Written by Michaela MacBlake Matthews
The Heart And The Mind
The heart and the mind are an inseparable team, toggling between ‘how’ and ‘why’. The ‘what’ tends to be circumstantial, and changes on a regular basis, but the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ are deeply integrated parts of what makes us who we are. They outline our personalities, character, skillset, and values across decades.
The heart reminds us of why we do things. It is our source of resilience, our motivation, and the only reason we don’t give up altogether when the going gets tough. At the root of everything we do as human beings, there is some initial spark of caring for ourselves and others.
Sometimes, our minds try to take over the role of our hearts, and steer us toward un-empathetic ends. From time to time, we all fall into the trap of trying to help someone we love in a way they don’t really want to be helped, or strive to attain something that doesn’t truly satisfy us when we get it.
Over the long-term, when we stuff our hearts down and let our minds seek a monopoly, these effects can become pretty severe. The mind often miscalculates the ‘why’, but the heart sees it clearly, every time. Even in the deepest imbalances, we always stem from the original seed of trying to improve our own lives, or someone else’s. The heart also knows what to look out for, and lets us know when something doesn’t sit right, make us feel wholesome, or seem properly resolved.
While the heart may seem like the team captain, the mind knows good and well that it’s indispensable. The mind is responsible for how we get things done, and when it can learn to obey the heart’s mission, it is a powerful force. It streamlines our strategy, learning, and time management. It recognizes our resources, and arranges everything in the microcosm of our lives to the best of its ability.
When the heart wants to feel at ease with others, it becomes the mind’s job to learn when to give people space for a bad day. Likewise, when the heart wants to trust, it is the mind that will list off benefit-of-the-doubt scenarios during the long moments of uncertainty. The heart, although deeply rooted in a vague and ethereal wisdom, has a tendency to be very impatient. The mind serves to delegate timing, and transform that raw wisdom into tact.
Creating With Narrative
Narrative forms of creation, which unfold in longer views of stories and characters, are phenomenal for balancing the mind and the heart’s strengths. Story writing, journaling, or even visual storytelling in series can each develop the long-game of how timing and action interact with emotions and motives.
This heart-mind collaboration is why stories and myths are so prevalent in culture and religion. From the Bible to the Iliad, and even to Harry Potter in modern day, stories provide a structure that is able to embody a wider viewpoint. A narrator can see multiple lifetimes unfolding simultaneously, or make connections across years in only a couple of pages.
At the end of the day, heart skills like empathy, trust, faith, and resilience each require the power of the mind to expand beyond the present moment.