The Way of the Heart Part 10: Awakening to Direct Knowledge – the Divine Cardio Workout

This continues my series on Cynthia Bourgeault‘s recent day-session at the Servant Leadership School of Greensboro. You can start reading right here, or scroll below to see the previous sessions. BTW, Cynthia was just named Master Teacher at the Rohr Institute’s Living School for Action and Contemplation!  

In the ancient anatomies, the overwhelming emotions we now ascribe to the heart they ascribed to the liver. “Won’t you be my liver lover?” – not found on a Hallmark card.

Robert Sardello (of Benson, NC) – the heart is the seat of spiritual knowing, connects to direct knowing; not leaping into the dark, but seeing in the dark. Direct knowing is invisible to the five senses of linear causality – things become not only crystal clear to the heart, but morally binding. (Sardello: Emotion is stuck feeling. Feeling: great sweeps and flows… a deep feeling stuck to a small story of self is an emotion. When it gets really stuck it’s a passion. “The problem with the passions is that they divide the heart.” “I see/I want/I have to have/I hate/I can’t live without ___.”

A profound anthropology of the heart that arises from the inner tradition of the Abrahamic faiths – coming to fruition in Sufism.

Kabir Helminski “We have subtle subconscious faculties we are not using. Beyond the limited analytic intellect is a vast realm of mind that includes psychic and extrasensory abilities, intuition; wisdom; a sense of unity; aesthetic, qualitative, and symbolic capacities. Though these faculties are many, we give them a single name with some justification because they are operating best when they are in concert. They comprise a mind, moreover, in spontaneous connection with the cosmic mind. This total mind we call “heart.” (See

What if your heart is a hologram of the divine heart?

What if it’s an instantiation, faithfully reproducing the whole?

Are we talking about a metaphor? Liberal theology treats the heart as a metaphor for ‘the whole person.’ But there’s groundbreaking scientific work done in neurocardiology reinforcing that we cannot just dismiss the physical heart. It’s the locus where all of this touches down. (

Sardello: The heart is physiological, psychological, and spiritual. The heart’s resonances are important in showing us what’s going on. We know conclusively that the heart is not just a pump. It’s more than anything else an electromagnetic resonator; it not only harmonizes the body, but it harmonizes with the greater bodies of communities and planetary bodies.

Neuro-hormonal connections exist between heart and brain; heart cells and brain cells are interspersed throughout the entire body.

“The cosmos is huge, but the whole cosmos cannot contain the human heart.” – Sufi saying

Mutual resonance can be felt between ‘the heart of God’ and our heart.

Resonance & vibration are tied up in sickness and health. Electromagnetic signals define and sustain our homeostasis.

“Blessed are the pure in heart.” – Jesus is not talking about not having sex. 🙂

A pure heart is a non-cooptive heart. Not stuck on a passion, a want, an insistence. “Virginity” is noncooptation; a heart that sees God.

It’s only after we’ve rescued our heart from involuntary contractive emotions (the passions) can the heart truly feel. (Equanimity does not equal indifference)

Practicing spaciousness – kenosis – frees us from the subject/object divide so that we are awakened to the immense intelligence of felt-body resonance.

To be continued…to see where Cynthia’s going with this, I recommend checking out her books The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and MindCentering Prayer and Inner Awakening,  The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, and The Wisdom Way of Knowing.


And check out this video of Cynthia sharing a similar talk in Massachusetts!

In This Series:

The Way of the Heart – Cynthia Bourgeault Part 1: What IS the Path of Jesus?
The Way of the Heart – Cynthia Bourgeault Part 2: See What Jesus Sees; Do What Jesus Does
The Way of the Heart Part 3: Cynthia Bourgealt’s Four Proposals – Beyond ‘The Imitation of Christ’
The Way of the Heart Part 4: Heartfulness Practice Transcends & Includes Orthodoxy
The Way of the Heart Part 5: Upgrading Our Operating System
The Way of the Heart Part 6: A Rorschach Blot for the Mind
The Way of the Heart Part 7: When 20/20 Hindsight Becomes Blindsight
The Way of the Heart Interlude: Kenosis Hymn
The Way of the Heart Interlude: Speaking of Life Divine
The Way of the Heart Part 8: Heart Surgery
The Way of the Heart Part 9: Christ is Living in Our Midst

And check out Carl McColman’s Nonduality in the Bible…and us.

2 Responses to The Way of the Heart Part 10: Awakening to Direct Knowledge – the Divine Cardio Workout

  1. Kevin Perez August 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Thanks Mike. 🙂

  2. John Church August 5, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    In Taoism, they consider the heart the seat of consciousness. The mind/head being the place for spiritual development and receiving yang/father/sun energy. The gut being the place for power/will/confidence and receiving yin/motherly/earth energy.

    While the heart is the mixing of the two.


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