I know you by heart . .
I know you in my poetic mind . .
I am getting to know myself, perhaps, in a small way . .
Until relatively recently, our psyche, our indwelling soul, our ‘life’, was considered to dwell in the heart. To understand ourselves, and others, we were directed towards our heart. Modern rational thinking and modern psychology have migrated away from placing the greatest weight on heart knowing, yet knowing by heart is still what we seek.
When we know someone by heart, we may not understand some of their thoughts or beliefs; we may not understand their inner landscape. At times, modern left brain communication falters. At times, trying to achieve perfect intellectual communication is not possible. The attempt can crush that flower of love resident within us.
When we know someone with our heart, we experience a kind of innocent ‘pre-verbal’ love. We can find this easily with a beloved pet or child. We experience this in new love and in moments of renewed depth with a partner or friend. At these moments, there is no expectation of understanding. We feel our chest soften; hard places relax and we feel the ‘other’ with the physical sense of an open heart. The heart opening relaxes lingering thoughts. At those moments time stops.
There are ways to magnify heart knowing. There are things we can do to experience this means of relationship more often. An easy way is to let ourselves stay longer with this experience when it spontaneously happens, to not rush the moment in favor of modern-day means.
We can seek out the open-hearted knowing with resonant ‘others’, be they children, pets, trees, birds, or our particular beloveds. We can practice knowing and loving in this way, literally time ourselves – three, five, ten minutes, (Heart-Math has a bio-feedback too, the EMWave2, that measures this). Can we stay in this direct place? Having achieved a level of mastery over the direct experience, we can ‘imagine forward’, into our days and weeks, meeting others, having conversations, and making decisions while maintaining this way of relating.
Though I love you, you are still a mystery to me. I can only know you through my poetic mind. I can only truly know you if I continue to recognize and respect your ‘otherness’.
When we know another in this way these is no expectation of full understanding. To know poetically we accept mysterious spaces. How can this happen? We can step back for the immediacy of expectation to include curiosity and questions. We can evoke images and archetypal comparisons. In doing this, we are letting our beloved be bigger than their last good or bad deed. Every relationship benefits from poetic love and kindness. There are obligations and daily performance demands, yet periodic wonder and curiosity help us re-member our beloveds greater nature.
We each have an ‘inner landscape’ that we ourselves only know part of. Consider how it feels when another respects, and has genuine non-judgemental curiosity about, our nature. This feels wonderful – a lot like love.
Poetic love includes avoiding the habit of finishing another’s sentences. Perhaps you do not know what they were going to say. Most likely waiting without expectation will harvest deeper understanding; certainly it will engender greater respect. Avoid ‘pat answers’ or abbreviating another’s complexity – let complexity stand even when this makes us uncomfortable. Avoid planning our next sentences while listening deeply to another.
We are different from one another, with complex inner landscapes, and varying ways of communicating. For example, each have a dominant sensing type; feeling, seeing, hearing or thinking. We can practice asking respectful questions using words associated with the four main sensing types. How did that feel? What do you see
going on? How does that idea sound? What makes you think this?
Self-love encourages us to practice ‘not knowing’, even with ourselves. It calls on us to hold and create space for what is emerging – like the spring flower, at first delicate and unformed. Self-love understands that ‘knowing’, in a deep way, is bigger than words and thoughts. The same practices of loving, listening and inquiry detailed above, bring attention to our own emergent natures, our heart/soul direction.
For this Valentine, perhaps the greatest gift we can give each other is letting ourselves love in heart-felt and poetic ways.
We can practice the same loving curiosity with our own our psyche, our own indwelling soul, our ‘life’, our own heart.
We can know ourselves and others not by the mind, but by the more traditional way, by heart.