Heart, Mind, Spirit
Yesterday, I listened to a discussion of a book titled Coming to Our Senses. The author, Jon Kabit-Zinn said something that practically shocked me. He said that in many Asian cultures, heart and mind have the same word. I was so surprised, I looked it up to verify this was true. It is true. In the Japanese culture, that word is kokoro.
It was a surprise to me, because for most of my adult life, I have been aware that my thoughts are usually divided between my heart and mind. Typically, each comes up with its own resolution to the issues I am thinking about.
Thinking with my mind is thinking as an adult, using logic and organized, rational thoughts to come to a resolution. The decision is usually very black and white. When I think with my heart, I use emotion and desire, and the possible outcomes may be as varied as the colors of a rainbow. This internal skirmish happens so frequently in my decision making that I affectionately call it The Battle of Janice (Adult/Mind Thinking) vs. Yoiko (Child/Heart Thinking).
Being half-Japanese, I grew up hearing about many philosophies and traditions from my mother. So, I was surprised to hear that the Japanese have the same word for heart and mind – kokoro. There is such a distinct difference in the way my mind and heart thinks that it’s almost beyond my comprehension that the word for each could be the same.
Here are a couple of examples where Janice and Yoiko duked it out: (At least the ones I’ll make public.)
- When my daughter, Andrea, was about twelve, she wanted to go to a movie with a boy. Oh, did Yoiko want to let her go. She remembered the feeling of young love, the excitement of being in the presence of a crush, the desire to be like everyone else who got to go to movies with boys. But Janice knew Andrea was too young. Period. Janice won that battle, and Andrea thought she was the meanest mother in the world. Period.
- I have had relationships where these two have scratched and clawed at each other, usually for quite some time before one of them wins. Though Yoiko’s emotions (love, desire) fought a hard battle with Janice’s logic, in most cases, Janice won. The thing is, Yoiko is not a gracious loser, and she sometimes returns to the battlefield to push Janice off her victory pedestal.
Though this is getting a little silly, I hope you get the picture. I typically come to resolutions with my mind, as an adult. Like a child, my heart – Yoiko – isn’t always happy with those decisions, and she does not always go quietly into the night. But, there’s third player in this little game, and that is Life. The few times I have let Yoiko win her battles, Life has come to the battlefield . . . in the form of hard lessons.
How do you think? With your heart, your mind, or both? Do you have such internal battles? Or, am I crazy?