Heartstyles blog

Taking things seriously

Taking things seriously is no more than according things their true weight and seeing their innate value.  It springs from a desire to weigh things on the scale of the heart rather than indulging in suspicion and distrust.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) wrote extensively on his relations to the world and brought emotional clarity to his thinking about his place within it.  What is remarkable here is his commitment to “weigh things on the scale of the heart.”  What can that mean?

The idea of taking things seriously might call up notions of finding a rational approach: measuring, prioritizing, and discussing.  And of course, these have their place.  But this is not the only way to engage with the world. 

Let’s explore this idea of “the scale of the heart.”  Think of your favorite piece of music: it will probably move you deeply.  But can you argue with it?  No, yet you take it seriously, using some measure other than that of rational engagement.  So there are things that are serious for us and that lie outside ways of seeing that include – in Rilke’s terms – arriving at their measure by a process of rational evaluation.

Rational engagement is one approach; that is not appropriate here.  Rilke equally warns against emotional reaction, too: don’t indulge in suspicion and distrust. 

There is a third way – “weigh things on the scale of the heart.”  This means finding what the heart knows, feels, or senses is right.  And then listening and reacting to it.  It might be a bodily sensation, a non-linguistic apprehension of the rightness (or wrongness) of things.  And this is based on a feeling or an association or a memory of something that has moved us.

In Heartstyles terms, the heart carries memories of the slights and wounds we have suffered over the years, and all of our voids (for love, for approval, etc); yet the heart is also where we carry the “good and the gold” within us. Making everyday choices based on the latter rather than the former doesn’t always come naturally, but we truly believe that you will notice the impact of those decisions, both in your life and in those around you. If we are willing to listen, then the heart can be our greatest compass for life. ‘Taking things seriously’ is often what’s needed in order to see our innate value.

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