The Episcopal Church of the Holy Innocents
“Think with the head, act with the heart”…good advice written on an anonymous post-it note stuck to the façade of The Grand Copthorne Hotel in Singapore on 14 June 2010….Project Post-It Note, and why the anonymous note got there, is another essay….
We are such gifted creatures. What we achieve as the best expression of our humanity, and what we are loathe to admit as our sinfulness springs directly from our understanding or misunderstanding, our use or misuse, of those very gifts.
We have intellect- an extraordinary engine and storage place…our way to learn. We have a heart- the place that holds our deepest yearnings, our darkest fears, our brightest hopes. This post-it note suggests a connection between the two.
Connecting the head and the heart is more challenging than it might seem at first, and it is in the faulty connections of head and heart that we find or create so much trouble for ourselves and others.
Our rational mind carries the sum of all that we have seen and heard, some would say even from before birth. Deriving from that vast, ever-expanding record with synapse-speed, we form thoughts, select values, and make choices. There is much about the power of our minds and its exercised free-will that makes us understand what it means to be made in God’s Image…and we like that…we like feeling God-like.
Our hearts, as much as our minds, reflect the divine origins of ourselves, however. By far the more dangerous of the two gifts, our hearts carry the best and the worst of us- our Faith and our Fear, our Wisdom and our Ignorance, our Sacrifice and our Greed…and most important, our Loves. We have far more trouble acting with a divine Love than we have in acting from what we believe to be divine Knowledge.
We forget that the record our brain carries, and the feelings we have about all of that in our hearts, offer choices. We have choices about how we live each moment….and forgetting those choices is where the head-heart connection breaks down. We let the reactions- the feelings- rule us. That usually gets us in trouble because living a highly reactive life is almost always a very bad idea. It is hard work to remain conscious of what you’re thinking, and how you feel about that, and then to choose how to speak and act as a result. Most of us just don’t want to work that hard at being a grown-up…a person seeking to grow up into the full stature of Christ.
The Divine Mind saw/sees the record of who we have been/are, and in spite of that the Divine Heart chooses to Love. The connection between the Divine Mind and the Divine Heart is something we have pretensions to, but not much more. That’s the bad news. The Good News is that we are not asked to act as God, but as Godly people- humble first and foremost…gratitude following close upon our humility…and Love, holding the humility and gratitude in front of our own eyes before anyone else’s. Only then are we in a place where we can do truly what this simple Post-it note stuck on a hotel wall half way ‘round the World suggests.
Pray today that the connection between head and heart will strengthen in you. Pray that you will not only think with your head and act with your heart, but perhaps even embrace the deeper paradox of thinking with your heart and feeling with your mind rather than the other way ‘round.
Love you. See you in Church.