One ‘Spiritual Trap’ People Fall Into That Sabotages Their Growth
By Joe Martin
What does it look like to live from your heart? What is the mind’s role in our experience? In my 10 years of studying and practicing living from the heart, I’ve discovered an emerging trend: Some of us in the spiritual community have made a demon out of the mind and ego. And it’s causing a lot of suffering.
There is no doubt that the mind is the source of suffering — the incessant thoughts and worries, the endless ego stories, the mental tricks we often play — but this doesn’t mean the mind as a whole is the problem, nor does this mean we should avoid the mind.
It seems now that any form of thoughts, ideas, planning, logic, and so forth get put into the category of “not in the flow” or “being in the mind,” and this is simply a misunderstanding. I’ve seen people try to avoid their mind like the plague, to avoid thought, avoid processing, just because “the mind is evil” or other such misconceptions. So, let’s dive into how the mind works so we can better understand its true role.
How Our Mind Works in Our Experience
You are a soul, playing out a physical experience on this planet. Your soul enters a vehicle called the body that allows us to have a physical experience on Earth. The body is made up of a number of essential parts including your brain, which is comprised of many components that ultimately serve to decode this reality into something that isn’t simply an energetic soup. It also allows us to process important aspects of the human experience, using things like logic and calculation so you can understand how to walk, run, jump, communicate, build, create, and so forth. Your consciousness USES the mind as a tool in the human experience.
For example, when you receive information from your higher self, through your heart to your physical experience, the mind processes that information and learns how to use it within this experience. The connection between the heart and brain is quite evident scientifically, and the heart actually sends signals to the brain to communicate. The mind is a key factor in the entire relationship between our mind, body and spirit. One can’t function fully within the human experience without the other.
Where We’ve Become Unbalanced
So now we know that the mind is actually here working in our favor to have the experiences we need. But it’s also important to mention that in some ways, we’ve gone off course a bit.
The mind is layered and also contains a powerful program called the ego. The ego can essentially be broken down into two layers: upper ego and lower ego. The upper ego has the basic understanding that we are separate, in experience, from others and are playing out an individual identity for the purpose of evolution. The lower ego is more about intense and increased separation, strong identity attachment, fear, and incessant stories. The lower ego has served us by showing us what it feels like to be disconnected from our true selves and from others, unable to live harmoniously with the Earth, animals, etc. This has been a tool in many ways, but our challenge is now to overcome the power it has and learn to find our true selves beyond it.
Why is this happening now? Living with it in the driver seat has already taught us what we needed to learn from it, but for quite some time, we’ve been resisting the change that is being presented to us. It’s now time to move forward. This is why we’re seeing such a huge rise in interest in this topic collectively. People are exploring meditation, spirituality, the ego, and so much more as a reflection of a collective evolution.
To create this shift, from our ego being in the driver seat and from overusing the mind to living from our hearts and simply using ego and mind as tools, we must focus on creating more self awareness. We must pay attention to our thoughts for a moment and simply observe them. When we observe them we begin to see that, though they are part of our experience, they are nevertheless separate from us. Over time we learn to quiet those thoughts by not giving them so much attention or weight and by using tools like meditation.
How to Live From the Heart and What It Looks Like
When you begin to identify less with the ego and incessant mind thoughts, you begin to FEEL more. This does not mean having more emotions; this means having a deeper feeling within your heart. Some might call this following your intuition or listening to your gut. It’s about paying attention to the subtleness of each moment, the energy and nature of what exists in presence.
What does this look like? Are you ‘zenned out’ constantly? No! This is where a huge misconception comes in. Living from the heart does not suddenly mean you don’t think, you don’t do work, you don’t live life, or that you meditate all day. It means you begin experiencing this life with your heart driving your experience. It means doing things from a space of heart-driven consciousness rather than what your ego is telling you to do for reasons you can’t quite describe. It’s doing things because they come naturally versus out of fear or worry. It’s about doing things because you feel it’s what you need to do, not because you need to be keeping up with the Jones’ or following trends everyone else is jumping on. There’s no emotion behind it; it’s simply neutral and it flows lightly.
As you live from the heart you still use your mind, your body, your logic, your creativity, etc.; your actions are simply guided by something entirely different and your ego becomes a quiet program that sits off in the background. Your monkey mind doesn’t have the same power it does because you are dialed in to something different.
Do you need to meditate to get into the heart all the time? At first yes, but eventually, no; it becomes completely natural and part of your everyday way of being. It becomes automatic.
The process of moving from a state of being in ego or mind almost all the time to living from the heart starts with getting the ‘stuff’ out of the way. You have to ask the important questions: What does it mean to be a human on this planet? Who am I? Why do I do what I do? What do I feel I really wish to be doing right now? Why am I concerned with my appearance or with what someone said about me?
When we all begin to live from the heart, we no longer need to operate using theories or philosophies of how to be. Instead we live naturally through oneness consciousness, which is what’s already emerging from our hearts. We care for one another, we create systems that work for everyone, we treat each other as equal because we do not judge differences, and we collectively create a world where we can all truly thrive and utilize the gifts we each came here with. Living from the heart is where we are headed, but we must do the work to embrace it and move it along. It won’t happen by simply waiting.
It’s a Process — Let It Unfold
Practice self awareness to avoid being hard on yourself during this process, but also be aware of the limits we often place on ourselves to justify certain behaviors. We often want to say “We’re only human,” meant to imply that we make all ‘mistakes,’ but it’s a slippery slope to constantly justify the avoidance of evolving beyond old patterns that can be challenging to transcend by accepting it’s part of ‘being human,’ when it’s not. This is probably one of the most limiting statements we can actually make about ourselves, as who we truly are is not human, but a soul of infinite potential HAVING a human experience that happens to be going through a massive evolution in consciousness at this time. The statement also allows us to blame the human experience rather than taking responsibility and looking at who we are and why things happen, and truly understanding and shifting our experience.
Allow the various tools of our human experience to be there, understand the role they each serve, and avoid demonizing any one of them. They are there for a reason and, as far as the mind goes, let’s remember how important it truly is in decoding our reality. Demonizing useful thought, logic, planning, and creation will only limit our ability to thrive and let our true self shine through.