Head vs. Heart

“Your reason and passion are the rudder and the sails of the seafaring soul,” wrote Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese-born philosopher, poet, and painter who wrote magnificently in both English and Arabic.  “If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.”

An equilibrium between reason and passion – between head and heart – is one of the essentials of Life Balance.  It has been said that when the mind and the heart go to war, the body becomes the battlefield.

 The mind allows us to think, to reason, and to apply our wisdom to make a difference.  The heart is where we feel.  Through it, we love and use our creativity without inhibition. When we merge education of the mind with education of the heart, we strike a dynamic balance.  We look with “both eyes” – the eye of the heart and the eye of the mind.  We look at life as a whole, realizing that one element affects the other.

The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, explains that happiness comes from being balanced.  He emphasizes that education without the balance of a warm heart can be dangerous and can bring unhappiness.

Jesus taught that happiness belonged to the meek, the merciful, and the peaceable.  But in driving the moneychangers from the temple, he showed that these qualities must be balanced with boldness.  Paul showed faith in this principle when he spoke of his gentle approach to dealing with the congregation but his boldness in dealing with its adversaries.

Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel peace prize laureate and first black Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, stresses the importance of a balance in our relationships with others.

“In our African language,” he notes, “we say, ‘a person is a person through other persons.’  I would not know how to be a human being at all, except I learned this from other human beings.  We are made for a delicate network of relationships, of interdependence.  We are meant to complement each other…. not even the most powerful nation can be completely self-sufficient.”

Reason without passion is lame, and passion without reason is blind. Reason alone is dull, whereas passion alone can lead to destruction.  When we marry the two, we have a wonderful synergy.  Our reasoning protects us from doing silly things.  Our passion gives us the drive to excel and go the distance.  Reason draws from the mind, passion from the heart.

Excerpts from the book, “Life Balance, The Sufi Way’, by Azim Jamal & Nido Quebin.

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