Reading From the Heart
“You are here,” he began, “because I have something to give you. You have learned well to read your world from the mind, but it is now time to read from the heart.”
“Why the heart?” I asked. “The heart is soft, sentimental and vulnerable. Why would I choose to read my world from the heart?”
“The heart, while it is true that it is yeilding, is strong because of its flexibility; and while it may be vulnerable, its vulnerability is what preserves its humility and compassion.”
“How does one read from the heart?”
“The heart is like a lens of the soul that the soul uses to look into the world of appearances and correctly observe the intentionality of those around it. The soul reads the world through this lens in order to define the appropriate expression to bring into the world of appearences. If the heart is clear and adept at reading the world around it, the soul will be able to bring the precise rememdy to uplift and expand any situation.”
“How exactly does this work—reading from the heart?”
“It is a relationship to alignment,” Dou Xing said, taking a sip of tea.
“Alignment to what?” I asked.
“To the culture of First Source.”
“How do I gain alignment to something I can't even fathom?” My voice quivered slightly.
“The culture of First Source is not so distant or unknowable. It is found in the heart. The culture of our Creator is one of connection—interconnection to individuals, nature and groups in the form of understanding, always trying to identify with the next and deeper layer of connection. It is this culture of understanding that builds compassion and love. The heart is the lens that helps the soul to understand, and the mind and body are the tools that are used to convey this understanding into the world of appearances. Thus, the mind-body does not read the world but rather it is a tool of the soul to express its wisdom.”
“You said that this works if the heart is clear and adept at reading the world, how does one ensure that the heart is clear?”
“How do you ensure a window is clear?”
I looked at him to make sure he wasn't being sarcastic, but he looked at me with penetrating eyes that confirmed his sincerity.
“I look though it and see. If I see dirt or dust, I clean it.”
Dou Xing nodded.
“So I... clean my heart?”
“If you want a clear heart, yes.”
“It doesn't matter how, what matters is that you intend to do it, and you do what your intentions lead you to do.”
“So one technique is as good as the next? Is that really true?”
“It is never about the technique,” Dou Xing said, his eyes were perfectly still and focused on mine. “It is the intention behind the technique.”
“So if intention is the key, what's the best way to produce the greatest intention?”
“You are always searching for the best way, the strongest solution, the quickest path, the most efficient use of resources. None of these matters to the soul or the lens of the heart. It is the intention. Why do you want to see, with more clarity, the intentionality of the world around you? If you can see this more clearly, what do you intend to do with this added clarity? The answers to these two questions are the only technique, if you can call a question a technique.”
I listened to the subtle distinctions he was making and felt my way to another question. “When you think of these questions, what are your answers?”
The moment I spoke those words, I had this feeling that Dou Xing would not answer such a personal question, and indeed, had it been in my powers, I would have withdrawn the question altogether, but the words were out. Dou Xing looked up at the sky as if he were considering my question or, perhaps, offering me hope. He then took a long sip of tea, his teacup cupped between his hands. “You see, the answer for me will influence the answer for you. If I share my answers, you might make them your own because I am Dou Xing. This is a personal discovery, and it is ongoing, it is never static. The answers change over time. They become more resolved and nuanced and situational. This is the maturing process. To start anywhere that is not your own absolves the journey, and it is the journey, after all, that defines you.”
“There is no one answer. There is no correct answer or wrong answer. There is only an answer or a question. For those who do not ask these two questions regularly, they are missing the essence of spiritual living in the world of appearances. They are taking for granted what others have fought for, staked their lives upon, been tortured to deny, and killed to cover up. All of the secrets, all of the greatest conjurers, every technique or mantra ever devised, pales in comparison to these simple answers that continue to define the individual, even when the individual believes they are whole and perfected.”
“Why? Why does this hold so much power to shape one's life?”
“Because to keep one's heart clear depends on clarity of intention, and the conviction one feels towards that intention. If you want to see the world as an interconnected flow of energy—a dance of light that creates shadows—you also want to understand that the shadows lure you into caring and compassion, releasing what the soul has brought to the dance of light. The shadows do not dampen your intention, they illuminate it. They strengthen it.
