The Heart of the Matter

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Jac
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The Heart of the Matter

Post by Jac »

I have never started a new topic before and am a bit nervous about it to be honest.
I have been thinking about this for a while. What exactly is "the heart"? People talk about it all the time on this site and there appears to be a common understanding what is meant. But I would be interested to discuss what exactly that is. After all the heart is a pump, not really an organ for thinking, feeling, knowing etc. That as I understand it is the job of the mind.
I suspect what is meant is that part of the mind that is honest with ourselves, that receives truth, that knows and processes what is right and good and true and is the source of and processing centre of our real feelings. But I am unsure how we know when we are responding to our "heart" or something more deceptive. Is conscience a part of the "heart" or something different again.
Then again there is the expression "getting to the heart of the matter" which suggests the heart is "the focal, central, or most important element of a topic, problem, or issue". Is the "heart" referring more to what is really central and important and opposed to what is trivial and shallow?
Or is it all those things and more?
I realise every group of people has a language where things are understood automatically by the group. When someone joins a group they learn and internalise that language. I think it is important though to be sure and clear to one another about what is meant by that language.
Hope I am making sense!
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AidaC
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by AidaC »

What a great topic! Thank you for starting it. Of course, I know what I mean when I talk about the heart or at least I think I do. :? Putting it into words, however, may be tricky.
Jac wrote: I suspect what is meant is that part of the mind that is honest with ourselves, that receives truth, that knows and processes what is right and good and true and is the source of and processing centre of our real feelings.
I like how you describe it I but I believe the heart is neither the mind nor the emotions. I view it as a bridge that is meant to connect mind to emotions so that they function as one. It's the center of our being that is connected to God where we as you said, "process what is right and good and true."

I can't wait to hear what the others have to say.
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by Noblemen »

Wow I have to agree with Aida great topic, and from are very own Jac. I was just saying to you don't under estimate yourself, we know more then we realize.
Well point in case I am blown away in a way but what you have said I myself must let this question roll around on the inside of me like a pinball LOL, I know now you have been holding back.
I'm teasing some but thank you for letting your mind work, as I was reading I was going wow that's good, this is good, I agree with that, I see this, good job.
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Post by ianstephenson »

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Jac
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by Jac »

Thankyou folks for your kind replies
That link was fascinating! So were several other articles that came up as related suggestions. We certainly are complicated beings.
I wonder how the heart becomes "corrupted" in people guilty of terrible crimes, both as individuals and as whole groups and nations. Or even in ourselves when we behave in unkind or selfish ways. Do our choices (both good and not so good) leave residual effects on our future choices so that no choice is ever made in isolation. If there is such a process I wonder what can reverse it when it is negative and enhance it when it is positive. Is love, both giving and receiving, some of the key? Maybe even a small act of kindness does really have far reaching effects on both the giver and receiver and on from there to countless others in a kind of web that actually connects us all.
I wonder if religion with its conrol and all its judgemantalism and self-righteousness etc and even the atrocities committed in the name of religion (including Christianity) is one of the forces actually driving all the evil in the world, while learning the way of love with or without the name of Christianity is the biggest force for good.
The way of love is not that simple because it too can be corrupted by self interest, partiality, enabling rather than truly loving etc.
Also is the role of remorse and forgiveness far more powerful than we realise, reverberating through that web?
Is our conscience the God-given regulater of our contribution to the connecting web that can become "seared" the more we ignore it, or equally corrupted by false guilt?
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teresap
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by teresap »

I did a quick look up and it seems that the heart is capable of good and bad so I'm no further forward in my understanding after that exercise. . . .and maybe that's the point.
Christians have tried since the birth of Christianity to package God, salvation and all of the myriad thoughts and questions that stem from that, into bite sized pieces of explanations that make sense of everything. But just like trying to package liquid, I don't think God can be understood like that. Hence we think we have something sorted only to find there are loose ends which somehow don't quite fit.
For my part I don't believe that God can ever be comprehended by our mind. Yes we can understand certain facets and see some things about him but I think that he is meant to be experienced on a spiritual level . .and trying to define what that is is even harder or impossible.
So what do we do? We long to have our questions answered but actually I wonder if what we really want is to KNOW (caps intentional) that we are loved by him, that he really does love us without judgment and that we are safe and secure for ever. I know when I can get a glimpse of that everything else is insignificant.
Can we understand what is happening in our lives, in this world, whilst we are members of this human race? I don't think so, I really don't think our mind is capable of seeing, it's as though we are looking at a tiny dot and the whole of the universe is out there. Maybe It's not important that we do know, if it were then we would. I don't believe this life is a series of tests that we pass or fail,but what it is I'm unable to say.
for myself, I am trying to believe that God has everything under control and that one day all will become clear.
I've given up trying , or I'm trying to stop trying :-)
I think we all have individual journeys each uniquely tailored to fit so that God has us exactly where he wants us to be. Life isn't about mental processes, it's about living, about being human and being connected, whether we feel it or not, to Love. That sums it up for me, I'm connected to Love and even in my darker times when I feel set adrift on a sea of doubt, there's something within that keeps popping up and let's me know that despite everything God's love will triumph. I can't understand it but thankfully it's bigger than me.
I know I've rambled . . . .apologies . . . Love Teresa x
If you ask God a question be prepared for him to lead you (very gently) outside of your comfort zone.
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by Noblemen »

