Head vs heart vs emotion dilemma

There is a surgical procedure that could help me with a chronic health condition. Left untreated the condition could become cancerous. There is a management protocol, but it has significant side effects, whereas the surgery is pretty straightforward. Deep exploration into alternative therapies has not revealed anything that can repair what is essentially a structural issue. My head  feels satisfied that this is the option to take. When I ask my heart, however, I feel a contraction even though it makes perfect sense. Perhaps I’m connecting with my emotional heart that is simply scared of the surgery. Maybe it is my preference for  “natural” options – i.e. I haven’t taken antibiotics in 25 years, and mostly use herbs when I’m having symptoms. It feels like my head and heart and maybe emotions are somewhat opposed. I feel pretty clear about the difference between my head and heart but what about the difference between the heart as a source of wisdom and the emotional heart. How can I make the distinction there?

2 Response(s)

That’s certainly a tough one that seems to hit on quite a few levels.
I appreciate your question very much, and certainly imagine that it will lead down other roads of questions. I suppose the questioning and the ability to do so is what takes us on journeys in cases like this.
You ask how do I discern the heart wisdom from the emotional heart?
That is a beautiful question as there are certainly different layers of what goes on in the chest region.
With a case like this, what could be helpful…
As you have been, dropping that question into your body. And since you noticed something happening in the heart region, I would see if there is a specific sensation that I notice and can keep attention on. And then to get creative, seeing if there is a voice there, and if so allowing it to speak. Giving it a place to sit, and allowing its appearance to emerge if it has one.
Asking questions to it like, “what do you need?” “What’s important here?” ” what is difficult for you?” And maybe later on, “What advice do it you have for me?”
(During these processes, I find these “voices” almost always evolve and clarify)
And then, when this voice feels clear, checking in with the rest of the body to see if somewhere has something to respond with. And the voice that you call the head may want to come out and see if a particular area of the body has a notable sensation to stay with as you question that place, and so on.
Basically it’s a creative way to tease out the different layers, and the wisdom in each. And with the heart, yes, under the emotional stuff, there is certainly a wisdom hiding. So perhaps you could say the emotional and wisdom heart are inseparable?
Lastly, during this process, see if you can really trust and value what’s there and the body’s wisdom that has so much more depth than the “head” alone.
Ok, please do let us know your process, since it is a beautiful one. For me, I have tremendous respect for, and could really learn something from.
With heart

Responded on March 13, 2017.



Like many, many things in our life Fear (reasonable or otherwise) plays a huge role. I know in my life I’ve often made decisions which were based at least in part on trying to avoid confronting my fears directly. I suspect a lot of us have and done this and have and will continue to do so. ‘Courage ‘is a simple word and I’m learning to see more and more how our ‘self’ and its degree of ‘courage’ is often a very contextual thing. Which is to say, we may be courageous in one context and run from our fears in another. Even our dichotomy of ‘head’ and ‘heart’ is likely an oversimplification of the ongoing processes that dictate our choices.

Ultimately, our ego’s prime directive is to seek pleasure and avoid that which is unpleasant. Or, at least, it has worked that way with my ego.

Here’s a question to consider (and I really mean consider, not answer): If your objective was to be of the greatest service  to the most people, and all considerations of pleasure and pain were secondary, what would be the appropriate course of action? ‘Nuf said.


Meanwhile, if I drop into my heart I feel my own fear there that pain and difficulty may be in the cards regardless of choices made. (I believe the Buddha referred to this as the First Noble Truth).

Yup, that’s definitely the emotional heart speaking. Don’t think I can put those feelings down right at the moment. It is as it is.
I think I would just hold you close and urge you to grieve a bit over the very precariousness of life itself.
After a bit of the grieving process, I think we could both approach this specific issue with more wisdom.

My heart suggests “catharsis first,  decisions second.” Crazy, eh?

Regardless, I’m with Teja — keep us posted, please. It matters.

We care.

Responded on March 14, 2017.