“Some people believe that the shadows are sinful, evil, composed to constrain and manipulate people, and yet I would tell you that, without the shadows, the heart is purposeless. And without purpose, the spiritual living is simply impossible within the world of appearances.
“There are people who want to build an ideal world of fariness and mutual respect. They want everyone to be just, kind, loving and generous. They want the order and balance of the perfected world to be in the world of appearances, and this will never happen, nor it is desirable.”
“Why not?” I asked. “If the alternative is war and hate and injustice, why isn't it desirable?”
“Because the world of appearances is not real. It is the sandbox of souls. Souls can enter and build things that live for a minute and then dissolve in someone else's footprint. The sandbox, as big as it seems, is contained in a single atom of an infinite world, and this world cannot fit intside the sandbox, and yet some believe the sandbox should be just like this infinite world.
“The world of appearances was created to encompass both light and shadows. It was to allow souls a chance to activate deeper levels of empathy and understanding and to fully appreciate the inter-connection of one life to another in an endless chain.”
“But if the world of appearances isn't real,” I asked, “then why bother to change it, to improve it, to make it more just and fair for all? Isn't that purposeless, too?”
“This is the paradox of living in the world of appearances,” Dou Xing whispered. “On the one hand you have a sandbox of souls that is temporal and always changing. This sandbox evolves. Its dynamism is entrained by its source—its ultimate creator—and it is slowly brought to its source over the measures of space and time.
“As the shadows lessen, then so does the light. The ways of reading with the heart is to understand this duality as an ally and not a diminishment of your spirituality.
“It all begins in your heart for that is how the soul sees, and as the soul sees, it is expressed through the mind-body. If the mind-body is inspired to express love, it is because the heart made it possible. Expressing love into the world of appearances is the purpose of spiritual living. What comes of this love is left to the mystery of First Source's larger design. It is not delivered to the world in order to make the world perfect, without shadows, or to vanquish duality.” Under normal circumstances I would hear these words, nod my head and feel my eyes glaze over in sullen confusion. However, I understood what Dou Xing told me. It was as if my world became clear for perhaps the first time since waking up from my heart transplant. But still, there was something programmed in me that wanted to have a technique or some method to practice that would lead me to the correct outcome.
“You used the term spiritual living,” I said, “what does it mean?”
“It means to love,” Dou Xing replied. “It is that simple. What isn't so simple is the dynamic process of how one produces love.”
“What do you mean, produces love? How do I produce love?”
“As I just said, your heart must be clear to allow your spirit to see the intentionality of the world around you in whatever form it presents itself. The world of appearances arises in multiplicity from singularity. It appears to your senses. It could be an animal, a tree, an insect, a weather system, a human, or an entity from another world. It could be all of the above simultaneously. In whatever way the world presents itself to you in the moment, you can allow your spirit to decode the intention behind the world at your doorstep.”
“Okay,” I nodded, “but how do I decode it, and why is it important in the production of love?”
Dou Xing sighed ever so slightly. “If you grab for the ideas, they can slip away. If you allow them to come to you, they can slip in and bring clarity. Try to be patient with your desire for more understanding. It is a delicate balance—to want to go deeper, higher, broader in your understanding, but at the same time allowing this understanding to enter you at its own pace.
“Love is the culmination. It is woven from many qualities like gratitude, courage, compassion, humility and so on, but the different faces of love remain rooted in love's native state, which is unconditioned and timeless, and this quality is the understanding of how and why all is connected.
“If you look just below the surface of the world of appearances, you can see glimmers of this connection, but to penetrate the surface—to crack the egg that surrounds you—you must first jettison the world view you have been taught by your parents, your society, your media, your teachers, your books. You must become empty of the bias and judgement that swirl in these circles of education, religion and social programming. You must become independent... independent in your interpretations of the world of appearances.
“Once you achieve this independence, you can begin reading from your heart. You are then sensing your world through your heart's innate sense of connection to the culture of First Source. You will see the virtues of the heart finding expression in your life, and you will observe how these virtues expand your world.”