Defining Awesome — Living by your heart
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  • Living by your heart

    Written by . Posted at 10:58 am on September 28th, 2007

    I did not know what this means for a long time. I will try to explain to you this little phenomenon cause I have come to understand it a little. You may take this or leave it, or you can read it if you’re curious why certain people live the way they live. This concept has been exploited much by pop culture to a point where it seems funny. I also thought like that but no longer, I am completely serious about this topic.

    First you need to understand how most people operate. I also lived like this until I realized how irrational it is, although it is called rational thinking.

    Your rational mind is interested only in your survival and the survival of your community. That is why this brain circuit evolved. Its only concern is whether you will live the next day or not and how to do it in the shortest and most efficient way. It is interested in comfort, permanence, increasing pleasure and decreasing pain which leaves you occupied and willing to wait for the next day in hope of something better. All of these are impossible. There is no comfort because your surroundings constantly change, there is no permanence because life is flow, only the dead are permanently dead, you can’t increase pleasure without increasing pain, the two are the same and don’t exist without one another.
    All of these “ideas” are created in the rational mind. It is constantly working and thinking of ways for you to make things easier and to survive another day without losing too much energy. If you want to notice this circuit in action, notice your thoughts when you want to do physical exercise. This circuit is not interested in your health, your well-being, your looks. You can survive by being a 200 pound whale so let it be. Notice those thoughts and understand from now on that this is your rational circuit. And the way it functions is, it will always find proof for its claims. You will always find a reason why you should not exercise. If you are more intelligent than the average you will find even more reasons for it, this is why nerds are always skinny and unhealthy. If your life is dominated by the rational circuit it will affect every decision you make in life. From what you do for yourself today, to what you want from life in 50 years time. Using this way of thinking does not lead anywhere because survival is NOT a goal.

    Eventually you WILL die.

    If you realize this, you will want to live life differently and the only way to stop listening to your reason is to…

    Follow your heart

    Now this might be new to you, it certainly was for me a long time ago. What does it actually mean to follow your heart? It means just following whatever a certain emotion tells you. That emotion is located in your body. You can feel it by either feeling a heaviness, darkness, tension, void… or you can feel lightness, uplifting, light, energy. You feel that exactly where your heart is located.

    Do this now, feel whatever you are feeling there right now.
    If at this moment you ask yourself a question, which answer you are uncertain of, you will feel how your heart responds to it. If it feels bad, the answer is no, if it feels good the answer is yes. It’s that simple.

    Now why the hell would you do what a sensation in your chest tells you?

    The usual way of making a decision is a rational decision process. As I said before, rational thinking is based on ratios. Ratios are measured and compared. Whenever you are comparing something you are rationalizing. If you want to decide about something you will weigh the pros against the cons. You will analyze each benefit and compare it with each downside. If there are more benefits then you will decide to do it.
    Why is this so bad?

    The reason is because you are operating on a limited set of data and because the circuit you are doing the analysis inside always does this in the context of your survival.
    Why you’re operating on a limited set of data is a subject for another day. For now understand that your brain has a limit on what it can know. If you’ve ever made a rational decision and then things didn’t go as you planned them to be, this is precisely why. Not because some mysterious force is against you, but because you don’t have that much brain power.

    Why is it so bad that the rational circuit is interested in your own survival you might ask?

    As I said eventually you will die, not because I’ll hunt you down and kill you but because that’s the ways thing are right? So it is a totally stupid idea to set survival as a priority. You want to survive longer in order to achieve your goals?
    The problem is it won’t happen, cause your reasons won’t let you. This is key to understanding this.
    For example if you want to be physically fit, it will NEVER happen if you listen to reasoning. Do you see this? If you noticed your thoughts when starting to exercise or thinking about it, you should. If you follow your logic NOTHING will happen. Things will only happen in your mind because you will be thinking about them that’s all. This spans in everything you want to do in life. You may even start to do the thing you want but eventually

    Your reasons will defeat your purpose.

    Some people just let go and think there is no way out. They conclude by some logical statement as: “I’m not talented enough” or “I have no time”. Bollocks. Fortunately there is a way out and it has been preached for ages but only a few seem to listen. The solution is… in your heart.

    I don’t know this for sure but your heart is either a brain circuit which communicates with you through emotions and sensations located in your chest or it is something entirely different. The thing is your heart is interested in your well-being and the well-being of your surroundings, so it helps you in the achievement of great things. Do you want to feel good about yourself? Of course you do. Well this is how.