teresap wrote:I did a quick look up and it seems that the heart is capable of good and bad so I'm no further forward in my understanding after that exercise. . . .and maybe that's the point.
Christians have tried since the birth of Christianity to package God, salvation and all of the myriad thoughts and questions that stem from that, into bite sized pieces of explanations that make sense of everything. But just like trying to package liquid, I don't think God can be understood like that. Hence we think we have something sorted only to find there are loose ends which somehow don't quite fit.
For my part I don't believe that God can ever be comprehended by our mind. Yes we can understand certain facets and see some things about him but I think that he is meant to be experienced on a spiritual level . .and trying to define what that is is even harder or impossible.
So what do we do? We long to have our questions answered but actually I wonder if what we really want is to KNOW (caps intentional) that we are loved by him, that he really does love us without judgment and that we are safe and secure for ever. I know when I can get a glimpse of that everything else is insignificant.
Can we understand what is happening in our lives, in this world, whilst we are members of this human race? I don't think so, I really don't think our mind is capable of seeing, it's as though we are looking at a tiny dot and the whole of the universe is out there. Maybe It's not important that we do know, if it were then we would. I don't believe this life is a series of tests that we pass or fail,but what it is I'm unable to say.
for myself, I am trying to believe that God has everything under control and that one day all will become clear.
I've given up trying , or I'm trying to stop trying :-)
I think we all have individual journeys each uniquely tailored to fit so that God has us exactly where he wants us to be. Life isn't about mental processes, it's about living, about being human and being connected, whether we feel it or not, to Love. That sums it up for me, I'm connected to Love and even in my darker times when I feel set adrift on a sea of doubt, there's something within that keeps popping up and let's me know that despite everything God's love will triumph. I can't understand it but thankfully it's bigger than me.
I know I've rambled . . . .apologies . . . Love Teresa x
Oh how wonderful, I didnt know what else to say lol I'm bad. I mean that in a good way Miss Teresa.
I say never stop trying, but your right in my opinion there are things we will never know just because were to nosie lol. And things we may just find out if we hunger after our Father, my 2 cents like always.
Believe it or not, yea kinda like Ripley, I do know a little more than when I started out 30 years ago.
I went from knowing nothing one night, I mean I didnt know God even existed, to being born again the next day. Now I didnt know what happened or even the word born again but I new, yes me, knew that I was not the same person.
I freaked, I was so happy, I knew nothing but gang life and drugs and thugury, ugly nasty world out there.
Now I'm just little old Clarke Kent that comes out of the phone booth and religion has a big problem with that.
But you know what Im free and ill never stop seeking my Father. When we all get to heaven if its anything like I think its going to be, im running up to my Father and im not turning loose.
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AidaC
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by AidaC »

Teresa, that was absolutely brilliant!
teresap wrote: Christians have tried since the birth of Christianity to package God, salvation and all of the myriad thoughts and questions that stem from that, into bite sized pieces of explanations that make sense of everything. But just like trying to package liquid, I don't think God can be understood like that. Hence we think we have something sorted only to find there are loose ends which somehow don't quite fit.
We try to put God in a box only to discover that parts of him don't fit and are sticking out so religion has come up with all sorts of doctrines trying to explain these disparities. Like you said, I don't believe we'll ever fully understand him or this world that we live in. I believe faith is learning to accept the unexplainable and being comfortable with it.
teresap wrote: for myself, I am trying to believe that God has everything under control and that one day all will become clear.
So much wisdom in that statement. Recently, as I was worrying about an issue, I asked myself if I was going to trust God and, when I made a decision I was, the stress left. When I look at the world around me, I can easily begin to doubt but I've made a decision that whatever I see, God's got it under control. It may not always seem that way to my human eye but my vision is very limited so I can't really make a wise judgment.

For me, I've discovered that trusting God no matter what I see or feel relieves the stress. I don't have to have all of the answers. All I have to do is live my life as it presents itself and trust that God will take care of the rest.
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by Jac »

