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Birthing the Heart: Heart or Mind Meditation

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2014-08-12
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



It is so easy to think we are birthing the heart when actually we are reinforcing the mind. This is tricky work and the difference is poorly understood even among the more astute meditators. The key factor is the “I” and the effort the “I” exerts in finding something, like love, that seems to be missing. If love feels like a project “I” am working on for my benefit, then we can be sure it is coming from and reinforcing the mind’s idea of love. To find love within the heart, just be quiet, and incline the heart in that direction, not letting thoughts interfere with that inclination. Try it and see. Just be quiet and soft and incline your heart toward love and see what comes. We make love a mental construct so we can control it, but love pours through a vulnerable heart that is quiet and soft, and vulnerability frightens us. Remember, the heart does not have to be “made” to love or disciplined into kindness, but the mind does. Love is not missing, we are obstructing the love that is there.


Begin to learn the difference between the language of the mind and the language of the heart. Take the heart qualities of patience, compassion, kindness, and sincerity. As the mind captures these qualities and they percolate through the ego, they turn respectively to waiting, pity, niceness, and seriousness. The mind makes these into measurable quantities and judges how you are doing compared to your goal. Take one of these four qualities, like patience, and start where you are, perhaps as an impatient person trying to become patient. Notice whether the effort to be patient is making you more impatient. To find patience you have to release yourself from phrases that keep you bonded to the mind like, “How am I doing?” “How much longer do I have to be patient?” Pity, the near enemy of compassion, is another example. Pity looks down from the safety of our own life, and says, “How awful. I am glad it is not me.” Go through a number of these heart qualities until you get a sense of how the mind distorts the heart.


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