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How to find your spiritual path – part 2: Brain vs Heart
In the previous article, “How to find your spiritual path – part 1", a basic introduction to the Spiritual Path was provided along with some common terms that may describe it. The first two terms are restated here for convenience:
- The path of Knowledge
- The path of Love
Although the Spiritual Path is referred to in the singular there is clearly more than one type of Spiritual Path when we look at the names people give it (see previous hub for more terms for the Spiritual Path). The two terms listed above are two distinctly different approaches to life. However if the Spiritual Path is the way to the Divine, to peace and bliss, to a Zen existence, to the best possible place ever… then how can these two conflicting paths lead to the same place???
The path of Knowledge
Think about it, the path to Knowledge is an Intellectual path based on study. What does pure intellect have to do with Love??? NOTHING at all. Pure intellect is strictly logic, reasoning, and endless study for the sake of learning. This path cannot include Love or emotions. From a logical perspective emotions are stupid, and Love is the strongest of them all. So, to be a purest on the path of Knowledge anything stupid must be discarded lest it taint the knowledge that has already been gained and the knowledge yet to be learned. Here is a simple image that describes this perfectly:
Brain vs Heart
The path of Love
This is a heart-centered approach. You open your heart to yourself and to all things. You Love and accept yourself as you are with all the human flaws that are present. You also Love and accept others the way they are and offer them Love even when it is not returned. To be a purest on the path of Love you must be happy, friendly, compassionate, forgiving, do no harm, love yourself and love God (The Divine, the Universe, Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, the Great Spirit, the powers that be, …whatever your name for God is). There is no place for logic and reason here, you Love because that is all that matters and your faith in Love (God) sustains you. If you get hurt, physically or emotionally, you still offer Love because those that caused the hurt know not what they are doing. All you need is Love…
Knowledge and Love
These two paths are extreme methods to live by and although opposites of each other they do provide some perspective. If someone spends their entire life with a strict focus on studying religious and spiritual writings like: The Bible, The Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, the writings of Alice Bailey, the Buddhist Pali Cannon and Sutras, … can it move them forward on the Spiritual Path? My opinion is YES. However there is a cost… a life dedicated to strict learning is an honorable one but is void of the emotions that add flavor and color to life. Conversely, in my opinion, a life dedicated strictly to Love can also move a person forward on the Spiritual Path. However the cost here is that, without knowledge, the opportunities to have a deeper understanding of things are lost.
What they say: Jesus, Buddha and Krishna
Since each of these paths has a major downside to it, is there a better approach for your personal Spiritual Path?
Before I express my opinion on that let’s look at what some religious/spiritual figures throughout history have taught. Yes, I know there are many other points and notable individuals that have been omitted but this is MY brief summary:
- Jesus taught (approximately 2000 years)
- The Buddha taught (approximately 2500 years ago)
- Krishna taught (approximately 3000 years ago)
There are some common points that each of these people have made regarding how to live:
- Love yourself
- Love others
- Be compassionate
- Pray / Meditate / Chant mantras (in my opinion these are all forms of prayer)
- Do no be attached to earthly things
Maybe you already do all these things and still feel there is something missing?
It is good to have references from notable people but what is the right way for you?
I offer MY opinion to you...
Every person comes into existence on earth wired a certain way. The way the person is wired determines what they have to work with in life AND what they need to work on in life. However to get to the core wiring we need to look past the complexities of personality, race, gender, upbringing, social status and anything else that blurs the picture. From my perspective there are two basic traits that people have to work with in life:
- Mental / Intellectual capacity
- Emotional capacity
Like the two Spiritual Paths referenced in the beginning of this article, these two traits are extreme opposites of each other. However these two extremes need to work together for a person to be balanced and function as a complete person. If the scale is too heavy on one side there is no balance:
For the very mental person (such as an engineer, a doctor or lawyer) their intelligence, logic and reasoning are tools to build a life and career with. However, the emotional side is where further advancements can be made. The mental-based person likely needs to learn to be comfortable with emotions, their own emotions as well as the emotions of others. For example, a medical doctor that has to give the diagnosis of cancer to a patient. The doctor can walk into the room tell the patient “you have cancer” and leave, and meet the requirements of their job. Imagine how you would feel if you were the patient receiving this message; being given that message that way is quite a shock. However, IF the doctor uses compassion the stress of to the patient can be greatly reduced. Although the doctor that just drops that bomb on a patient is not technically wrong, it would be less stressful (less harmful) to the patient if a more considerate delivery of the bad news is used. The point here is to balance out the mental side by developing the weaker emotional side to be a more balanced person.
For the emotional person their feelings can provide them a rich enjoyable life. However when emotions are not balanced with intellect then chaos can ensue. For example, a very emotional person driving to work gets a flat tire on their car. The person immediately gets upset and begins screaming; a frantic call to work is made about being late, which adds extra stress to the person and further spins them out of control. Then the person calls their friend to ask for help and find out what to do about the situation, but the friend is also on the way to work and cannot help. Then another frantic call to have someone come out and change the tire is made. While waiting for help this person gets further upset because things didn’t go as planned and now the entire day is ruined. – This is an extreme hypothetical situation but there are things that could have been done to eliminate the stress caused to this person and to the people this person encounters that will hear about it. If you know that situations like this can greatly upset you then perhaps learn how to change a tire, and although the flat tire could not have been avoided you know that you can fix it and the extra stress can be avoided. If changing a tire is beyond your skills or ability then be prepared with an emergency phone list of who to call for different situations; be prepared by thinking ahead and planning ahead. The point here is to work with the mental side to be a more balanced person.
The Balance between Emotions and Intellect is Key
Perhaps something here can help you on your journey
For more detailed information on what Jesus, Buddha and Krishna had to say please see the next article in this series: How to find your spiritual path – part 3: Some Religious Perspectives