July 22, 2018
What would the world look like if it were shepherded by heart AND mind?
I read a commencement speech by Pancho Ramos Stierle to the San Francisco Waldorf High School Class of 2018. He coined the term heartmindfulness. He seems to understand, with a piercing awareness, the frailty and fragility of our ability to be compassionate when our own interests are challenged.
He remembers his mother telling him that getting all A’s didn’t impress her unless he was also being kind to his sister and respecting others’ needs. That idea took hold and became a guiding principle for his life. He is living a life that expresses the power and simplicity and complexity of Gandhi.
Pancho isn’t well known to the world, but he is a Godsend to the people in his community. If you want to know more about him and how he is expressing heartmindfulness, here’s the commencement speech. The article will also take you to other links about him if you’re interested.
The best example of a division between the heart and the mind might be the fractured world we inhabit today. Maybe it’s always been this way. When logic rules without the compassion of the heart we have a world driven by facts, figures and personal acquisition that is accompanied by a chilling lack of real integrity and authentic compassion. Conversely, when the heart rules alone without the wisdom of intellectual mind, we have a wishy washy idealization of how things could or should be.
The extremes we’re experiencing today seem overwhelming in their intensity.
Maybe the world will always be fractured, because humans find it difficult to balance the heart and the mind. In his speech Pancho said this:
“Heartmindfulness takes the form of the responsibility to disobey with great Great Love and break the law of men that only benefit the greed and ignorance of a few people who are exacerbathing the destruction of all. Heartmindfulness becomes a healing practice to decolonize our heartminds through radical love.”
Reading that inspired me to re-remember what I know about the human condition.
I know on a personal, experiential level that when heart and mind come together, when we have heartmindfulness, we see and respond to the world differently. We see and respond with a depth of intelligence and wisdom that acknowledges complexitiy and the need for expansive understanding, and inventive and creative problem-solving.
Mahatma Gandhi called the most dangerous issue after the independence of India, “Heartless Intellectuals”. I would add that when we are not grounded in reality, when there is heart without mindful intellectual understanding, we are in just as much danger.
I don’t want to be a heartless intellectual. Nor do I want to be a mindless or irresponsible do-gooder preaching love but acting out of anger and self-righteous resistance.
When we act from heartmindfulness we are illuminated. We see with a clarity that is impossible without this bonding of heart and intellect.
We see that we all have the same needs for food, shelter, safety and connection.
We see the world through eyes of compassion and wisdom.
We see the grandness of LIFE with tenderness. We appreciate the miracle of our short time inhabiting a universe that we may never fully grasp, but that we can experience with the awe and reverence inherently generated when we stop long enough to notice.
When we look with heartmindfulness the thought of harming the planet becomes an impossibility.
In a state of heartmindfulness we see behind the surface behaviors that cover up insecurities, fears and wounds that have gone untreated. When we can do that it is difficult to hold anyone in contempt. It becomes possible to see what is wrong, and to stop colluding with our smallest selves and begin acting out of understanding and wisdom to ask, how can I help?
When we see with heartmindfulness we can change our little corner of the world. We can stop putting so much attention on making others feel smaller and look to find those of us who need help to feel bigger.
Can you imagine a world where we put all our attention on building up rather than resisting and bullying and tearing down?
We recently saw the world come together to save 12 boys and their coach under impossible conditions. When the oldest boy greeted the first rescue diver, after existing for over two weeks without food, the first words out of his mouth to the diver were, “Can I help you?”.
I want to inhabit his world. And I so appreciate you continuing to subscribe, and your willingness to explore the world of possibilities with me.