When I was eight years old, my mother gave me the best advice ever: whenever you’re in doubt of what to do or confused about something, listen to your heart. I knew straightaway what she meant, and I knew she didn’t refer to my physical heart, or even my emotional feelings. She was pointing to my instinctual heart! In later years, she admitted sometimes regretting having told me so, because some of my decisions were ones she’d prefer me not to make. A bit later still, I would sometimes find myself in situations that felt uncomfortable or completely out of control, messy and disastrous (according to mind and emotions), and until the dust would settle to reveal a greater clarity than before, I would curse myself for not referring to the (conditioned)* mind. I also found out that what I sometimes think is my heart speaking, is in fact my mind. This is one of the reasons why I took up mindfulness meditation: I knew it would strengthen my “ear” for my (untainted) heart, which really is another word for inherent wisdom. Even the instinctual heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised if you want to use it. Living in a time (the 2020s!) that is ruled on survival based, scientific capitalist principles, sometimes intermingled with exoteric religion, consoling “spirituality” or psychological “positivity”, I need such strength to stay focused so I can hear my heart, even in the midst of this noisy world with its distractions, attractions, external opinions, media and knowledge. Because my instinctual heart is the location of my true peace and inherent wisdom, the natural intelligence I need to live a strong, happy and healthy life, the maypole I dance around. And it tells me it is the same for you. Keep practising!

*at that point I didn’t realise minds were conditioned or what that meant, I only found out about that even later still.