"Hats and Beards" - Martel Chapman

Our deepest want is to have no wants. We think we want choice, but our hearts secretly desire for absolute surrender, unraveling upon a single axis.

As Annie Dillard puts it, “The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse… to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.”  

We deeply want to be integral; to live in unity of heart, mind, body, and feeling. But often we are split, especially between the mind and heart. Often, we don’t even hear the subtle proclivities of the heart. You see, the mind is a loud motherfucker. How shall I illustrate the difference?

The heart is steady, quiet, & deep in its basin of effulgent all-knowing finitude. It is timeless and thus doesn’t have a past or future. It is now. Existing in a realm beyond mind-made attributes of space and time. The curdles of its essence brew in the deepest parts of our beingness, sometimes wafting to consciousness with enough silence. Its voice is calm, changeless, eternal.

On the other hand, the mind is sharp and airy, unstable in its most untempered forms. We cut our hands upon its divisive blades and bleed. It festers with voices outside of us - past authority figures, peers, and imagined heroes. It feeds on shoulds & desires, binding onto future outcomes with a clenched fist. Its maps are construed from the past. And thus it projects its stagnant and self-limiting model into the future.

The core of spirituality is to live from the heart. To carefully wield the knife of the mind, in order to make it a servant to the soul. To claw through acquired identities & shoulds, and arrive back to the place that existed before time, when our heart was the most brilliant.

When we live splintered between the mind and heart, the dissonance transmutes into fuel that fans flames of inner turmoil. That is by design. As the pain engendered by disorder, nudges us to undertake the hard work of aligning our interiority. To make a decision from our values, at the expense of certainties and outcomes.

Slowly, as these channels align and merge, their combined energies coalesce exponentially. A portal blasts through the scintillating heart. Unable to resist, we decimate our shoulds and subsume into its infinite void.

And that is why there is freedom in surrendering our options. In making a choice. Because as the optionalities of the mind cease, the possibilities and dreams of our heart are liberated.

This essay is inspired by my annual planning for 2023. This year I erred away from indexing too much on concrete goals, but rather focused on my ideal state of being. An excerpt:

“I want to plug into the pulse of the divine undulations that create galaxies, and be pulled limply back to source.  To, as Henry James puts it, “carry within myself a great fund of life, feeling the continuity between the movements of my heart and the agitations of the world.” I want to widen the aperture and clear the lens to the point in which there is no obfuscation between myself and the world. I want to look straight into the eyes of another, beyond projections and stories, & waltz with their souls. So that I can see things as they are. So that I can flow and  respond to the environment clearly, ferally, without hesitation. So I can be free, in the truest sense of the concept.  Removing the filters of societal scripts and mimetic pulls - all abstracted means to feel ok, to feel whole. And realize that underneath all conditioning - I am already whole. And in that knowing, carefully, violently, splinter the intricately woven tapestries of my psyche. To fall back into the nectar of effulgent truth in which my heart bathes.”