What does it mean to follow the Heart?

If the heart could talk what would it say to you? Listen to your heart was always strange advice to me when I was younger. I imagined a cartoon heart cheering me on from my chest if I asked it for help.

Everyone accepts the heart as a very important organ in the human body. It controls the flow of blood and feeds cells. If it stops, death is not far away. If it is not healthy your quality of life suffers greatly but how does it tell you what to do? How can it guide you? Is this even possible?

In my book about Wilunitus, following the heart is a main theme. He encounters the eccentric entity known as UNIKI when stranded at night by himself out in the middle of a lake. He is terrified by his sudden presence, yet UNIKI goes on to teach a lesson that will help sustain the boy through many challenges ahead.

“Listen with the heart,” asked Wil again. “How do you do it?”
“How do you listen with the heart?” repeated UNIKI. “You already know how but you have forgotten, or at least you forget most of the time. Sometimes, under certain circumstances your instincts just take over. You go on auto pilot. Such as when you are in grave danger. The heart just more or less says – move over brain, I am in charge now!”
“I think I understand that,” continued Wil “but what about when I want to force myself to listen with my heart?”
“Then stop talking and start listening!” replied UNIKI.
“Hmm!” the boy seemed confused. There was a silence between them and then UNIKI spoke again.
“Do you talk to yourself boy?” he asked.
“I well… I…”
“Of course you do. All humans do. Do you not work out your problems inside your head with continuous chatter? On and on you go, to and fro in your mind, trying to work out the details of some problem, dwelling on what ifs rather than what is. Thinking the worst most of the time rather than working out a simple solution.”
“I guess I do…sort of,” Wil admitted.
“…and sometimes it works,” the voice continued. “More often than not though, you will find an answer by simply asking the question and then being quiet. When this happens, you have not asked your brain. You have asked your heart. The heart will always provide the best answer provided the brain does not interfere.”

In many religions and spiritual teachings the heart is thought of as a special place. It is a deep area of feeling and emotion. It is an inner starting point for future intentions. A hardened heart is thought of as being blocked and unfeeling leading to hatred, an open heart is one of no resistance and open to love. A strong feeling heart is brave and able to overcome fear. A weak feeling heart lacks courage and faith.

In his book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond YourselfMichael A. Singer talks about the heart as being a special place that can be opened after being blocked by life circumstances. It is not the physical heart he refers to but a mysterious spiritual heart. A place where energy can flow or be stifled.

In his best seller book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle talks about getting in touch with your inner body.

I think the meaning of asking your heart for advice is to ask an inner part of ourselves that is connected to a larger consciousness that can give hints as to the direction one may take. It can be a subtle knowing inside of us or simply an instinct that speaks to us in a silent voice. Always let your conscience be your guide, taught Jiminy Cricket to Pinocchio. Where does the true conscious reside – in our brain, or somewhere deep inside of us that we cannot clearly define? Many say it is there in your heart.

In Eastern Religions it is said the body is divided into seven main channels of energy and that the heart area is the fourth and most central. They are called Chakras and are said to control the flow of Divine Energy and bridge the body between heaven and earth.

In my story about Wilunitus, I wanted to embrace this theme of following the heart to mean a bridge between him and the unseen forces of the Universe. A special power he could call on for strength and guidance. A means to harness his inner strength and extend it into his outside world.

In the world of fantasy it does not matter whether this power is real or imagined. In our own real world, faith in an inner part of ourselves that helps to motivate us to greatness, is something we all experience at some point in our lives.

Follow your heart means follow your inner voice, your instincts, your inner guide.

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

Carl. G. Jung