I thought it was time I completed this posting – after all I started it in August 2009…

What is HartKnowledge or ‘heart knowledge’?

Head knowledge is good, but heart knowledge is indispensable. The training of the hands and feet must be added to make a rounded education. We must all learn these days to become spiritual pioneers if we would save the world from chaos”. E.V Hammond

I first heard of the concept as a native American philosophy which referred to the heart as the main driver for our existence and the most important aspect of our knowledge. I read about this through the Lifelong Learning Online – the Lewis & Clark Rediscovery Project which gives the most wonderful description of heart knowledge.

Since then I have made some interesting cross cultural discoveries.

  • In the yogic tradition of India it refers to Anahat (heart) Knowledge and refers to the heart Chakra.  In the kundalini yoga tradition, the heart is often described as the mediator between the three lower chakras and the three upper chakras. If the heart is opened, energy will not remain stuck in the lower chakras. The heart helps draw the energy upward, activating the upper, more spiritual chakras.
  • In the Christian tradition I found that ‘heart knowledge’ takes the information of head knowledge and internalises it. Heart knowledge transforms you as it becomes part of you.  Head knowledge is the knowledge of the intellect. Heart knowledge is the knowledge of the emotions and the knowledge of the spirit. Hands knowledge is experiential knowledge. It grows as a result of doing.
  • In the Sufi tradition, the heart is seen as a mediator between the outer influences of the world and the spiritual influences within us. If our pride, greed, and other negative tendencies become involved with things of the world, they put out a kind of heat and smoke that distracts us and hides the spiritual light of the heart. The more we open to that inner light, the more we can see clearly our own negative tendencies, and also, the more we strengthen our positive and spiritual tendencies. One essential element in the knowledge of the heart is the practice of what we know. Heart knowledge is deepened by experience. A little knowledge that is applied brings wisdom, whereas too much book learning results in mental and spiritual indigestion.
  • In the Middle East, there are many stories of Nasruddin, a Sufi master who taught with a great deal of humor. In the following story Nasruddin clearly distinguishes between the experiential knowledge of the heart and the abstract knowledge of the head. Nasruddin was serving as the local judge. A woman came to him with her son and complained that her son had an uncontrollable sweet tooth. She asked Nasruddin to tell the boy to stop eating sweets all the time. Nasruddin nodded sagely and told her to come back in two weeks. When they returned, he simply said to the son, “Boy, I order you to stop eating sweets!” The mother then asked, “Why did you make us wait for two weeks? Couldn’t you have said this to my son when we first came to you?”Nasruddin answered, “No, I couldn’t possibly have told that to your son two weeks ago.””Why not?” asked the mother.”You see, I love sweets myself. First I had to stop eating sweets, and only then could I tell your son to stop.” Our knowledge is not complete unless we act on what we know, and, also, every action affects the heart.
  • ‘The Celts had a wonderful definition.  They believed that all teachers should be poets, because knowledge is dangerous unless it goes through the heart. Anita Roddick

What absolutely fascinated me was the similar theme running through so many different cultures.  They are all civilisations with an incredible history and longevity yet they all seem to have a similar thread running through them.  My conclusion was that they must have learnt this over many generations to adopt the concept into the traditions of their cultures.  This idea also reinforced my personal belief that intellectual knowledge is never enough, we need the spiritual knowledge of our hearts which we gain through all our lifelong experiences.  Everything we do in life, every decision (good and bad), every mistake and every action makes us who we are.  If we did not make the mistakes, decisions (good and bad) and actions we would not be who we are now.

And so, you now know how I came to name my blog and business name HartKnowledge.