Spirit Daily

A Key Ingredient To Entering Heaven Is To See Through The Heart Instead Of Brain

By Michael H. Brown

When you talk to folks who have had near-death experiences -- who claim to have glimpsed the "other side," who say they tasted eternity -- there's a common theme. They tell you that the Lord is most concerned with how much we have loved. That is where the evaluation -- the "judgment" -- takes place. He reads our hearts. 

If you're a man, as I am, you may find this difficult. We've been taught to take a tough approach to everything -- and everyone. Before my conversion, to talk about love made me uncomfortable; it seemed less than manly.

That's the "worldly" view, and it is counter to Jesus. He is more concerned with what's in your heart than what's in your brain. And in eternity, we have the same heart we had here.

"We seem to think that death of the body means an entire change to the soul," notes one woman who had such an experience. "But this is not the case, by any means. We bring to [the afterlife] the same tastes, the same desires, and the same knowledge we had before death. If these were not sufficiently pure and good to form part of this life, then we ourselves may not enter."

Instead, there is purgatory. What is the standard? We have mentioned love. Also: purity. Our souls are transfigured into robes, and we don't stay in the Presence of God unless our souls are pure white. "If only we all could understand, as I said before, that we are building for eternity during our earthly life," says the woman, Rebecca Springer. "The purer the thoughts, the nobler the ambitions, the loftier the aspirations, the higher the rank we take among the hosts of Heaven."

This only makes sense. But what a challenge! The saying goes that the greatest distance is between the heart and the brain. It's not just a saying. There's a great divide between the two -- and when we let the brain gain predominance, when it becomes more important than the heart, when it is the main way we perceive the world -- we get into a world (and then an afterworld) of trouble.

Let's keep in mind that it is the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus (not the Sacred Brain). The mind is obviously a crucial place to store knowledge (and logic is important to functioning in the world), but many of the crises we see in the Church, in society, and in our personal lives -- and then in the afterlife -- stem from a worldly and overly "rationalistic" orientation.

We must view everyone and everything through the prism of the heart. For when we perceive solely with the brain, when we look at everyone too analytically, we start to look at them critically -- and once we're in a mode of criticality, our spirituality begins to fall apart.

The solution is not to become mindless, undiscerning, or irrational -- but to shift the center of perception to the chest. The famed German stigmatic Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich called the heart her "organ of sight." It is the heart where we hear the voice of the angel. It is in the heart that God sends His gifts. It is the heart that binds us to the vine of Jesus.

When we perceive others with the heart, there is compassion, understanding, and the kind of love that Jesus exhorted us to have. St. Hildegarde informs us that "the soul dwells in the fortress of the heart," adding that it's "the fundamental part that governs the whole body" -- more important than the brain, she said, because in the wisdom of God it has the power to understand not only what is earthly, but also what is heavenly.

It is the ticket to eternity.

Having trouble liking someone? Being patient? Being kind?

Change your orientation.

Perceive with the heart.

Move your consciousness.

It's easier than you think.

Prayer brings you there -- and once you're there the universe opens up to beauties both here and hereafter.

March 2004

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