concrete planning, organization and much work.

Sometimes, however, the purely mental already serves its purpose, and so the mere design of a parallel reality is sufficient for a small number of people: In the metaverse or Web 3.0, anyone can build up a complete existence with a certain financial investment and navigate in it, at least mentally – if one didn’t succeed in creating a tailor-made reality in the Universe 1.0. How could it be otherwise if one can also flee into the purely mental. But in the long run the merely mental will not be enough. The desire for realization is so inherent in us humans that the whole being wants to participate in it. However, in all the searching, through all these mental creations, thinking tests its true essence.

Heart and head usually remain trapped in their own illusions for a long time. Above all, there is no unity between them, for they often take different paths in their search for themselves. If man wants to achieve harmony, a real balance must be established between them.

Two pathways, two effects

In the human microcosm, the motions of heart and head are an expression of that which the eternal self is radiating in. At least this is true for the liberated human being. On our present path through the incarnations we have another dominating tact giver: the karma. But this path also leads onward, to a state of maturity, to an end, to a transition into another state of being, where harmony lies.

In this context, karma is two-faced. Its momentum works as an urge to perfect the earthly being, to accumulate abilities and experiences that never lead to real plenitude of power and being, however, because of the eternal self working behind it and the limitedness of the temporary domain.  Rather, this urge to perfect the earthly being can lead to a successive awareness of the potentially unlimited “other” in us.

Impulses from our eternal self are operating within us, which can only show themselves in contradictions and conflicting goals in a singular being seeking both its individuality and unity. We are still walking the path towards the completion of the kind of individualism that our hemisphere has been cultivating for centuries, and at the same time we are trying to realize connectedness and unity. Most people create different niches in their lives for these divergent impulses. However, since the divine microcosm is behind everything, the compartments in our being cannot be permanently closed off from each other. We have to realize at some point that we cannot shape unity according to our own liking.

Neither will we be able to make our ego shine in our private bubble because alone we humans are nothing. As microcosms, we have been walking these paths for several incarnations already. As the karmic path nears its end, it becomes clearer and clearer that all the divergence in our being that longs for fulfillment must and can ultimately come to birth in an encompassing new being. Then the I can lay down the crown of creation and come to rest – and become the witness of that which wants to come into being.

If the I begins to recognize something of that which ultimately blows up its old individuality and can nevertheless lovingly turn to it, then heart and head begin to realize something of their true nature. They turn to each other. The thinking of the heart becomes possible, and on the other side the head can turn to the heart, even subordinate itself to it because there the eternal self first begins to come through. A fundamental transformation can then begin. Sri Aurobindo says this about it:

That cannot be done by the influence of the Self leaving the consciousness fundamentally as it is with only purification, enlightenment of the mind and heart and quiescence of the vital. It means a bringing down of a Divine Consciousness static and dynamic into all these parts and the entire replacement of the present consciousness by that.[1]

This means that our true self, which is a universal self, projects itself into our temporal manifestation and transforms us completely. Since it has the same agencies as our temporal, changeable being, the heart, head and organs of action awaken to a new state of being. The higher head, the higher heart as well as the higher organ of action transform us: Atman – Buddhi – Manas.

On this path, there are two streams of new becoming in us for a long time. In the beginning, the renewal can only start in the heart where the divine wants to show itself in matter and where we find a pure power that we can recognize and learn to love as a new beginning. Then the head puts aside its unattachment and turns to the heart. A rudimentary heart-main unity emerges on which further path can be built.

When the head is purified and receptive towards its divine essence, it is able to receive inspirations not only from the heart but also from the eternal self – and this connection begins through the immersion of manas as the first stage.

A new Being

The eternal, universal self is the focal point between the divine nothingness and the totality of creation. It is part and whole at the same time. In the temporal self it brings forth our individuality, however, always in alignment with the becoming of wholeness.

On this path, the heart becomes a haven of unity. Before, we long edfor it, and we felt the connectedness with everything, often as a bliss, but also as a responsibility. The heart of the temporal man immerses itself in a real, essential unity to the extent that the true self awakens and can express itself in it.

What we perceive as the center of being opens itself in this process to the source of all things. Only in so doing can it open itself to the centers of the others and embrace them. Thus Buddhi, the All-Soul, possesses unity, and the heart (or astral body) of man proves it. Just as Atman is the divine transcendent in the microcosm, Buddhi means the immanence of the divine in everything and in one’s own being.

The Upanishads define the essential unity of Brahman (the divine source) with the Atman or true self of man. Atman is related to the breath and is also often translated as soul. Here it will be referred to as the Self. Paramatman is then the universal self, Jivatman the individual self (jivan = life) or reflection of the universal in the temporal manifestation. Buddhi in this context is the awakened all-soul (budh = awakening), which unites in itself intelligence and will and is, in fact, the heart of all things. Manas finally gives birth to the ideas that manifest in the individual creation of a person who awakens to his true self.

Basically, the eternal self is formless[2], whereas the modifiable temporal expresses its divine potential in increasing glory – in manifestations that far exceed the familiar earthly becoming and passing away. Thus, in a kind of higher not-knowing, the head rises to its inner divine self to receive inspirations from there. The heart embraces the ideas, spreads them out and nourishes everything without focusing on itself.

This path begins when the heart and head open “upward” and surrender their ego-centeredness. In this sense, Sri Aurobindo wished a friend for his birthday: “May the inner Sun tranquilise and illumine the mind and fully awaken and guide the heart..“[3]

[1]                 In: ”Sri Aurobindo on Himself“, Letters on Himself and the Ashram (archive.org), looked up on 05.21.2023, p. 174
[2]     Catharose des Petri writes in Transfiguration: „It is impossible to conceive of such an existence in any way, […] because the absolute New Man is a super-form entity. He is, as unlimited, in the unlimited.“ Please look up the English text… „Es ist nicht möglich, sich von solch einer Existenz eine auch nur irgendwie geartete Vorstellung zu machen, […] denn der absolute Neue Mensch ist eine Über-Form-Entität. Er ist, als Unbegrenzter, im Unbegrenzten.“ Haarlem 1995, S. 51
[3]              Birthday greeting to Sadhak, 09.09.1937, in „Sri Aurobindo on Himself“, p. 839


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Share this article

Article info

Date: July 14, 2023
Author: Angela Paap (Germany)
Photo: tree-Bild von Joe auf Pixabay CCO

Featured image: