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Heartfulness

Beyond Mindfulness,
Finding Your Real Life

DR STEPHEN MCKENZIE

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Contents

Part 1

Discovering heartfulness,
and why it is
worth discovering

1 Find your heartfulness-opening potential

2 Home is where the heartfulness is

3 Connecting heart and mindfulness

4 What does heartfulness look like, and feel like?

Part 2

Paths to heartfulness

5 Kindness

6 Adversity

7 Humour

8 Contentment

9 Love

10 Courage

11 Knowledge

12 Hope

13 Creativity

Part 3

New Heartful Horizons

14 Coming home to heartfulness

15 Find your new heartfulness-opening potential

16 Some more heartfulness-opening resources

The history of your happiness is the history of your feeling connected.

Vironika Tugaleva, The Love Mindset

First published 2016

Exisle Publishing Pty Ltd
‘Moonrising', Narone Creek Road, Wollombi, NSW 2325, Australia
P.O. Box 60-490, Titirangi, Auckland 0642, New Zealand
www.exislepublishing.com

Copyright © 2016 in text: Dr Stephen McKenzie

Dr Stephen McKenzie asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

All rights reserved. Except for short extracts for the purpose of
review, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise,
without prior written permission from the publisher.

A CiP record for this book is available from the National Library of Australia.

Print ISBN 978-1-925335-00-2
ePub ISBN 978-1-77559-281-5

Design and typesetting by Big Cat Design

Disclaimer

While this book is intended as a general information resource and
all care has been taken in compiling the contents, this book does not
take account of individual circumstances and is not a substitute for
professional advice. Neither the author nor the publisher and their
distributors can be held responsible for any loss, claim or action that
may arise from reliance on the information contained in this book.

Dedication

To our fathers, including:

Stephen's — Graham

Gareth's — David

Benny's — Charlie

Anouska's — John

Part 1

Discovering
Heartfulness, And
Why It Is Worth
Discovering

CHAPTER 1

Find your heartfulness – opening potential

Great problems allow great solutions.

 

Are you as happy as you can be?

Do you have as much peace of mind as you can have?

Do you have as much peace of heart as you can have?

Do you realize the vital connection between your mind and your heart?

Are you fully alive?

If you answered ‘yes' to the above questions, congratulations. Please keep reading, because this book will help you help other people to be really aware, really connected, really human, really alive and really happy.

If you answered ‘no' to the above questions, congratulations, you have a wonderful opportunity to live more fully, deeply and happily, by realising what is getting in your way. Please keep reading, because this book will help you remember your connection with the source of your happiness, health, awareness, acceptance, love and life.

This book is for you, no matter who you are, or who you think you are.

This book will help you be really aware, really connected, really human, really alive and really happy.

We don't have to learn about light, or understand it or believe in it, to experience it and to benefit from it. We don't have to learn about heartfulness, or understand it or believe in it, to experience it and to benefit from it — we only have to allow it. Being heartful simply means being fully connected — with ourselves and with other people — and therefore fully alive.

Heartfulness isn't just for people who believe in it, or for people who believe in anything. Heartfulness is for all people, no matter what they believe. Heartfulness gives us all a way out — of our mind-made disconnections and stresses; and a way in — to our natural flow of connectedness, peace and happiness. Reconnecting with who we really are, together, is the greatest journey we can make, so let's begin.

Heartfulness-opening potential Test

Before we start on our journey home to heartfulness, you are invited to take this heartfulness-opening potential test (HOP), because it can help you find out what you need to know about yourself and about other people.

Answer each of the following nine questions on a scale from

1 — Not at all, to 10 — Totally

The more honest you are, the more valid the test.

1. How kind are you?

1    2    3    4    5    6   7    8    9    10

2. How well do you respond to adversity?

1    2    3    4    5    6   7    8    9    10

3. How good-humoured are you?

1    2    3    4    5    6   7    8    9    10

4. How content are you?

1    2    3    4    5    6   7    8    9    10

5. How loving are you?

1    2    3    4    5    6   7    8    9    10

6. How courageous are you?

1    2    3    4    5    6   7    8    9    10

7. How knowledgeable are you?

1    2    3    4    5    6   7    8    9    10

8. How hopeful are you?

1    2    3    4    5    6   7    8    9    10

9. How creative are you?

1    2    3    4    5    6   7    8    9    10

Calculate your Heartfulness-opening potential

HOP Step 1: Add up the points that you scored out of 10 for each question.

