Aldous Huxley’s Head & Heart

The English author and intellectual Aldous Huxley once said you could sum up the history of every man and woman who has ever lived with the following words, “I see the better and approve it, the worse is what I pursue”. If we were merely rational beings, then our knowing would be indistinguishable from our doing.  However, we are not merely rational, we can also argue we are also creatures of desire. Our emotions can sometimes be ultimately responsible for determining our actions and behaviour. We can have an idea that something maybe good for us to do, but find it hard to galvanise the rest of ourselves into action.

If I look at my own life I can see a huge chasm at times in my inability to bring together my head and my heart. This is perfectly understandable as we not a singular being, rather we are more made up of complex, multiple parts or voices within us that may express different and even contradictory things. The idea of the human psyche being multifaceted, even split in some cases is not a new one.  Even in ancient Greece, in Plato wrote about the three parts of the psyche: ‘The rational’, ‘The appetitive’ and ‘The spirited’.

I have found that through my exploration of yoga, meditation and psychotherapy, that these practices have helped me to develop a deeper relationship between myself and my emotional body. By engaging with and bringing awareness to my emotions more fully I notice that my behaviour can change and my life can feel more congruent. I can feel a sense of bridging the gap between my head and my heart. I have an ability to be in relationship to both the complexity within myself and also the world around me.

By understanding ourselves, the landscape of our emotional bodies and by making conscious how we work with both our darkness and our light we can see more clearly that a creative dialogue can take place between our head and heart.  We are then given a larger, richer context in which to examine just what it means to experience being human.

“When your head says one thing and your whole life says another, your head always loses.” 

Humphrey Bogart in Key Largo