“But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart.”
Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince, Chapter XXV
There was such a great episode on Being Erica last night about choices that seem logical but feel wrong. We live in a logic-driven world, and there’s something appealing about it, it feels so safe. But living your life doing the things that seem logically sensible isn‘t always safe.
People who work all their lives at “good” jobs that stifle them, earning safe money, aim for that day they retire and can start doing what they want. But how many have heart attacks, strokes, cancer and all manner of body ills by the time they retire? Because they’ve never lived with joy, never pursued a dream. They’ve always been practical and logical even when it went against their heart.
Suddenly one day it’s over and it’s too late. So how safe was it all really? Denying your heart impacts on your body in a real physical way. We’re not built to be stifled, we’re built for the expression of joy and creativity. When we’re out of that mode, our chemical and electrical systems are thrown out of balance. We get dis-eased.
I was never able to do the safe thing. It wasn’t something I actively thought about, I just was so sure in some part of myself that things would work out if I listened to my heart. I kind of jumped off a cliff into life as a young adult. Things didn’t work out, though, not in a natural way. I’ve made some awful decisions, taken a lot of hard knocks.
Turns out it’s as difficult and complicated to follow your heart as it is to follow the logical safe route and be happy. People often say all you have to do is find your passion and then doors fly open for you. No they don’t, not always. There’s this minor obstacle called self-esteem. If yours is depleted, it doesn’t matter how passionate you are about something, you’re unlikely to find success in it until you’ve healed on the inside. Low self esteem means you don’t trust yourself.
Passion doesn’t make you successful. Strong self-esteem, good entitlement, believing in yourself – those are the ingredients, I think. Passion just keeps you on the road, because it gets difficult. When you follow your heart you’re carving out your own path in life, and that’s a good thing. But there are no insurance policies doing it this way, and nobody can say to you if you follow these rules you’ll be okay because there aren’t any rules. It’s just you and your heart.
You have to have a whole lot of faith in the idea that your heart is actually the voice of life guiding you through the quagmire that is your low self-esteem and incomplete consciousness and all the misbegotten things you’ve learned from bad role models. You have to blindly believe that your heart will lead you to what you need to learn, to overcome obstacles, and that it can guide you in material matters as well as spiritual ones.
We have the capacity to shut off our emotions and hearts and build material empires with our logical ability. We can have huge wealth, and even stand out above the crowd. But we’re not really individuals; our wealth is garnered off the backs of others, and fulfillment surely eludes us.
But if we pay attention to our hearts and emotions, and use our logical capacity without being ruled by it, we can have material wealth and find fulfillment. Wealth comes from people and people respond to personal power, which comes from listening to your heart, healing your self esteem, learning from better role models and risking being an individual. I’d say it’s at least worth the risk of trying.