HOP Step 2: Subtract your added-up score from 90.

The higher your HOP score, the greater your potential to open your heartfulness. You can take this test again after reading this book to discover whether anything has changed.

CHAPTER 2

Home is where the heartfulness is

In Asian languages, the word for ‘mind' and the word

for ‘heart' are the same word... So when you hear

the word ‘mindfulness', if you're not in some sense

automatically hearing the word ‘heartfulness' you're

misunderstanding it. And mindfulness in any event is

not a concept; it's a way of being. And it's a way of

being awake.

Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn – interview with Krista Tippett

 

What have we progressed to?
What have we gained?
What have we lost?
Why did we lose it?
How can we get it back?

There are many wonderful and inspiring stories about people desperately searching everywhere for something important that they think they have lost, and then finally finding it at home. These include stories of discovery and creativity, and healing and hope, and they can be our stories. Our stories naturally end happily when we remember our way home — to our source, our centre, our essence, our heart. Heartfulness is our way home.

A small story

There was a time when I didn't have enough time, or thought I didn't. There was a time when I was a commuter and spent my time saving time; I still don't know why. I was a member of the time herd, charging every morning and evening up stairs and escalators that led from darkness to light, and from light to darkness.

In the mornings we charged up from a subterranean station and mind-set into the light of another working day. We were all going in the same direction except for a short man who looked tall as he stood facing us at the entrance to the light, as we arrived foryet another working day. He was homeless jet not workless, his job was selling us The Big Issue, a fortnightly publication that helps the homeless afford homes and gives us a new way of looking at life.

'Welcome, all you miserable-looking people, to the outside world!'

One time, as I engaged in a Grand Prix passing manoeuvre that saved me yet another sad second, it struck me that we can change perspectives as easily as we can change clothes or moods or gears.

There was a time when we were timeless. How can we re-discover what it'is like to join the human race, and stop trying to win it?

Coming home

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

TS Eliot, ‘Little Gidding'

How long has it been since someone asked you if you are happy? Maybe someone asked you if you are keeping busy, or if you are stressed, or even if you share the same stress as everyone else seems to have. But none of these is the same as being happy.

We have progressed a long way since we left our caves, and before that our trees, our oceans, and our universal oneness — but how far have we come? It is true that we live longer now on average than we used to, and most of us are happy enough to be alive for as long as we can be, or at least consider it a better bet than its alternative. But are we really happy?

Are we really happy with our progressively more powerful drugs and therapies and technologies, when we also have progressively higher rates of addiction, pollution, stress, suicide, anxiety, depression, insomnia and general undiagnosed misery?

What price have we paid for our technical progress? What diabolical deal have we done? Most of us have more material wealth now than our predecessors had, but do we have more life richness? Most of us have gizmos that allow us to talk to people a long way away from us, but can we talk to the person sitting in the next train seat or workstation? Most of us are megabyte millionaires, but are we rich in experience? We can access innumerable websites and apps, but are we really connected?

Lost paradises and diabolical deals are not recent inventions. The English poet Milton famously wrote about Paradise Lost and much less famously about Paradise Regained in the seventeenth century. The German dramatist Goethe famously wrote about someone selling his soul in Dr Faustus in the nineteenth century. Stories about our falling from divine grace or doing a sucker's deal or losing our way home or stuffing up our lives are as old as Adam and Eve, and even older. There is a Greek myth about an ancient Greek god called Prometheus who gave us fire, symbolising thought, after which Zeus, the leader of the gods, punished him severely for giving us this mixed blessing.

About 2500 years ago, great life teachers emerged at about the same time in northern India (Gautama the Buddha), China (Lao Tzu) and ancient Greece (Socrates and Plato). This proliferation of practical human help probably wasn't random, it probably happened because cities were emerging, and with them the stresses and disconnections that this ‘progress' from our traditional life has caused. We have been stressed for a long time by the emergence of cities, and quite possibly well before that by the emergence of other major lifestyle changes. However, our great modern problem isn't that we have lost our natural paradise, but that we have forgotten where to find it.

