Heart thinking

Heart thinking is an ability that people in earlier times possessed in an unconscious way. The “seeing with the heart” was connected with a sense of truth, which could not yet be grasped in clear, conscious contours, but nevertheless made certain insights into the higher, spiritual worlds possible. Even Aristotle regarded the heart as the central organ of thought. But at the same time he planted with his logic the sure basis for the thinking of the mind, which is no longer centered in the heart, but in the head. This kind of thinking blooms in our intellect of today, which, however, can at first only grasp the sensual facts and see through them in their logical order, and this with full, awake ego-consciousness. In the future, a new kind of heart-thinking will develop which is compatible with the fully awake ego-consciousness, and thus allows insight into purely spiritual connections in a completely conscious and level-headed way. It will differ essentially from our present mind in that it is not a discursive, deductive thinking, but overlooks the truth with a glance.

heart and brain illustration

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The new thinking of the heart, which is not based on the physical heart, but on the etheric heart, which in the meantime has been largely detached from it, does not unfold in a chain of logically joined concepts, but in inwardly experienced mental images, in imaginations founded by inspirations, which reveal the spiritual connections at one stroke. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul speaks of the “enlightened eyes of the heart” (Eph 1:18 LUT). The prerequisite for this is a corresponding formation of the heart. It expresses itself ideally in civilization in a culture of the heart.

“It is certainly valuable if man also has a heart and not merely thoughts. But the most valuable thing is when thoughts have a heart. This, however, we have completely lost.” (Lit.:GA 217, p. 21)

The full development of heart-thought requires the regular formation and activation of the heart chakra, the 12-petaled lotus flower, which operates in the immediate vicinity of the heart as a soul organ. It is the main sense of intuition, through which, among other things, it is possible to look back to previous incarnations. The heart chakra is trained and activated above all through the six secondary exercises given by Rudolf Steiner – which are by no means secondary, but essential for any modern spiritual training and must always accompany the meditative main exercises.

flowers growing from the heart

Etherealization of the blood in the heart

Starting from the heart as the center of the blood circulation, the finest physical blood components are continuously transformed into etheric substance in the smallest amounts during the waking state of man. From the heart to the head, a stream of etherized blood rises up and plays around and illuminates the pineal gland. These etheric forces of the heart penetrate the brain and radiate even beyond the head (if sufficiently strong, this appears to the imaginative gaze in the aura of the head as a halo). Only through these etheric forces are we able to grasp thoughts which are not completely bound to the egoistic needs of the organism. Aristotle still suspected this. (Lit.:GA 130, p. 89ff)

The old heart-thought and its after-effect

The old heart thinking has only a semi-conscious character and is based on the immediate feeling. Especially in everyday life it still has a strong effect today:
“By far the greatest number of people today are at that stage – which therefore definitely falls within normal consciousness – where an immediate, natural feeling towards things tells them: this is right, this is wrong, this is what you should do, this is what you should leave undone. – Man is mostly guided by such an immediate feeling with regard to what he should consider true or false.

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Inquire once in the present how many people take the trouble to really think about what are the most sacred things to them. Because they were born into certain circumstances, into a certain community, because they were not born in Turkey, for my part, but in Central Europe, they have received an immediate, original feeling that Christianity is the right thing to do and not Mohammedanism; therefore, through a certain feeling, they do not consider Mohammedan truths to be right, but that which they have in Christianity. Such a thing must not be misunderstood; thinking about it leads to real knowledge of life. So we have to be clear about the fact that for most people today an immediate feeling decides what they consider to be true or false. That is one stage of development.” (Lit.:GA 119, p. 221)