In western cultures the heart and mind are seen as a conflicting dichotomy. In the west people generally identify the mind or brain as the main instrument of thought, rationality, and intelligence, whereas the heart represents the irrational or emotional aspect of ourselves. For efficiency decisions if they are to be rational, must be made from the mind and not the heart or so it is believed.
This may have caused the west to become a culture of doing and making as well as forcing and struggling to make things happen. In short, the western culture as represented by the conservative mindset has become very masculine in nature.
Insight: The word for heart and mind in Hebrew is the same word, “lebh”. This is also true in Chinese (xīn 心 ). In these cultures heart and mind work in tandem or together as one as in heart/mind with regard to thought and intelligence.
It is said by many of the wisdom keepers that in order to grow one needs to open both the heart and the mind.
There are many stories from mystics through the ages of how the void within became filled via the heart versus the mind alone. One such story is as follows: Thomas Merton told the story of Saint Lutgarde a 13th century mystic from Belgium. In this story the Saint claimed to have been visited by Jesus in a vision offering whatever gift of grace she desired and she asked for a better understanding of Latin so that she could understand the word of God. At once her mind was flooded by the psalms and readings of the Bible. But still she felt a painful void and emptiness in her soul. She then asked the Christ for an exchange. “And what would you exchange it?” and she said “Your heart Lord”. He granted her wish and took her heart into his breast.
Had Lutgarde discovered that the heart filled the void where things of only the mind did not?
To the artist, poet and writer it is the heart that is manifest as the soul of creativity, but it takes the mind to translate it to the page or canvas. They must work in tandem or there is only emptiness– the void.
To be kind is more important than to be always right. Sometimes all what we need is not an intelligent mind that speaks but a patient heart that listens.