Updated: Aug 10, 2022
The journey of life is full of lessons. Often, we think the lesson is crystal clear, and then suddenly it gets shattered, and a new lesson appears. I will share a lesson which still stands, but is wide open to ridicule, questioning, feedback, and laughter since I’m not a psychologist, social scientist, or philosopher.
The lesson is that we make decisions with three things … the head, the heart, and hormones (male and female). I’ve learned that the head is an awesome tool, the hormones have the power to be as addictive as a narcotic and the “heart” is everything – meaning the foundation of great discernment and decision making for a great and fulfilling life. Not only is the heart the source of feelings of love, compassion, empathy, caring, and consideration for one another, but it is also a great source of knowledge, energy, and creativity. The key is that it is not about using one over the other, but to learn to use each one at the appropriate time as they were intended by our creator.
But wait! When we came into the world, we were not given an instruction manual! As a result, we often make decisions with the head or hormones and think it’s the heart. Hardly ever is it the other way around. It seems we live from the head most of the time, from the hormones quite a bit of the time, and the heart gets lost more and more. To learn about the heart takes quiet time, meditation, and reflection. But society, education systems and the media promotes and rewards being “productive” and “busy”.
As I said, the head is an awesome tool, but so is our car, stove, and computer. However, when we’re done with those, we turn them off. Not the head. Seems like we never turn that off anymore. Why is that? The conscious mind is like a muscle. As with any muscle, practice makes perfect. The more we use it, the stronger it gets and the more we rely on it and tend to use it. Our head gets an overload of practice; it is being used pretty much from the minute we wake up till we go to bed because of the busyness of life. As soon as we wake up, we go to our smart phones, then we watch the news and tv, then we go to school or work. Afterwards we play video games, go to classes, camps, and other busy things and “projects”, etc. Then at the end of the day, we are tired and it’s time to “relax” with too much temptation and too many distractions. This is where the “hormones” slowly but surely have been playing a larger part. And then afterwards we’re tired and go to bed. In short, we are in our head pretty much all day long.
Now let’s talk about the hormones. It seems like they are becoming a larger part of the “relax” culture. Yes, many play golf, video games, travel, go to sporting events, drink alcohol, do recreational drugs and other things, etc. However, more and more relaxation seems to include the “hormones” in the form of the sex industry - such as porn, strip joints, sex hookup websites, swap-meet parties, call guys and gals, and simply “innocent dates” to try to have sex. Due to a lack of awareness about the addiction aspect, and because these things are easier and easier come by, it seems like getting addicted is becoming easier and more plentiful. The hormones have become like a recreational drug for a billion-dollar industry, like cocaine, heroin, or meth. However, this particular “drug” is legal, cheaper, and more plentiful, which makes it quite dangerous. Enough said.
Then there is the heart… by some in philosophy it is called the god-mind, some in psychology call it the super conscious mind, in religion they say that that is where God talks to you, in science it’s called intuition, and in everyday life it’s called the senses, the insides or the gut. Living from the heart then means learning to listen to and hearing our hearts. To develop this skill takes relaxed and quiet time with reflection, focus, and meditation. This seems quite absent these days. Why? Because just like a gym is a place to develop our physical health, a gym to develop our heart traditionally was through religion - in churches, synagogues, mosques, or temples. From there it was taken into schools and homes. Today fewer people belong to a religion and houses of worship resulting in a lack of spiritual education and awareness needed to develop the heart. Add a deterioration of healthy family units resulting in a lack of education about good values, virtues, and the golden rule.
However, there are places where one can learn about the heart and how to live from it. The best place I have found is a non-profit organization in Austin, Texas, called Discovery Programs (https://www.discoveryprograms.org). Discovery “saved my life” because it saved my heart. Before Discovery (due to my ignorance, inexperience, and busyness) my heart played no part in my life (except for pumping blood) to my detriment. I was a degreed engineer and had a good job. To many I seemed to have a great life. But I was quite lost and empty with no purpose. That is until Discovery appeared in my path. I thank God for my buddy Dash who persisted that I go. Today, my life is great, full, and fulfilling. The key here is that now I let my heart make the big decisions, my head to work out the details, and my hormones are spent on my most wonderful life partner Stacy. It is a wonderful feeling! There is nothing like it! I wish this for everyone.
I end by repeating that this is wide open for ridicule, questioning, feedback, and laughter. If this provokes some thought in a positive direction, then it was worth my time. If not, then do as my fellow sisters and brothers in in New York City say to do: “fuhgeddaboudit!”
- Mike Reeder