teresap wrote:
So what do we do? We long to have our questions answered but actually I wonder if what we really want is to KNOW (caps intentional) that we are loved by him, that he really does love us without judgment and that we are safe and secure for ever. I know when I can get a glimpse of that everything else is insignificant.
I guess I have tried to see it that way but something in me keeps saying, "Tell that to a child or baby being tortured and even murdered by an abusive parent. Or the many people living in horrendous circumstances with no relief or escape. Or to someone who has just lost several family members in a terrible accident." The list goes on. I just can't seem to appropriate God's love as the answer for ME with my troubles and sorrows when I can't see it as the answer for EVERYONE, now and in the past and everywhere. That includes old testament times when God even ordered genocide, and once for the Israelites to kill all the males and non-virgin women and take the virgins and girls for themselves. I can't even imagine what those girls went through! I can either not believe that the old testament is true, even historically (they were people too then) or that God simply does not love everybody. I just can't say God was different then or they deserved it or He didn't love them because they weren't chosen. Seeing MY position as loved and safe and secure for ever somehow feels kind of selfish, as if I think it is only all about ME.
I also cannot rest that everything will work out in the end because I believe some things are just bad with no good outcomes, as if God just can't intervene for some reason only He knows. Unless the good outcome will one day be just understanding why He couldn't intervene and that He weeps with us?
My daughter wondered if God experiences conflict when He intervenes, or not, or chooses how He intervenes, because every choice has some undesirable repercussions. How does He choose which way to go? Interesting.
I don't want to think God is like an abusive parent who turns around and tells the abused children He loves them and expects them to believe it. I prefer to think He weeps with us as a parent would weep with a hurting child. For me without that empathy God's love could not be complete.
I wonder if Jesus showed that empathy with us when He cried out, "my God, my God why have you forsaken me?" We sometimes feel that way too.
I believe empathy is greatly missing in the world, even amongst believers, because if we think God tells us to grin and bear it without question (or even like it!) and that everything is meant for good, that is what we tell others instead of just sharing their sorrow. I know there are wonderful stories about God comforting and strengthening people and even intervening in adversity but there are many stories about people who have been crushed or bewildered or felt abandoned in adversity. And there are people who know nothing about God and His love but who reach within to find courage and find meaning in life.
I am not meaning to say that knowing we are loved is not the answer in some basic way. But I just can't see it as simple. I agree there are infinite things we cannot expect to know and understand but I can't stop striving to understand and answer at least some of my questions as much as possible. But am I living from the mind instead of the heart, whatever exactly that is? Why did God give me that pesky mind? I just can't turn it off can I? Lol!
OK, I know I can't blame God! It is just me!
(I am rambling better than you Teresa.! I am an expert at that!) love Jenny.
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by teresap »

Hi Jenny,
I wish I had the answers for you but I don't . . .and I'm pretty sure no-one else will have them either. The questions you raise are those I believe we all face if we think enough about what we believe and look at that in relation to the whole world but I believe that there isn't a one size fits all answer but rather the answer or not to the questions is part of our individual walk.
One thing I have learned over the years is that my mind is not my friend and definitely not all of my reasonings are to my benefit. It's felt at times that my mind has been a torture chamber of fears and panics that have reduced me to jelly at times so just because I think something now, I don't accept it as the truth or being good for me.
I have no doubt that you will get the answers to your questions . . .which is fine for me to say but doesn't make it easier for you to walk this walk but I'm sure that one day we will be able to stand together with a smile on our faces and our hearts filled with love and be able to say "Ah . . . now I understand".
Love to you and hugs . . .a fellow traveller . . .x
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by Jac »

Hi Teresa. Thankyou for your patience and your kind reply. I really felt loved reading your words
I know most of my questions have no real answers this side of the grave. I guess sometimes I try to share them to let others know where I am at. Maybe too, I just sometimes want to know I am not alone. (and often I just want to know what is really God's business and not for sticky beaks to know!)
In my walk, I do find my mind is my friend. Heartache and sorrow and anxiety dominate me so much and it is only thinking things through that kind of rescues me from the big black hole of despair (or a sojourn in hospital!!) But thinking too much has its downside when I want to know or explain what can't be known.
I think when I started this topic I was basically curious about "heart" as it relates to mind and emotions and actions. It has been great to see folks' ideas on the subject. I appreciate everyone's sharing.
I wonder if we will say one day "now I understand" or instead "now I am happy to be who I am and not understand". Either way I think the smiles and the love will be there! And probably a few passing tears as well, gently and lovingly wiped away. And regrets and hurts and remorse wrapped in swathes of forgiveness and love. And laughter, lots of laughter.
Love and hugs
Jenny.
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by Jac »

I guess am still unsure what the heart really means. Maybe I don't have one? Lol. Also understanding on a spiritual level is something I just don't get. Maybe I am not really a believer and should just give up. Not funny!
I am in a bit of a bleak mood because a situation that had all come together so well and was such a thing to encourage me has all gone to sh**. Sorry. My husbands four-by-two philosophy true again. Just when you think things are on the up, that figurative lump of wood comes crashing down to knock you over. Sorry. Maybe I shouldn't post this. I don't know. It is where I am really at though even though I probably should not burden others with the details of my pathetic journey. I know this site is meant to be positive and encouraging and I am way out of line. I will delete this if people are upset by it.
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Post by ianstephenson »

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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by AidaC »

While we all appreciate encouraging posts, our hope in this forum is that we would grow together as an authentic community of believers. We all have struggles and doubts and it's our hope that we can all freely share them here. We may not always have any answers but maybe just sharing the good times as well as the bad will help.
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Re: The Heart of the Matter

Post by teresap »

Hi Jac,
What a horrible time you are having. . . . I'm just glad that you are able to say how you are really feeling and I' m sure no one will be offended by your post, there's nothing offensive in it.
You have people rooting and praying for you and sometimes we are just unable to carry the problems by ourselves so we're here for you.
As always . . much love . . Teresa X
If you ask God a question be prepared for him to lead you (very gently) outside of your comfort zone.
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