A Spirituality of the Heart

The mystical way of transformation as a spirituality of the heart is the understanding of our true self as a unified spirit, soul, and body. The heart dimension is the center of our spiritual/psychological/physical unity. A shift to the heart is necessary if we are to move beyond the inertia of fear that has infected consciousness and culture.

I will briefly discuss how the heart-centered way of mystical transformation is found across many spiritual and scientific ways of human transformation. This is not intended to be comprehensive of all heart centered spirituality, but to be a short example of the breadth of this knowledge. My model of mystical anthropology and transformation focuses on the heart spirituality of Pseudo-Macarius, Symeon the New Theologian, and Gregory Palamas. These Eastern Christian mystics developed a way of opening to the transformation of our whole person within the heart.

I integrate this mystic way of the heart with the contributions of western mystics Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross. Again, we see the emphasis of living within the heart and soul dimension as the way to transform to our true self in divine union. In contemporary science, we find the important contribution of the Institute of HeartMath to understanding the higher heart dimension and its syncrony with the mind and brain. From this type of scientific approach, we gain perspective on how our true self of love and creativity in the heart expresses itself through mind and body.

In the heart centered spiritual tradition of Kasmir Saivism, we find some similarities with the spirituality of the heart of the Christian mystics. Thomas Matus, in his book “Yoga and the Jesus Prayer Tradition” correlates the experience and thought of tenth century mystics Symeon the New Theologian and Abhinavagupta. Paul E. Murphy in “Triadic Mysticism: The Mystical Theology of Saivism of Kasmir” also relates this non-dual tradition to several schools within the Western Christian tradition.

When we open to the heart, we will become more aware of the universal true self and the various expressions of heart centered mystical transformation that have been lived throughout many spiritual and scientific traditions. The heart is both the unifying center and highest dimension of the human person where our true self of spirit, soul, and body unites with transcendent divinity.