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(The following is an excerpt from the book, Living from the Heart by Nirmala. Part 2 of the book is available as a free ebook download here)

book cover living heart

Desires push and pull you in so many directions. It is as if you were magnetized to what you desire: When you see something you want, or even if you think about something you want, you are irresistibly drawn to move towards it. On top of this, you have lots of contradictory desires, which leave you with internal conflicts: "I want to eat more and I want to lose weight." "I want a relationship and I want to be independent." "I want to buy a vacation house and I want to simplify my life." However, desire is also normal and natural. It's what fuels many of your actions and accomplishments.

What really matters is not what desires you have, but where you experience them from. When you experience a desire from the head, you are on the surface of it and feeling the full force of wanting, as it draws you towards the object of your desire. When you drop into the Heart and experience the same desire from deeper within, you are taken to the source of the desire, where the force of the magnetic pull is less powerful. The desire is still present, but you are resting in the quiet source of your impulse to act.

The difference is like being in the rushing water of a giant spillway versus resting in the lake that is the source of the spillway. If you stay in the head, with its magnified focus on the object of desire, that is like being in the rushing water that is destined to flow over the spillway. From there, it's extremely difficult to resist the flow of desire, and most of the time, we don't. However, when you drop into your Heart and belly, it's like being in the center of the lake, where the water is still and calm. The spillway of your desire is still present, but there is more choice about whether or not to act on it.

Exercise: Think of something you really want-a possession or an experience you desire. As you think about it, notice what that is like. Can you feel the magnetic pull of that object of desire? As you continue to focus on it with your mind, it may seem more and more important and irresistible. Now move down into the Heart and/or belly and experience your desire from there. You don't need to change your desire; just experience the same pull from deep within your Being. How important is the desire when you feel it from the Heart and belly? Is it easier to resist the pull, to just rest here in the spaciousness of your Being?


As you rest deeply in your Heart, it is more possible to see the full range of your desires and impulses. You have many desires. Since you do have so many, including contradictory and unhealthy ones, it can be helpful to rest in the Heart, where you can more easily see which ones are true and valuable. Even very strong contradictory desires are not a problem when you are resting in the center of your Being, where they don't have so much leverage.


Missing Out

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Here is another guest post by my wife, Gina Lake. You can read much more of her writings on her own blog/website at www.radicalhappiness.com:

the four of us

The reason we find thoughts so compelling, besides the fact that we are programmed to pay attention to them, is that we believe we need them to function-and we enjoy thinking. We do need some thoughts to function, but most of our thoughts come from the egoic mind, and we don't need those. We think we're going to miss out on something if we don't pay attention to these thoughts-this voice in our head-but what we miss out on is real life, the life beyond the mental world created by the ego. The ego doesn't have a very high opinion of real life, and either do we when we are identified with it. Life without thoughts seems boring, uninteresting. But that's really only because we don't stay long enough in real life to really experience what it has to offer. We are often one foot in and one foot out of it-one foot in the mind and one foot in what's real: present moment experience.

We believe that thinking supplies everything we need-wisdom, insight, information, guidance, and perfect planning-and it's fun. What more could you ask for? If the mind could really provide all of this, then it would be indispensible and a true friend. However, it fails miserably at all of these; even the fun often comes at quite an expense. It pretends to be able to provide these things, and we are programmed to believe it can, but the truth is that it doesn't deliver what it promises.

Even when we see this, we may still give the egoic mind our attention just in case it comes up with something good-maybe the next thought is the one that will change everything! All of the things we really want to know-what will happen, why things have happened, and what to do next-the mind just doesn't know. Let this sink in a moment, because we are deeply conditioned to believe that it has these answers. What if you really knew that your mind doesn't have any of the answers you're looking for? It, in fact, is what raises these questions and wants so badly to know the answers, but it doesn't have them.

Living from the Biggest Truth

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Someone emailed me with a good question about how to keep the perspective of there being no separate self in the midst of the daily demands of their practical life, and how to live more fully from this bigger perspective. Here is what I wrote back:

Your question goes right to the heart of the matter. Yet, the truth cannot be contained in one perspective or the other. There is no separate self, and it is also true that on the relative level there is a functioning as an apparent separate self that is needed. These are not contradictory truths, but complimentary truths. Often in spiritual teaching there is an emphasis on the nondual truth since this is the aspect of truth that most people have not realized. But before, during and after a realization of this bigger truth, you still need to function in this relative world.

The wonderful thing about recognizing the bigger truth is not that the smaller practical considerations of getting along with your boss and taking care of your family disappear, but that you can hold them more lightly. And you can start to notice that there is much more that is unfolding even your practical life as a human with a job and responsibilities. So even though it is up to you to get up and go to work everyday, there is also a deeper presence that is unfolding all of life and that is what truly knows when you need to stay in a job and when you need to lose a job.

It is also a delicate understanding because seeing the bigger truth does lead to holding all of this more lightly, which can actually make things happen more smoothly. It can allow you to simply be in the flow and respond to what is really happening without all of the extra tension created when we think it is all up to me. But, we can then try to hold onto the this bigger perspective as a way to make our life run more smoothly which actually is just a more subtle way of trying to do it yourself....by not trying to do it yourself!

And almost everyone who experiences a bigger truth and the sense of flow that results tries then to make that happen. Instead, you can simply be curious about all of these dynamics, even the subtlest ways of spiritually efforting and trying to make things work. The real gift is in the discovery of the many levels of truth, not so much in holding onto the biggest truth as a way of making your life turn out great.

You may enjoy the article on the free articles page entitled, What to Do When There Is No Doer?, that gives a sense of the profound mystery of all of these different truths operating simultaneously, and also you may enjoy the short ebook on this site entitled Beyond No Self which addresses the different dimensions of truth that still exist when the separate egoic self is seen through.