Heart and Soul Healing
A women's health physician explores avenues to greater wellness.
by Marilyn Mitchell, M.D.
Quiet the Mind to Open the Heart
There are two ways of experiencing life: Mind and Heart
Published on July 10, 2012 by Marilyn Mitchell, M.D. in Heart and Soul Healing
We are not our minds. By mind I mean that cerebral and analytic commentary that talks to us constantly. We get in the habit of identifying with the brain chatter that attaches us to the details of our lives. But beyond the mind there is an expansive and peaceful state of being that I call Heart. It turns out that this state can be a powerful resource to us, if we can quiet the mind.
I have learned that this Heart place can be tapped for profound insight and healing in serious or unremitting illnesses. In the following chapters, you will hear the story of a woman with serious Stage IV ovarian cancer who tamed her incessant anxious thoughts, so that she could open to complete healing; another woman with kidney failure who changed her preconceptions about her genetic fate and altered the progression of her disease; and also my own story as a doctor who was diagnosed with cancer, and found profound healing through opening the Heart. Don’t get me wrong. The mind is not a bad thing. The positive attributes of Mind are focus, organization, concentration, and memory: all excellent qualities for executing action. When we have a creative idea, we need our minds to organize our actions for manifesting our creation. We get into trouble when the mind becomes the judge and censor, limiting our creative selves rather than serving them.
So, the mind is the linear, logical voice that tends to dictate our day-to-day lives. The mind speaks to us from a particular and individual set of beliefs that we have accumulated from our childhood experiences, our education, the media, experts. When we stop and listen, it can be surprising how the mind speaks to us: our own mind may not even be telling us the truth.
Heart is expansive, intuitive, creative. It is the place we open to when we feel overcome with gratitude, joy, or passion. Our mind suspends its commentary. When we are open to our heart, the mind is quiet. The heart transcends linear time and space. When we are moved or deeply touched, we experience expansion, beauty, and peace.
Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist, went on an unexpected journey and returned with incredible insight into the Heart/Mind nature of our being. When she was 37, she had a massive stroke and, as a scientist, was able to study her own stroke as it happened. In the process, she discovered the Two Ways of Being in a rather dramatic way. She recalls at the time of her stroke experiencing two separate states:—the left brain (which I call the cerebral Mind state) which told her, “I’m having a stroke! I’m having a stroke!”; and the Heart state of consciousness, which she calls “right brain” where she found a state grace and euphoria, and a sense of being one with the universe.
She discovered a whole new world while in that state, which I call the Heart state, and this had a profound impact on her recovery and her way of life from then on. She recommends “running the peace circuitry” (living in the Heart state) often as way to improve our lives.
Author Esther Hicks shares the wisdom of Abraham: “Most people rarely align with their true power, because it seems illogical to them that there is power in relaxation, in letting go, or in love or joy or bliss. Most people do not understand that their true power lies in releasing resistance.” True power is what I call Heart with the qualities of love, joy and bliss that Esther describes here. It is cerebral Mind that needs to relax and release resistance in order to access Heart or true power.
It is possible to learn this relaxation of Mind and opening to Heart to improve our health and way of life. This book will present some simple practices and stories of some who have used these principles to profoundly improve their lives, so that you can learn how to make this shift for yourself.
In truth, each one of us is a vast energy source, connected to unlimited knowledge, creativity, peace and wellbeing. But we define who we are based on narrower habits of mind in part dictated by our society. We develop our minds to focus and organize our creative, vast selves into the productive activity of our daily life. We experience life through the dualities of Mind and Heart. I hope to show you how to get in the habit of making them one.