Before we can find the lost paradise of our full human potential, however, we need to solve the great cosmic whodunit mystery. Why did we lose what's most important to us? This is the human equivalent to the great dinosaur disappearance whodunit, and solving it is vitally important to our happiness and health. Fortunately, some clues have been discovered by our great human help systems, otherwise known as our great philosophies and religions. These practical and powerful life manuals have had their vital ingredients extracted and re-branded, and been sold back to us as modern panaceas, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Indeed, CBT was described by Marcus Aurelius about 2000 years before it was ‘invented':

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to jour estimate of it; and this jou have the power to revoke at any moment.

Mindfulness is another popular modern re-branding of an eternal truth, described in Mindfulness for Life1 as an ‘overnight lifestyle and clinical sensation that is thousands of years old'.

Extracting modern meaning from ancient knowledge systems has caused us huge problems that we are only now beginning to realize, such as the collective loss of our meaningful living context, or heart. All of these ancient knowledge systems tell us things that are remarkably simple, so simple that they can get lost in their translations into complicated theories and self-help strategies. What makes us happy, or rather what allows us to be happy, is simple connection with other people. What makes us unhappy is ... disconnection. We lose heart and heartfulness when we lose our connection with who we really are, together, in who we think we are, alone.

All roads lead to home, eventually …

Where Thou Art, That is Home.

Emily Dickinson, ‘Where Thou Art, That Is Home'

Don't worry if you don't know what's wrong with your life, and don't worry if you do. Don't even worry if you're worried — that's just what our minds do because it's their job, they are worry factories.

We can regain the paradise of living in our heartland. How? How do we trade back up to what we have cheated ourselves out of? How can we be truly happy, fulfilled, at peace and also genuinely productive, when we are living in a time when religions are old, philosophy is sick, families are unfashionable, medicine has lost heart, God is misunderstood, psychiatry is going mad, law is losing its appeal, science is losing its magic, and Oprah has retired ... ? What do we do next?

There is a way into suffering and there is a way out of it. And the way out is in the last place that we would think to look for it, because our way out is actually our way in, to our human heart.

Our Way home — nine paths to heartfulness

When we are heartful, we are fully alive and living in light, lightness and delight. There are nine paths to heartfulness, which we will now explore:

imageskindness

imagesadversity

imageshumour

imagescontentment

imageslove

imagescourage

imagesknowledge

imageshope

imagescreativity.

We can't become heartful because we already are heartful. Realising our natural heartfulness — our connectedness — lets us live in this infinite loving space rather than in our mind-made neurotic claustrophobia. Heartfulness gives us a brave new world of opportunities to live life as it really is, rather than keeping wanting to live it as something else. It might seem as if we are hanging onto so much baggage in our bodies, minds and hearts that we can never let it go; however, our heaviest baggage is actually the easiest to let go, once we realize that it's just baggage.

It doesn't matter which of the nine paths to heartfulness we follow, because all heartful paths lead to home, when we stay on them.

A small story

I was once walking down a mountain in Dharakot in India with a friend. I had just bought a book at an ancient monastery that I was very much looking forward to reading. Out of nowhere, a group of monkeys appeared in the forest in front of us, and this gave me such a fright that I dropped the book. One of the monkeys grabbed the book and ran off into the forest with it. I gave chase. Suddenly the monkey with the book stopped running, and a very big monkey next to it bared its very large teeth at me. I looked at the now large group of monkeys, and they looked at me. I was paralysed with fear and indecision. In that moment, Kylie's voice connected with me from down the mountain: ‘Let it go, Doc, just let it go!'

I realized that, despite my attachment, all that I had lost was an object, and I walked away. Maybe the monkey responded to the same voice, because it dropped the book and left with the other monkeys. I picked up the book and went home. I don't remember what the book purported to be about, however I now realize what it was really about — heartfulness.

We all have a story about losing something that we think is valuable, and then realising that we didn't lose anything valuable at all, because what's of real value is always where it always was — in our hearts.

