In The Pulse of Spirit last week, titled “Convergence,” I spoke about two topics from Ken Wilber’s talk at the Global Purpose Movement Synergy Forum: Waking Up and Growing Up. At the end of Ken’s talk, someone asked about the role of emotional intelligence in humanity’s evolution. In Ken’s response, he acknowledged that we not only have to wake up and grow, we have to clean up emotionally.
Anyone who has seriously followed a spiritual path runs into that necessity—for themselves and for others. As the light comes on in your awareness, you see the shadow states that are present in your own emotional body and in others. Those shadow states are present at the individual level and they can also be present in the culture shared by a group of people, however large or small.
The use of the phrase clean up is interesting to me. In a Christian context we might talk about “purity of heart” or “the purification of the heart.” Uranda, the founder of Emissaries of Divine Light, spoke about the spirit at work through the thymus glad as the spirit of purification. The thymus gland is closely connected to what is happening in the emotional body.
I’ve always wondered about that particular way of naming what’s at work at the level of the heart in our human experience—purification. You could just call it purity. But in using the word purification, there is attention drawn to the active process of cleaning up the shadow states that operate through the heart. That is relevant to anyone.
However, it’s easy to think only about the negative aspects of emotion that might be present, as if what’s happening in the emotional body is only bad. As if there are bad things that are happening in the heart that need to be clarified and purified, and cleansed out of the way, so that we can get on with a life devoid of emotion. As if the emotional body has no positive part to play in the human experience.
In postmodern Western culture, we’ve fallen into a belief that the answers to the problems of our world are essentially intellectual. We often act as if those answers will be arrived at by thinking about them, or by figuring them out and engineering them. And while the conscious mind has a tremendous part to play in our human lives, what we sometimes fail to acknowledge is the dreadful truth that we are living our entire life through an emotional lens. Everything that we are perceiving, everything that we are doing, anything that we’re creating, any action we are taking, is all happening through the intermediary of the emotional body. Every relationship you have with any person is being seen through your emotional body. Any thought you think is happening with energy that’s coming through the emotional body and through all the patterns that are there, through all the karma that lodges in the emotional body and all the karma that the emotional body is connected to.
We are living our whole life through an emotional lens! And not only are all the things that seem to be external to us being connected to through our emotional body, but our very relationship with the source of life within us is being lived through this intermediary substance of the emotional body. While the recognition of this may fill a person with dread, this is truly how we are made. And it is perfect that it is so.
The great spiritual teacher, Jesus, said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) He didn’t just say, “You’ll see God in other people”; he didn’t say, “You’ll see God in the birds and the trees or in the oceans”; he didn’t say, “You’ll see God up there.” He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Everywhere—everywhere, without limitation, in all things. Even in yourself.
God is the Creator that is within us and within all Creation. It is the reality that is the core of who we are. We connect to that reality through the heart or we do not connect.
The apostle Paul said, “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) The glass through which people are seeing darkly is the emotional body.
The emotional body is the realm of feeling. But those feelings are connected to the whole pattern of karma that we are carrying—all the habitual ways of being that are encoded into our human experience. They’re encoded individually, and they’re encoded in our culture. Karma is lodged in our emotional body.
How does all that change? It changes because of what happens in the emotional body. It gets lit up spiritually, and then we go about the business of, very consciously, allowing a purification of the heart.
Spiritual awakening, of itself, doesn’t guarantee that we are cleaning up. You can awaken spiritually, and then be blissfully unaware of your shadow states, and blissfully unaware of your unevolved consciousness and culture. So think of a terrorist, whether he be of Islamic faith or any other. No lack of spiritual passion there! But what happens when you have great spiritual passion, getting lit up from within, through an immature state of consciousness and shadow states in the emotional body? Problems!
In public lectures in the 1980s, George Emery used to do a demonstration. He would fill a glass container with Coca-Cola above a larger container. He would take a pitcher of water and pour it into the Coca-Cola, and keep pouring it until eventually it ran clear. The container that had all Coca-Cola grew clearer and clearer.
George used this as a demonstration for how the process of purification works. When we connect spiritually and allow the spiritual to express through the emotional body, our emotions purify. The more the pure spirit from within us expresses, the more that purity cleans out whatever pattern is there.
Here is the key to the whole process: You have to have a heart connection. Spiritual expression isn’t just about thinking visionary thoughts, or thinking spiritual thoughts. Or no thoughts at all. We have to have heart-connected spirituality to have real spirituality. And I don’t care how many hours, days, weeks, months, or years you are meditating; if you don’t live a heart-connected spirituality, there’s nothing happening! No purification of heart, and consequently you are seeing through a darkened medium of perception.
Try stilling your mind while you are in an unclear emotional state. Try stilling your mind without activating spiritual expression through the heart. Without heart-connected spirituality, a tranquil mind is a fleeting dream.
