The Knowing Heart

Why is love so important? What is it about love that sets us apart and sets the angels apart?

Continued from page 3

The truest light, on the other hand, is warm light, and that light comes from the sun. Our hearts are like mini suns inside us, and a heart emitting light or heat—like the burning heart of Jesus that we see in Catholic devotional illustrations—is a heart on fire with knowledge that is not reflected, not secondhand, but which comes straight from the source.

Angels, not surprisingly, are said to think exclusively with heart knowledge. Their link to God is so direct (in comparison to our own much more spotty connectivity) that they are never in a position to be distanced enough from him to practice speculative brain thinking even for a moment.

All of this seems to be selling the brain a bit short, but the fact is the best kind of thinking is the kind that combines heart and brain, sun and moon. In that kind of thinking, all the gifts of logic are joined with all the powers of direct godly inspiration to produce a state of mind that in certain mystical traditions was illustrated by a heart with wings.

Another symbol of head-and-heart thinking is an eye within a triangle—an image we see on every dollar bill. When we practice head-and-heart thinking, we can access the truths of our deepest self—that place at our very center where we connect with God—and bring those truths out into ordinary, earthly daylight where they can be of the most use in helping us negotiate our lives.

We feel this heart knowledge working whenever we get one of those strange but undeniably real moments when we simply know something without understanding exactly why we know it. When we just...know.

Somewhere along the way, this conception of the heart as the fiery center of all our truest and best thinking got lost. True thought became rational thought—brain thinking—and heart thought became associated with mere emotion—the kind of thing we associate with those frilly red hearts on valentine cards.

There’s nothing wrong with a nice gooey valentine card, of course. But it’s good to remember that behind all the frills—as behind all the hearts and love references that so fill our world—is something very un-gooey and un-silly indeed.

Love, as John Lennon suggested, really is “the answer,” and in our hearts—our knowing hearts—we know just how deep, how serious and how completely satisfying that answer really is.

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