Another small story

I was about 30 years old when I learned that I had lost something that I hadn't previously realized the real value of: a friend from my youth. Although I had not seen him in years, he had once been a big part of my life and he still meant a lot to me. That he was gone, and so young, was a huge loss, even though he had played no part in my daily life for so long. My mind stampeded against its barriers because it couldn't accept that what had happened had happened.

However, after frantically searching through my mind for what I thought I had lost, I realized that I could never find what I was really looking for there. When I stopped searching I allowed a real discovery — that love is never lost. My friend would always live on in my heart.

The bottomless line

Our human story is a story of hope. Our great problems can force our great solutions when we open our eyes and see, and open our minds and understand, and open our hearts and love.

References and further reading

1 McKenzie, S and Hassed, C. (2012). Mindfulness for Life. Exisle, Wollombi.

2 McKenzie, S. (2013). Mindfulness at Work. Exisle, Wollombi.

CHAPTER 3

Connecting heart and mindfulness

There is much more to being mindful than just being

in the present moment. You have to be in the present

moment with a clear mind, and a mind that is in

assessment mode, and that's when the wise advocate

part of the mind makes it much more of a genuine

mindfulness, because mindfulness in the genuine

tradition has always been the guardian of the mind

... against false thoughts and distracting impulse. You

need the assessment aspect,.that's very important. Just

being in the present with distracting impulses, that's

not enough! What they call mindfulness wouldn't

work over the long term in such an adulterated form.

Dr Jeffrey Schwartz—from an interview with the author on Life,, what's in it for me?
94.7 The Pulse fM, Decker. 2014

 

Can we insult someone mindfully?

Can we commit a crime mindfully?

Can we even commit murder mindfully?

If we direct our awareness to our bad actions, really feel the sensations in our body as we commit them, and fully accept them, is this mindfulness? There is more to mindfulness than directing our awareness, being fully aware of the present moment as experienced via our bodily sensations, and accepting what we are aware of. True mindfulness occurs in a broad human context of:

images our connection with other people and our deep level of being, which naturally connects us with other people, and

images the human help systems, or belief systems, that give us the whole of mindfulness, not just the bits of it that we have extracted because they seem to help us most and fastest.

One of the great human help traditions from which mindfulness has emerged is Buddhism. The essence of mindfulness has also been described in Christianity and in many other human help systems. One of the Asian words that the great mindfulness/heartfulness researcher and popularizer Dr Jon Kabat Zin said could be translated as heartfulness, as well as mindfulness, is sati, which is from Gautama the Buddha's language, Pali. This word has been translated as ‘awareness', and is described as the spiritual, psychological or essential human capacity we need in order to be enlightened.

According to Buddhism, it is not enough just to have sati, which has recently reincarnated into modern techniques such as acceptance therapy. Instead, we need ‘correct' sati or ‘sammā-sati'. This broadens mindfulness from its modern and increasingly limited manifestation, and links it with morality (sila) and wisdom (panya). Deep life wisdom includes the vital understanding that all things pass at a surface level, and also never pass at a deeper, essential, eternal level.

So while we can commit crimes mindfully according to the adulterated meaning of the term, we can't according to the original meaning — we can't commit crimes or other harmful actions heartfully.

The heart of the mindfulness matter

Your vision will become clear only when you look

into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who

looks inside, awakens.

Carl Jung

Mindfulness has become extremely popular. This is because it is the natural antidote to the damaging side-effects of a modern world, which is progressing rapidly towards more communal stress and less community. Mindfulness helps us live our lives happily, peacefully and productively, and it can help us prevent, manage and heal many of our psychological and physical problems. Mindfulness helps us be without requiring us to be anything in particular, or to believe anything in particular. We don't need to have faith in mindfulness for it to work — at work, at home and at play — and we don't need to join a particular organisation or belief system to practise it and benefit from it. Mindfulness can almost be seen as a universal panacea. It is:

imagesfree as well as freeing,

imagesanyone can practise it, and

imagesit has no side effects.

So why then aren't we all mindful? To answer this question we need to look at what mindfulness includes and doesn't include, and we need to look at the relationship between our minds and our hearts. The reason why the ancient words for the mind and the heart were the same is that these were once seen as totally connected, just as we were once seen as totally connected.

