The popular phrase “heart-centered” contains at least two distinct meanings.
It can mean choosing love and compassion as the guiding principles of your life. Or it can mean living in alignment with your “true” self – your values, your calling, your experiential wisdom, your intelligence, intuition, and instinct, and the messages you receive from your body. Both forces can comfortably exist in the same person, but that doesn’t mean they always do. Being true to yourself doesn’t automatically encompass living from love and compassion. It can simply be a narrow focus on the self and an attempt to secure your own good life.
At the same time, as we begin to uncover our true self, often a sense of love and compassion naturally arises for others. When we see how we’re bound up in all sorts of false ideas about our self, that consistently cause us to hurt, we can’t help but realize it’s the same for others as well. We will compassionately want freedom from this discomfort for others as much as for our self.
Here, I use “heart-centred” to mean being true to yourself.
For the best possible life, I encourage you to approach heart-centered living in both ways. You would think listening to one’s heart would be the most natural and even logical thing in the world. But sadly this is not the case for many of us due to childhood wounds, conditioning, and our adult experiences that reinforced all of the previous learning. Quite honestly, many of us are not ready to live a heart-centered life.
5 Elements of a Heart-Centered Life
Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to see if you are ready to listen to your heart:
Listen to Your Heart | Inner Voice | Intuition
1. How much do you trust yourself? Living a heart-centered life means listening to yourself at least as much as and probably much more than others. I can’t say it means only listening to yourself because I believe life is more complex than this. But if you often seek advice from others, parental figures, teachers, health advisors, family members, your partner, intuitive readers, spiritual mentors, leaders, and rarely listen to your own inner voice, you probably don’t have much faith, just yet, in your own natural intelligence.
2. Do you know your own values, what’s most important to you in life, and attune your attitude and actions to them? So much of life is about coming to know who we really are. Often, we start out in life by following the path laid out for us or rebelling against it. In either case, we haven’t necessarily sat down to consider what’s truly important to us. If you don’t know your own values or aren’t living by them, whose life are you living? It’s likely not a heart-centred life.
3. Are you willing to spend time in quiet, listening deeply and patiently? Busyness dominates most peoples’ lives. They never feel they have time to sit quietly so how can they hear their heart? Their heart constantly whispers its wishes, because that’s what hearts do, but the onslaught of thoughts, emotions, and busyness overrides the quiet whisper. It’s impossible to lead a heart-centered life if you’re not willing to regularly get quiet and listen. Learn how to quiet your mind through focused prayer, meditation and simple breathing exercises. And learn from those that practice regularly.
4. Are you willing to ask the big questions? The hard questions? You can build up confidence in your own inner wisdom by getting answers to everyday questions like, “Do I really want to eat this meal, go to that movie, or meet this person?” That will begin to change the quality of your life. The bigger questions can be “am I happy in my job or my relationship, do I like where I live, and am I living the life I want to live 5 years from now?” if you aren’t willing to ask the big questions or the hard ones, you’re still only living half of your own life.
5. Will you take action on what your heart tells you? It may not be easy to take action on what your heart tells you, at least at first. We’re used to denying our self in favor of everyone and everything else. But when you take action based on your mind and body’s messages, this grows your ability to do so again and again.
The willingness to take action is the only way to truly build a heart-centered life.
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, don’t despair. Some of the biggest questions I’ve needed to hear the answers to did not happen until my own personal awakening and I still need to tune in to my quieted mind for big questions today. But recognizing that I needed to do this started my first major shift in life.
Asking the above questions will give you a clear view of where you need to work, if you truly wish to lead a more heart-centered life. Within each question, lies the solution you can put into place when you feel ready to engage the wisdom of your heart.
What did you learn from asking these questions? And if you would like, please share your thoughts with me as I would love to read them.