2011-05-07

We Think with Our Hearts First then Our Minds

Most of us think that we think with our minds.

So in many of our discussions with friends, we are very puzzled why the other party does not see the obvious logic and reasoning of our point of view. The feeling is actually mutual. The other party is also very upset that we don't see it from their point of view. To a person who believes in some conspiracy story, any fact presented is just another evidence in support of the conspiracy story. To a person whose mind is made up, any event shall be interpreted according to the already made up mindset. A mind that is made up is actually a strong belief hold deeply and dearly in the heart.

We actually don't reason with our minds but with our hearts first. 

We see and interpret things according to our strongly held beliefs in our heart.  To have a meaningful discussion and a discovery of insights, we need to have a heart that is at rest or at peace. One without any motives, desires, angers or fear. This was highlighted as Righteous and Fair Heart 正心 in the "Doctrine of The Great Learning".

Paul, in his letter to Timothy in 1 Tim 1, gave him instructions about how to prevent false doctrines:
1Ti 1:3  ... I urged you to stay in Ephesus so that
  you could instruct certain people to stop teaching false doctrine
1Ti 1:4  and occupying themselves with myths and endless genealogies. These things promote controversies rather than God's ongoing purpose, which involves faith.

1Ti 1:5  The goal of this instruction is
    love that flows from
    a pure heart, from
    a clear conscience, and from
    a sincere faith.

1Ti 1:6  Some people have left these qualities behind and have turned to fruitless discussion.
1Ti 1:7  They want to be teachers of the law, yet they do not understand either what they are talking about or the things about which they speak so confidently.
....
1Ti 1:18-19  Timothy, my child, I am giving you this instruction ...
 so that by following them you may continue to
 fight the good fight with faith and a good conscience.
 By ignoring their consciences, some people have destroyed their faith like a wrecked ship.
We can see from above that false doctrine comes from ignoring, leaving the "love coming from a pure heart, clear/good conscience, sincere faith". Conscience and faith are repeated twice.

Love, conscience, faith, pure heart are of the heart and not of the mind. This teaching is similar to the Ancient Chinese use of "Righteous, Fair Heart".

Paul repeated this teaching in another form in Titus 1:5 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

The way see and reason things actually starts from our hearts
  1. our strongly held beliefs (others will call them prejudices and biases), 
  2. states of heart - bitter, anger, worry, fear, lusts, desires and motives.
When our hearts are not at rest (in peace), we will distort the things we see and hear. We will project our own biases into the things that are not there. We will come out with our own distorted conspiracy theories of all kinds. We will also strongly defend such distortions.

With a distorted heart, we come out with distorted doctrines to gain support to justified our distortion and to calm our conscience! Hurt people hurt people. Insecured people are controlling and manipulative people. They are also proud and cannot admit mistake or say sorry. They are the blamer and the attacker. Check our hearts and learn how to love them. May God give us the grace, the strength and wisdom to spread His love.

Lessons for Us:
  1. We reasons first with hearts not our mind. So we must check our hearts. Are our hearts at peace? Is our conscience clear? Is our faith right, sincere? Are there motives that we are not aware of? Are there worries and fear? 
  2. Find out the hearts of the other person as well. But we might do it with love and grace. Begins with love and care and find out the deeper issues that he/she is concern about. What are their dreams or pains if they care to share.
  3. Stay on the facts and try not to over read between the lines. Don't label or brand. A lot of things could be due to misunderstanding and hence must have clarity. Apply the BVITS operators to give a fair view. Look for the context/environment where this happen, where are the boundaries, divide the issues to get clearer details, see it over scope and time, what will the extremes look like, are the roles clear - who is outsourced, who is insourced, what it will look like if we mess it up, how it looks when inverted, etc.
  4. Withdraw from discussion when we ourselves loose our peace. We can come back next time after have gained back our pure heart.
  5. There is no need for winning argument. What we want is a changed heart and that rarely take place over one dialogue and will never take place over a agitated heart.
  6. Guard Our hearts in at all times. Prov 4:25 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life..
  7. We think and reason with our hearts first - try to speak to the heart first and then the cold mind logic. Package logic with sweet coating to ease the heart. Use heart-centric logic. Convert "I'm blind please help" to "It is a beautiful day and I can't see it" - See The Power of Word.

1 comment:

Joseph Magaro said...

As I understand it we actually have three brain centers. The first is the Top Brain in our heads. The second is our Heart Brain. The heart has more brain cells than any other cells. The third is the Gut Brain where we often make gut decisions. The Gut also contains a lot of brain cells. both the heart and the gut can operate independently from the top brain and only calls on its when assistance is needed.