The heart is the key piece in the system of subtle perception.

In the modern west we tend to minimize heart, reducing it to the seat of my personal emotional life, my personal affectivity. We use it as shorthand for someone who is in touch with their emotions.

There are two overlapping senses of heart:

  1. Semitic – heart is a symbol for the core of the human person; it is the seat of the personal, true self.
  2.  Eastern Orthodox & Sufi – heart is the organ of perception; its purpose is to connect us to subtle senses.

We pick up information with more than just the mind. This information is vital to our well-being and to the well-being of the planet.

The heart is given to us as an antenna to pick up the qualities of God and to re-transmit them. As you begin to learn to use and trust the heart you begin to find where you are. The heart is the gateway to subtle perception. It receives and it transmits. We move out from and in alignment with that which we receive.

You can’t think your way to the heart. The heart works by obedience. Obedience is not knuckling under. It comes from the Latin “Ob Audire“, “to listen deeply.”

The heart is the compass needle that always pulls North. The heart tugs. You begin to feel your heart pulling you. So you can tell when you are on and off by a certain quality of aliveness. As that pull to centre gets stronger so you are more reliably able to follow your true trajectory.

So our real business in the spiritual life is not so much deconstructing the ego as it is nurturing the heart, so we can recognize that tug in us which is not just an emotional thing but is sensate.

As your heart becomes stronger in its ability to pick up the sonar it relativizes egoic consciousness so that egoic consciousness just isn’t as interesting any more. The loss of aliveness you get when you run off into your egoic schemes is instantly recognizable and the loss of visceral connection to true centre is so heart breaking that you move back on.

In Centering Prayer (CP) your heart is becoming attuned and you are getting more and more able to follow it.

Christianity, Islam, Judaism, the Semitic traditions all talk about something happening to the heart. Eastern Orthodox talks about the burning of the heart. Sufis talk of the spinning of the heart. CP speaks about the magnetization of the heart.

Once we find centre, we have a sonar system for moving out into the world. When you lose touch with centre, you lose your lifeline.

What is the best food for nurturing the heart? The best heart food is surrender. CP won’t do it by itself if you are not practicing the surrender in daily life that CP practice is patterning into you.

Wisdom comes from opening your heart and tuning your heart so that you can hear and receive wisdom.

When the Jesus event fell into the epicenter of world time and place, the concentric rings of the impact of this event went out in all directions geographically. It traveled West, East, and South down into Africa. And each line of development along these shock waves took on slightly different forms.

What we are used to in the West, and what we used to think was the only Christianity that existed, was a particular line of development which is Roman. Christianity went East into countries which are now Islamic. But Islam took shape in the 6/7th c. CE and for many centuries these were Christian lands which had preserved an understanding of Jesus’ message which was far more intimate than the one that went West. The East recognized Jesus more clearly in the cultural context he operated in. Early Oriental, non-Byzantine Orthodoxy was from the start much more pluralistic, much more open to diversity of expression and became an underground conduit of some of the oral transmission of Christ much more accurately than a lot of the stuff that went West.