by Diane Brandon

Page 2 of 7


world” societies that have traditionally been more heart-centered toward developing

their rational, head-oriented faculties more (technical, analytical, etc.) – and thus embracing their wholeness.


 So, why aren’t we already “heart-open?”


 The Age of Reason has propelled our Western society increasingly into our heads.  And our contemporary materialistic focus has served to cement us there.  As we have become more “rational,” we have tended to discount and dismiss the “non-rational” (i.e., heart-centered faculties) as beneath us or as lesser attributes, and not to be relied upon.  The rational, empirical, and pragmatic alone are to be trusted.  Interestingly, even if we have tended to see ourselves as left brain or right brain, we are still viewing ourselves as in our heads, as these are still head-centered faculties.  (Of course, if we want to be head-centered, we could always be whole-brain, rather than half-brain!)


 Thus, our “rationalism” has led us to disown our feelings and live in our heads.  And, if we do get into our feelings, we tend to talk about them, rather than genuinely feel them.


 Certainly our age of specialization has led us to be more one-dimensional, relying on only one facet of ourselves and leading us to be less than we can really be.


When we layer in on top of these factors another influence that we have seen in our society in the last 30 years – that of hiding our feelings – it is easy to see why we are not more heart-open.  There has been increasing pressure in our society not to show our emotions (or “wear our hearts on our sleeves”) and thus be vulnerable.  We must protect ourselves by appearing “cool.”  This tendency has been further aided and abetted by our advertising and popular media that have encouraged us to be image-conscious.  In addition, increasing urbanization and crowding, and an increasing crime rate have led us to protect ourselves by putting our emotional armor on and erecting walls between ourselves and others.


 And, if we’re not image-conscious or acting cool, we may have closed down emotionally.  The extreme emotional sensitivity and past pains of some of us may have led us to feel pain more easily than pleasure or happiness.  Our hearts may have become figuratively scarred (because we’re scared?) – and closed off. 


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