    I write a lot about the rational mind because you need to understand it and then let go of it. To let go of it you must LET GO OF LIFE. You lose what is most precious for it, life itself. This is a radical idea so pay attention. How you let go of life is best explained by these Manowar lyrics:


    Stand and fight
    Live by your heart
    Always one more try
    I’m not afraid to die


    If you are OK with the fact that you may die TODAY you are free to follow your heart. Think about it. If you place no value on your life and you accept the fact that you WILL die. You’ll see that it doesn’t matter WHEN you die. Accepting death, means taking it even this second. If you do that, suddenly you will be free to do anything, because your rational circuit will have no argument! It can’t rationalize in the face of accepting the fact that you won’t make it. All rational decisions are based on your survival benefit. When there is no demand for survival, but instead there is a demand for well-being and greater purpose, you switch. The rational circuit ends its operation and your heart starts to dominate.

    It’s exactly as Tyler Durden said in Fight Club: “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything”. In the movie the narrator lost his entire apartment and all of his stuff in an explosion. This was just a metaphor. What he really lost, was his attachment to life. It is your attachment to life and survival based thinking that tells you to buy furniture from IKEA, which tells you to maintain a steady job and which tells you not to pick on fights. Your heart won’t tell you this, it helps you do the things you REALLY want to do.

    Now I’m not telling you to quit your job or start a fight, I’m just explaining how this works so you can learn how to use it. It is a tool, an EXTREMELY efficient tool, if you learn to use it, it will give much benefit for you.

    Now go and watch this Manowar video, listen to it loud.

    Listen to the Heart of Steel…


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    1. Wow, i love the way you think. I can relate to everything you said and its sad that you are right. All humans were meant to do is survive and reproduce. No meaning in life unless you make one…

    2. all true.. i have such a mood sometimes, but im 19 years old so it’s hard to be ok with sudden death, you know) can’t control it for now, but “listening to heart” is a powerful benefit indeed

    3. Yeah, like awyas, MM ownz all!
      And now that you said… i think i’m already listening to my heart a little, since i got that people are evil by nature and will do everything that is possible to get to the top, i try to aways think to my heart and make a difference, I started working in a big hypermarket chain, and always when someone come asking me something i give my best to try do what he;she asked, and when i’m doing, i can actually feel that good/light feeling in my heart =], and when i see some injustice, something bad happening, i fell that heavy feeling and it’s really bad, and make me want to to something

      By the way, another day, I was playing a game where you are a dictador that is starting a new comunity in another planet, and then you got to control all of then to get 100% happines… and control of course… in the instructions for the game, the following is writen: ” you need 100k or more people to get 100% happines, small groups think too much”. And thinking about it i found that it’s actually real! Think whit me, why Zarathustra satayed all that time alone? So he could think clearly! Thinking about that i actually find why i am so “thinky” and don’t do stupid things just because everybody do it, i always lived alone, other than my family, i never had nobody or only 2-3 friends, and when they started joining bigger groups i always ended up breaking the friendship whit then… maybe this is a “instinct” to maintain my head clear and “thinky”? maybe i guess…

      By the way², sorry for any grotesc error in my text, my english is not my first language, and i’m actually brazilian… so sorr if i wrote anything wrong…

    4. Before i give a comment about your post, what have you done to this site? the text is all blurry and this very text box i am typing into stretches across the entire page.


      I agree with you in a way, I think there are two versions of a Heart. One being the actual physical Muscle which pumps blood around our bodies, and the second being what you have described in a lengthy yet absorbing post.
      I often do this. If i am scared or nervous of something, i often just switch off my logic brain and just (as you said) follow my Heart, Obviously the only reason your Brain and logic exist is to put restraints on this. Which is why it’s a good idea to get a good balance between the two. Even though i don’t believe in religion, i believe in a jesus too. Not the son of god, but instead the motivation and confidence to do things it brings out in people.

      Now for what i disagree with in your post :

      Only one thing, accepting death.
      You don’t need to do this to overcome things. It’s going too far; if we were to accept death, we wouldn’t feel happiness, which is the emblem of life.

      We shouldn’t spend our lives embracing death, and instead enjoy what time we have.

    5. i agree with teh_ham about death.. knowing death is imminent.. but for everoen to accept death is impossible… it was said by Kubler Ross.. that people go to 5 stages of grieft… 1 is denial ( which is most plp).. 2 is anger ( which comes hand in hand with 1 ).. 3 is barganing ( which is when beg god!.. this the the part i like .. to hear an atheist call out god).. 4 is depression ( goes with 1 and 2)… and 5 is acceptance ( the hardest of all).. everyone will eventually go to these stages… but not in order.. we cant trully be in acceptance with death.. bcuz like what you said MM the brain only wants to survive…

    6. I’m not sure that there is something besides THIS life, so I don’t have anything else – only my life. Can’t let it go; I’m sure that even in incurable disease you would try anything to be healthy again. So only people with very strong faith in after-life live truly by their hearts.

