Vugt: Listening and seeing through the heart

JANE GOODALL, a nature activist from England once said: “If you want to reach out to people, you must do that through the heart, not through your head, because then they often get angry at you and give you a counter attack on your words.”

We all know this but we easily forget this. If you don’t look at people from your heart and you deal with them that way, you run the risk of forgetting the deeper emotions of men. You remain at the surface and at the outside and you don’t get at the deeper level on which people live. We all know this: you try to listen to what is behind words… if you want to understand people, then you must do that through the heart.”

Some people are always busy doing things and analyzing also through their head what is happening in their lives. But there are many questions that may crop up in their lives, especially about pain that has struck them deep in their heart. These are questions that need to get an answer. People who see things through their heart and listen to them through their heart have usually a broad interest in life and are concerned about many things, for instance, about the future of our planet Earth. They do that with a great heart. Of course, I mean here something else than the physical heart that beats in our body. That heart leaves you sometimes in the cold. With heart I mean the warmth with which you can experience the depth of your life and that of others, and this brings you in contact with the basis of your existence which is a mystery.

Actually it brings you in contact with God who knows how to deal with you. With your heart you feel and you see that life is a gift, a grace that has been entrusted to you without pay. This invites you to take responsibility for your life and the life of others. It invites you to take responsibility also for our planet earth and for those people who have played such an important role in your life and who mean so much to you. It makes you deeply grateful and it makes you aware of the fact that you actually live your life on two levels.

On the one hand you live on the road toward the inside, there what drives you in depth and on the other hand toward the outside, toward the continued existence of planet earth and so many other people. This is not a matter of either-or but of both together… head and heart, which is a seeming paradox.

It may be given to men to be focused clearly with your heart on what you hardly can see or hear. That heart can then experience the sound of a soft breeze, a silence that beats you and strikes you in your deepest self, there where you thought you were in control of everything but it brings you to a re-orientation of your existence and a re-sourcing, a process of transformation, like the butterfly changes into a caterpillar and changes back again into a butterfly.

The Carmelite Titus Brandsma, a mystic who was declared blessed by the Church, looked at God through his environment and through the people around him. Because God keeps man alive every moment of his life. He said, here is an essential union between God and creation and men. Titus was touched by this. And God who is present in the depth of the soul of everybody, is waiting for a radiation into the world. God always wants to become flesh through men’s actions. He wants to live in the justice that people do. We may call ourselves therefore carriers of God. How do we give a place to God in the world? By receiving God, by carrying Him in our heart, by feeding Him with just deeds and thus letting God be born through us, by really loving each other, love and sacrifice and courage. Titus propagates love without resistance, even when people are a threat to our existence. He says: “Man learns to really love when suffering.” Each one has to give God a place in this world in his own way.

In God we live, we move and we are.

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

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