There is a Sioux Indian saying: The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart. It is especially true in transferring the knowledge about God in your head and being able to experience the excitement of loving God in your heart. I am on the same journey, for I understand the tremendous odds against us to transfer the truth about God’s love and possess it as a feeling of love in our soul.
One of my problems was my Protestant theological training was found lacking in providing a spiritual answer to that dilemma. My studies in seminary attempted to resolve the various struggles of my spiritual life through Biblical thinking and rational thought. I wrongly assumed a mixture of mental prayers and cognitive knowledge would produce a growing spiritual life.
I thought if I learned and worked at trying to apply the word of God, I would live out the life of God in my behavior. I also naively believed if I learn the truth of scripture, I will naturally put into practice the truth of scripture. In other words, if I knew about the love of God in my head, I would also feel and experience the presence and love of God in my heart. It makes logical sense. However, l was incapable of thinking my way of perceiving the love of God. Thinking is not a feeling, and feelings are more than rational thoughts as our emotions flow out from the inside of us, not from the outside into us.
Most Christians have little doubt their intellectual faith in Christ is genuine, but how to experience the love of God in our hearts is an open-ended question. The problem for each of us is how does God’s love transcends our intellect and being? What is the mechanism that keeps my thoughts and feelings from diverting from the intimacy and the love I desire? How do I keep my heart open to God in a fast-talking and faster moving world? How do I nurture and maintain daily intimacy with God?
Years ago, I went on a spiritual quest to revitalize my Christian life. It was a matter of survival for me because I didn’t need to learn anything more about God; I needed a moment by moment intimate relationship with Christ in my heart. The standard Christian answers, at least in my Christian background, were insufficient for producing that kind of spiritual life. I discovered how to be mindful of God in a mindless world of thoughts and actions. I developed a mindfulness approach to my Christian life. I learned to live in the fullness of the moment alive in Christ. I gained insights into the Eastern mindset in conjunction with my upbringing in the Western world. I learned a right heart is as vital as correct belief. When the heart loves, it is the result of loving thoughts, and warm feelings have the power to produce loving behavior. The key was not controlling my thoughts that kept God at a distance but learning to release all the worldly thoughts that kept me from communing with God intimately on a moment by moment basis.
Instead of seeking only intellectual knowledge, I explored the wisdom to find new life in seeking the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God. My heart and soul were drowning, sinking out of touch with God’s presence, and the cry of my heart was to regain the wonder of being alive in God. I laid aside my religious prejudices and the curse of prejudging other beliefs and discovered the gift of living in harmony and unity with God. It was through the teaching and examples of the early Desert Fathers and Mothers who practiced solitude and silence that I learned to experience inner peace, abiding love, and the presence of God. There is a divine mystery in the quiet alone with God that my heart discovers a depth of love and peace that is indescribable and eternal. When I am mindful of Christ’s presence, the journey from my head to my heart becomes a path of becoming one with the Eternal Now of God in the present moment. No longer let the trip from your head to your heart be the longest journey of your life.
Image of Sioux Indian via Pixabay