The Layers of the Heart
Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Our emotional and spiritual heart is not straight forward. It has many dynamic layers that are very different from each other. There are four layers I will describe from the most gross and outer layers to the most subtle and inner layers.
The first and grossest most outer layer is the most dynamic layer. This is the layer that is involved in the dramas of our lives. When we are happy in our heart, when we are sad in our heart, when we hold anger in our heart when we hold darkness in our heart, this is the layer of the heart that covets and treasures. So when we say we have anger in our heart we are holding onto it, we are coveting it. When we have joy in our heart we treasure that. By treasuring we bring that thing into our hearts. When our hearts are broken this is also that layer, from which we need to allow for healing of our heart. This is the layer of our heart that is dynamic and as fallible as we are.
The second more subtle and inner layer of the heart is what is called the heart's intelligence. It is our conscience. It is that place in us that knows what the right thing to do is despite what our current desires might be. This is the place that tells us how to love and what we love, guiding our actions to bring about our life's fulfillment. It is the place where we know our true calling in life, and what recognizes when we are acting in a way that is superficial and is blocking our true expression. It is what recognizes what bring inner as well as outer harmony (see “The Heart as Harmony Intelligence”).
The third layer that is even more subtle is a passive but radiant layer that is our own preciousness. It is our very spiritual being and how it is cradled in the heart of the Divine. It is the place from which we love. All love is the breath of the Transcendent in the relative world, it is the way we know how all things have the Transcendent in common as their ultimate reality. Which is why harmony is always ultimately true amongst all things, and the heart is the intelligence of that harmony. However, our own unique love is what makes us uniquely divine. It is what we recognize as the preciousness of all people. Some traditions call this our soul, or our heart-mind. It is who we most truly are as an individual, despite whether we live up to that or not.
The fourth and final layer of our heart is the Divine Within. It is the very presence of the Transcendent that informs and underlies all of existence. It is this place in ourselves that meditation intends to bring to the fore, and the place from which all our spiritual life derives its meaning. When we rest our minds and reflect on the stillness within we are able to hear the whisper of the Transcendent within us, allowing us to expand our spiritual being and bring great bliss and wisdom to our lives.
Each layer from the grosser inward becomes more and more virtuous as you approach the Transcendent. It is as if you have four spheres, one within the next. And this not only describes our heart's structure but also its function, to bring the transcendent into the world of form through a personality. We are each a bridge to the transcendent in the manifest world. And all we need to do is point to our heart of hearts. May you grow in your understanding of the nature of the heart and all its layers that you may become refined in your own self knowledge and find your own way to embody the love of the Transcendent within you.