    7. André: yes you are very very right. Zarathustra stayed alone and saw that nearly all your thoughts are made by other people. If you don’t know this you’ll act like a sheep in a herd. But he eventually came down from the mountain, because you must live with people.

      What browser do you have?
      //We shouldn’t spend our lives embracing death, and instead enjoy what time we have.

      Well I think we have to accept death in a great way in order to actually enjoy the time we have. Because if you don’t do it you’ll be thinking only about survival.

      Maybe I didn’t explain it well. It’s not that you accept death and just wait to die. You still fight and you still want to survive. It’s just that more things become much more important than your life. In simple words: you have something you would die for. If you have something (someone?) you would die for, you don’t place that much value on your life anymore and you gain more freedom. You have choice and actually a free will.

    8. I think its stretched out from the videos

    9. Espressokuppi

      This is the most interesting blog I have found (so far). I hope to hear more about humanities in the future too.

      Which is more important, your mind or your heart? Easy test! Lets do the practice first though.
      1. Take your index finger.
      2. Point your monitor Power button (don’t press it though :)

      And now the actual test:
      1. Take your index finger
      2. Point Yourself

      Where are you pointing? Your head? I don’t think so…

    10. Espressokuppi : hah that is great! :). The ancients believed that cosciousness resides actually in the heart. It is just recent science that tells us we are our brains. As I learn more about myself I am more and more skeptical about that scientific idea.

    11. (The layout bug seems to only be on this page, on all of the others comments are fine)

    12. “If you have something (someone?) you would die for, you don’t place that much value on your life anymore and you gain more freedom. You have choice and actually a free will.” -quote by MM-

      this is only half right… it doesnt mean u place less value in your life you gain more freedom… you can put this on a test base on religous groups… some of them, have followers that dont put much value in their life, thinking that they are free.. but in reality they are in a cage…

      people always have to have balance… you have to value your life and you will be free… value ur life because you have something to live for.. but not to value it too much, that you would think you are worth more…

      it doesnt mean that you value life of others, you have to value ur life less.. it actually makes you feel more valuable because you feel that you must live on longer and have to be stronger for that person..

    13. I think MM forgot to close some tags in his post :)

    14. EnEsCe:

      About the blog:
      Huh? ^_^

    15. This is utter bullshit to express it very sharply. If mankind was living like you suggest you weren’t here. Survival is and was important for every decision to do. Why do you go to school? Because heart tells you to? Surely not. I went to school because I want to have a future, because I need money to live and to get money I need education. This is rational. A logic chain. My heart would’ve said “fuck it, don’t get up it’s 6 ‘o clock, way too early”. Emotions usually FAIL. Ever heard love is blind? Ever watched your friends who recently fell in love to do bullshit things? Ever were totally angry when your heart said KILL SOMEONE. Well, did you listen to your heart then? I doubt so, they don’t have 24/7 internet in prison I think.
      Oh and to me rational thoughts would eventually lead to exercising. Exercising makes you HEALTHY (200 pound whales tend to die of heart attacks and the like, deal with it), exercising makes you look good to the others and eventually leads to a partner. And once you’ve got a partner you’re in love and can live out your emotional side if you feel like.
      And the Manowar quotation really cut it for me. LET’S ALLL STAND TOGETHER FOOOR THE WOOOORLD IS HEEEEEERE. Yeah, can’t get cheesier, sir.

    16. Anonymous

      some1 kill him plz

    17. bullet: so who are you and what have you done? You went to school cause your parents TOLD you to, you never fell in love cause it’s not “logical” and you… live day by day. Wow, survival is certainly a great achievment. Welcome to the 10 trillion other beings that are living today.

      //Oh and to me rational thoughts would eventually lead to exercising.

      “would” but “don’t”, am I right?

    18. Well I’ve definately been one to live by meh heart. There are times wehre I wish I thought more with a survival circuit, although as a result I’ve learned more than others just through experience. It’s sorta funny I went to college for about a year cause that was expected and then I said screw it, part of it was maybe I wasn’t ready because there was no specific goal I was working toward. So I stepped away from it got my own place and tested video games :p Now I’ve quit that sold everything moved to the east and saw a buncha cities and did some soul searching and decided to move back to the west and go to school again (with a goal in mind). But not cause I was told to, just because I feel like it and I’m doin it all on my own. I just see it all as an adventure, find things you love and actually do it.

