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Head, Heart, Being posted 6 September 2018

It does not make sense for Margo and I to be doing what we are doing.  To have had careers in a profession that, in general, is respected and to have attained a level of seniority within our respective firms and, in Margo’s case, in her field of expertise, it is illogical for us to have turned our backs on that profession.

Logic and reason, the functions of mind, of the head, would say that we have acted ill-advisedly to let go our careers, the income we were making in those careers and to risk what we had created for the course we now are pursuing as yoga teachers.

It is true that many things are different as a result of our change in career path.  Being a yoga teacher does not carry the same respectability as being a lawyer does and we have let that go.  Our financial position has altered tremendously and the commitments we entered into when supported by Margo’s earnings as a partner her law firm have become onerous as we generate a much smaller income from our current work.

As yoga teachers we have a different group of connections from those we had as lawyers.  I used to enjoy the idea of being connected with senior members of the legal profession and with judges.  I felt like I was part of the cursus honorum of the legal profession.  In the yoga room, however, there is no hierarchy.  Yes, the teacher directs the practice, but from a place of connection with the students.  It is a very levelling and humbling environment.

The head would say that, having forged careers for ourselves in a profession the sensible, rational and logical course would be to continue with that, to accumulate material wealth and to not give up ground gained in one area for a speculation upon a completely different path.

And yet here we are.  We are not fools.  We have good powers of reasoning.  Logic was one of our tools as lawyers and we used that tool well in our professional capacity.  We could perceive all the benefits of holding fast to our careers as lawyers and following the sensible course.  But we chose not to.

Other motivations acted to guide us in a direction that our heads would not recommend but that we found utterly compelling - and having made our way here we would not have it otherwise.

In part, this is the influence of heart.  Heart does not speak in the language of pros and cons.  Heart is not concerned with what looks good or what pays the most.  Heart is concerned with emotion.  For both Margo and I, yoga practice creates an emotional response.  The thought of going into the law office to fight with other people over a different set of people’s problems created one set of emotions for us.  The thought of going into the yoga studio to practice or to teach creates a different set of emotions. 

A day in the law office left us with a certain emotional state.  A day at the yoga studio leaves us with a different emotional state.  The law was strongly outcome oriented.  I could go to court and perform as best I could and come away elated with a win or go to court and do the best I could only to come away defeated and feel dejected.  In the former I would glory in what I had done and in the latter case I would second-guess myself, chastise myself and wring my hands with anguish over the “failure”.

Teaching yoga does not carry that outcome oriented quality.  Yoga, to a much greater extent is a process-oriented practice.  Students will often offer feedback describing their enjoyment of their class and the positive impact it has had upon them, physically, emotionally or spiritually.  Sometimes a student will comment upon how they tweaked or twinged some part of their body during class. 

Whatever the individual experiences of the students, the process is working overall and the trend to greater physical strength and mobility and towards a more composed and positive state of being is unavoidable.  The emotional response Margo and I get from being part of that process is very rewarding and is far more consistent than was the rather more rollercoaster-like emotional ride of legal practice.

Then there is the being.  Being is concerned with truth and with dharma or life’s purpose.  Osho is clear on this distinction.  He says:

The head will go round and round thinking, brooding, philosophizing; it knows only words, logic, argument. But it is very infertile; you cannot get anything out of the head as far as truth is concerned, because truth needs no logic, no argument, no philosophical research. 

The heart is also a mechanism - different from the head. You can call the head the logical instrument; you can call the heart the emotional instrument. Out of the head all the philosophies, all the theologies are created; out of the heart, come all kinds of devotion, prayer, sentimentality. But the heart also goes round and round in emotions.” (Osho, From the False to the Truth, Talk #31) 

The poet Robinson Jeffers in Meditation on Saviors says, “Reason is never a root, neither or act nor desire”.  Ultimately, being sensible and reasonable can be stifling and unfulfilling.  When I ceased practicing law it was not a rejection of the law.  It was a rejection of who I was as a lawyer. When Margo left the law it was not a rejection of the law but a rejection of the toll practicing the law was having upon her.

When we started teaching yoga and started Apollo Power Yoga it was a calling to live out what was in our hearts – a desire to radiate the positive influence of yoga to the world and a desire to work together as a partnership.  Our choices have made sense.

They make sense in so far as they have produced rewards at the level of our being.  Our consciousness, awareness, our inner Purusha, perceived the conflict between mind and reason on the one hand and heart and emotion on the other and created a way of being for us that renders our minds tools at the hands of our inner truth and our hearts’ desires.

Here is Osho again from the same discourse:

“You have to make a synthesis between the two. And the synthesis, I have to emphasize, should be that the heart remains the master, and the head becomes the servant. You have as a servant a great asset - your reasoning… The heart has all feminine qualities: love, beauty, grace. The head is barbarous. The heart is far more civilized, far more innocent. 

A conscious man uses his head as a servant, and his heart as the master… 

And this is so simple for the man of consciousness to do.  Once you are unidentified with head or heart, and you are simply a witness of both, you can see which qualities should be higher, which qualities should be the goal.  And the head as a servant can bring those qualities, but it needs to be commanded and ordered.”

The balance that Osho describes is valuable.  Your teachers or parents may have told you to “be sensible” and in so doing you may have received the impression that you had to act according to the head and the dictates of reason.

You will have heard of crimes of passion where people in a fit of jealous rage, for example, have lashed out.  In such cases there is no reason but just the heat of emotion from the heart.

Osho asserts that it is best to meditate and be present to both the desires and emotions of the heart and the wisdom and good sense of the head.  Using the head as a tool to give effect to the desires and emotions of the heart will enable you to live a fulfilling life. 

Right now be present to your feelings and experience of your life.  Consider what your heart’s desire is and how the different elements of your way of being make you feel.  Use your good sense and wisdom as a tool to give effect to that which is your heart’s desire.

I had the good fortune to experience that when I left the law.  I left the law to become a house-husband when Margo and I began a family. 

I had worried about my decision to change my career path.  One judge seemed shocked when I told him I had resigned my partnership and was out of the legal profession on a longer rather than short term basis.  The senior partner of my firm with whom I had worked closely on many cases told me my choice was “a waste”.  I certainly doubted myself.  And then our son was born and I held him in my arms and my heart welled with love and pride and my inner truth was clear: I had made the right choice and was utterly blessed to have the chance to be a house husband.

Seek your inner truth and access good emotions in your life using your best reasoning and wisdom to make your heart’s desire manifest. 

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