Mindfulness isn't a recent invention, despite its recent popularity. It's actually not any kind of invention, because it is our natural state, and it was given to us to discover or actually re-discover by ancient traditions. Mindfulness is typically presented as a technique that will help us achieve highly useful outcomes such as increased health and happiness and productivity; however, it is really much more than this.

Mindfulness the word and mindfulness the product are not mindfulness the essence, just as our name and our jobs aren't our essence. Many people who have turned to what they think mindfulness offers are now looking for new self-help toys, because we want more than a technique, no matter how useful. What we really want is something that is complete, and true, and therefore eternal, so that we will never lose its benefits. Therefore, mindfulness needs to evolve back to its original state to reach its full potential, so that it can help us evolve back to our original state to reach our full potential.

Some modern mindfulness maladies

Problems with the modern iteration of mindfulness include its:

imagesName: The word ‘mindfulness' means the opposite of what mindfulness really is. Being mindful means having a clear, undistracted and open mind, not a full one. ‘Mindlessness' is actually closer to what ‘mindfulness' really means.

imagesPackaging: In the interests of universality, or rather in the interests of appealing to everyone, or of not offending anyone, mindfulness has been packaged as a stand-alone technique. However, it is really a living component of the great human help systems that it came from.

imagesLack of connectedness: Mindfulness the self-help technique doesn't get to the essence or heart of what is really wrong with us, and what can and will be really right with us. Mindfulness the self-help technique does not fully connect us with other people or with ourselves.

imagesEmphasis on ‘mind' rather than on ‘full': Mindfulness has come to mean being mindful of our minds, and occasionally our bodies, and we have forgotten our hearts. This means that we have forgotten the deep connections that make mindfulness and life real. Mindfulness in its modern Western manifestation matches our obsession with our minds.

We have also attached meditation to our obsession with our minds and with 'de-stressing' them. This often means actively and exhaustingly sorting ourselves out, trying to make our thoughts better than they are, rather than just resting in awareness and acceptance of our passing thought parade. This is why so many of us still need the living traditions and examples of wise men and women from the East, who brought with them much more than gold, frankincense and myrrh. Connecting with our heart and our home has never gone out of fashion in the heartful homelands.

In short, modern mindfulness has lost heart.

Taking heartfulness

If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your

heart, it's fruitless to stand there and yell at the person.

It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that

there's an arrow in your heart ...

Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

We can link words like ‘mind' and ‘heart' and even ‘soul', which the ancient Greeks called psyche (the origin of the word ‘psychology', the study of the mind) and what these words are meant to describe. We can do this by peeling away what we think they mean until all we have left is what we know they mean: our experience of them. When we do this we are on a fantastic journey to the centre of our being, and we will eventually arrive at the heart of our matter. Heartfulness is a word that links with other key human words and describes what it truly and deeply and essentially is to be human.

Heartfulness is our missing link between our great and greatly misunderstood life knowledge systems, such as psychology, philosophy and religion. It is also our missing link between self-help and self-discovery.

Heartfulness is our living connection with:

imagespsychology's (Abraham Maslow's) self-actualisation — we are happy when we are living our life to our full potential

imagesBuddhism's essential teaching that we are all enlightened, when we wake up to our real selves

imagesChristianity's essential teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is within

imagesVedantic philosophy's essential teaching that we are ‘not two'

imagesyoga's connection between mind, body and spirit

imagesLao Tzu's going with the flow

imagesSocrates' ‘I know nothing', and even, much more recently, Paul Newman as Cool Hand Luke's ‘sometimes nothing is a real cool hand!', and

imagesmindfulness's non-judgemental awareness and acceptance of our bodily sensations — with heartfulness we can also be non-judgementally aware and accepting of our emotions and their reasons, which can result in sensation storms that can blow us away, if we don't know what they are.

The bottomless line

At the heart of our living matter is space — nothingness. Pure consciousness. This turns into our mind and then our brain and then our behaviours, and is Shakespeare's ‘stuff that dreams are made on'. To be heartful is to live life from its core, from its deep essence that connects all of us and allows us to be, and to be happy, fulfilled and free, together. To be heartful is to live from our infinite space, and to enjoy not only an open mind, but an open heart.

References and further reading

1 McKenzie, S and Hassed, C. (2012). Mindfulness for Life. Exisle, Wollombi.