    19. Spike that is exactly what I’m talking about!! It’s about finding your own purpose, not about following the reasons other people or society puts on you. Understanding this gives you so much power and freedom that sometimes it’s just unbearable:).

    20. but isn’t this very thought a product of your rational mind? after all, you make a fairly logical argument.
      You didn’t always feel this way about life, and if you’re still young enough, you’ll change your mind again.

      nothing against the heart, i just don’t think there’s any simple solution to the human condition. 😉

      i’ve been betrayed by rationalizations along with irrational feelings… they’re merely opposite poles on the same spectrum, and depending on where you currently stand, whichever pushed you to that extreme is the greater of two evils; ultimately, you will sway back.

      i’m not saying one should give up, but i am saying don’t get upset if you change your mind (or heart) about this matter; it’s inevitable.

    21. namuol: yes this post is a product of the rational mind, but there is no other way I can express myself for you to understand. Maybe I can write a song one day to say what I feel…
      I might change my mind of course, I’m very flexible. But as we stand here today, I’ve never been betrayed by my heart, by my thinking I’m betrayed every single day.

    22. what did you say?

      Your heart does not betray you people do. Our heart is meant to pump blood thru our bodies.

    23. What a great post! This was certainly a different view I could use. I’ve almost been thinking solely rational and I’m pretty sick and tired of it. This post gives me some new strenght to think different, more emotional, because that’s the way I wanted to head.
      My main ‘problem’ is about girlfriends. I really want to have one, I think it would do me good, but at the same time I’m thinking that society puts pressure on those ‘responsablities’. Will I feel hapier when I find a girlfriend, or do I have to straight all my things out first, get completely happy on my own and then share it with a girl? I actually do think a higher status in society to get a greater chance of being happy, because people will get more interested in you.
      For instance, apart from my study at the university (Amsterdam), I’m not working, because I get enough money from my parents for food, clothes etc. But when someone aks of me if I have a job and I answer ‘no’, they think a bit less of me. It’s not that I care that much (and it’s not that I don’t want to work), but it’s just that I can’t make them think different. If I would have an open minded, not competitive attitude, it still remains true that other people think in a way society prescibes them. This fixed society environment is pretty horrible. I would advise everyone who hasen’t seen the movie K-pax, to go and see that film. I’ve seen it once and the idea Kevin Spacey described of a self-containing society with no leaders, was great. Though it’s a complete utopia, I/We will have to the deal with the world it is, there is no other system possible on a world scale.

      Again, thanks for the interesting post (and for the game Soldat, I’ve played it for year, one of my favourite games ever)!

    24. Bas: Thanks man. If you can’t be happy by your own, why would you be with somebody else? From my experience only giving makes you happy, not taking. Just my experience.
      You might find my new post On arrogance ( useful.

    25. what did you say?

      OMG, this may go over your head but, i think it needs to be said. ok, here i go. If you believe that God created Adam and Eve then you know that it is not good for man to be alone. Women were created for Men and Man was created for Woman. And what they create together is to be used to Glorify God. Now you know that two men can not create a baby together and two women can not create a baby together. I too have found myself alone for the past couple of years. Sometime I’m happy and sometimes I’m sad.But I truly believe that it is not good to spend all of your life wondering and wishes your life away. Somebody is going to be the giver and somebody is going to be the taker. I’ve had my share of takers like I know we all have. Don’t let the one that hurt you control your life. Cause the more you withdraw from relationships the more she or he is controlling you life. Reach down in your soul and find the answers not your heart. When you die you heart stops beating. But, your soul can be passed on to someone through just being in the present of a cherished love one. Nobody is perfect and if you’re looking for perfection you will be alone until you die. And then and only then will you see what true perfection looks like!!!!!!!

    26. Nice -what did you say- I think that every person needs to find his own way to be happy and never look behind and ask them self question about it if they know it make’s them happy.

    27. Viagra, Viagra , Great news! jhdsfkjh34klj

    28. Thinking with the heart is a noble idea. But it should not be done exclusively. I support the idea of bf balancing. The reality is that we need to follow our dreams, aspirations & those other things that make us happy. But we also have to eat & pay rent. I believe our hearts point for us the direction wherein we should walk. Our minds on their part show us the best way to make every step. Relying on any one of them & disregarding the other is equally detrimental in my view. They are interdependent. Your heart may tell you to go to africa & help people there, your mind then calculates how you will acquire the means to get there, and safely.

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