On May 16th, I led Healing Chant in Kamloops, British Columbia. It was in St. Andrews on the Square, a beautiful old church from 1887. Over refreshments afterwards, a woman commented to me how she had been practicing meditation for years, and that it was always a lot of work to still her mind. But in the Healing Chant session her mind immediately stilled, without any particular effort.
Most people are lucky if they can achieve some kind of meditative state for two minutes! The issue is not only the busy mind. Often, the emotional body has not been addressed. There is no clear water pouring through the Coca-Cola. When I heard this woman’s comments, I knew just what she was talking about. Allowing a deep current of love to flow through your voice and through your hands, the mind settles into that current. Deep thoughts rooted in love. Mmmm.
Do we really think that a spiritual state is solely a state of mind? It is about spiritual expression. And there is no spiritual expression without heart connection.
Any true spirituality is heart-connected spirituality. Sometimes the phrase heart-centered is used. I don’t think that quite gets us there, because if you’re just centered in the feelings of the heart, where does that go? The feelings of the heart are almost always a mix. They contain shadow states as well as messages of life. Do you want to be centered in your shadow states? I don’t.
The spiritual connection has to be made through the open heart, so that something is happening in and through the emotional body. Only then are the words and the music of our life carrying spiritual current.
Personally, I’m here to make a difference in this world. Perhaps you share that desire. Do we make a difference simply by spreading good ideas? I think we need some good ideas—some enlightened ideas, for sure. I commend Barbara Marx Hubbard, who seems to give birth to an illuminated idea a minute. It was wonderful at the Global Purpose Movement Synergy Forum to hear her articulate them. What I noticed is that she brings those ideas with passion and openness of heart, and with an acknowledgment of the necessity of heart connection. Partly because of that, the ideas she expressed carried the energy of Creation.
What’s happening for humanity today is not just happening through the mind; it’s happening through the heart. The mind will get lit up when the heart gets connected. When the expression of spirit is coming so powerfully through the heart that the heart becomes clear, then everything that happens in a human life gets lit up through the power that emanates from that clear heart.
When Universal Love, which is the power of the Creator, is pouring through the heart, then that love affects every relationship that we have. It affects everything that we do; it affects every thought that we think. It inspires thinking that we haven’t had before. We find ourselves thinking wondrous, enlightened thoughts about other people and about what is possible in the world in which we live. We begin to live in the world of the possible, not just the world of the impossible.
Humanity is very busy living its nightmare. It’s the nightmare of nuclear holocaust, decimation of species, global warming, poverty and starvation, and desertification of Planet Earth. Humanity is living into the impossible, and the more it lives into the impossible, the more impossible it looks. The destination of impossible is death—not to put too fine a point on it. Is that not true? The destination of the impossible is death. It’s so personally and it’s so globally.
Where there’s a heart connection with the reality of the Creator, we connect to that great Love that is the power of all Creation. We know we are that great Love. And then we start living into the possible. It could start in small ways: “Oh, I could see this person differently. I could give something here, in this situation, that would make a difference. Oh, I could create this. Oh, I could be of service over here.” And then it goes to “And we could do this together! We could create this.” And then, at a global level: “We could be this, as humanity. We could be it, together—we are it, together.”
Universal Love composes the reality of who we are. As humanity we’ve been living a nightmare, but that nightmare is not us. We are the Creator. We’re not only full of love, love is our reality. It’s what we’re made of. It’s what’s emanating from us. It is our natural state.
Connecting deeply with this reality, we realize, I do love. It’s my first impulse. I actually have to stop myself from loving; I have to work to be resentful and fearful. My natural state is to be loving. And now I’m thinking the creative thoughts that come out of that: I can offer kindness here. I can be understanding. I can be courageous, I can be strong.
We can be that. I can be a cheerleader for you, and I can accept your cheerleading for me. I can love and support you in your life. I can leave behind the dark dreams of the impossible. I can leave behind my dark dreams of you, which are only a reflection of my dark dreams of myself. And we can see each other face-to-face. I can meet you face-to-face. I can meet the Creator face-to-face. I can be the Creator in human form.
Are you up for heart-connected spirituality? When you’re bringing the power of love through the heart and through the body and through your thoughts, you are living a meditation. There’s no real meditation, there is no real mindfulness, without heartfulness. Become a living, walking meditation.
It all becomes easy in the vibration of love, known through the heart. Letting that deepen, the mind comes to rest, comes to peace, and begins to move in the vibration of love and be illuminated. The mind thinks thoughts born out of love, which are illuminated thoughts, thoughts of the possible.
From that enlightened perspective, we can see the remaining shadow states present in the emotional body. We not only see them but we love into them, ignore them when necessary, refuse to be ruled by them, and compassionately understand them. We clean up, not to live out a post-modern intellectual ideal of an evolved human state but to know ourselves as the creator of our world.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they do see God. They are not trying to see God; they see that reality, face-to-face.