Climbing the Ladders of Head and Heart
Every now and again an exceptional understanding of the spiritual path emerges in a dialogue. The one that follows happened spontaneously on a recent day in response to one of my blogs that got reposted.
"I don’t know you well Andrea, but there is some serious wisdom in your remarks."
"Do you mean when I said my growth process might be more intellectual than experiential?" she asked.
"Yes. Here’s what your thoughts conjured up for me. The Way is like two ladders that stand side by side. The one is the ladder of intellect. The other is the ladder of experience. You cannot ascend to Awareness without moving one foot up each ladder. There are limits to how far you can rise when the distance between rungs grows too great, like you can't take the next step up experientially because the foot on the intellectual ladder is too far behind, or vice versa. So in the end, you must climb both ladders to Ascend. The order does not matter, only that both are Ascended. So if you're a recovering person, you have to take the Steps in both intellect and experience. Gotta get it in the head, and feel it in the body. Head and heart."
[A long pause occurs.]
"So Ron, do you mean that my thinking is on the Path."
"Exactly. You have to learn how to think about what you experience. It’s necessary to have the feeling of experience, but not sufficient for your overall development."
"And breath work is developing the experience?"
"You got it! When we use breathing techniques we ground our Awakening in experience as it occurs as feeling in the body."
[Another long pause.]
"I have feelings about this, and I've been breathing with them. I have felt so lost, and you are telling what I have in my head and my heart are both valid."
"You are on it, Andrea."
"All I have to do is take care of spiritual business in both spaces?"
"Andrea, it could not be otherwise. You have always been on holy ground."
Too often experiences or thoughts are diminished or demeaned by those who do not understand. At worst, we are those who condemn because our perspective does not match theirs.
Every path is sacred and to be honored.
Seeing True™ in Action
Sometimes it can be helpful to appraise our perspectives and developmental progress. And to do this appraisal with someone else is always helpful.
Seek out a spiritual advisor, or trusted spiritual confidante who you can trust to be honest. Explore with them where you stand in your intellectual understanding of your path.
Then, spend some time breathing with feeling what you’ve just discussed.
Debrief with your advisor. See if you can connect your head and your heart by deepening your understanding.