Living from the Heart

“To speak of the heart is not to sentimentalize but to ensoul,” says author Thomas Moore. “There is a toughness and intelligence about living from the heart. . . .”1

Moore uses the phrase living from the heart to describe what the Gospels imply about a new sense of self: “openness to experience, to the opportunities and challenges that life offers.” It is a quality of living that seeks “an ever-increasing flow of life,” in contrast to self-protection. He says, “Emptying ourselves of a sense of worthiness and specialness, we are prepared to be in this world with an open heart, full compassion, and acceptance.”2

Living from the heart is organically linked to what Moore calls “Jesus’ way.” Jesus’ way has the basic qualities of living in paradox, being open to life’s variety, not judging, walking slowly and attentively through life, [and] offering love and kindness.3 It’s a new way of ordering life consisting of three things: “[honoring] people not for their position but for their humanity, [serving] all people, and [being] a healing presence wherever you are.”4

This calls us to a new way of being, Moore says. He talks about needing to make a deep shift in the way we view the world, in the basic myth by which we live. His own example is when he left a religious order and decided not to become a priest, signaling the most troubling change in life vision for him. It changed the way he imagined his place in life, and was as vitalizing as being born a second time.

Regardless of its specific expression, such a shift sums up the Jesus way. It is metanoia: life transformation, true change of heart. While it’s a way of being, it also bears fruit in doing actions that follow-through on one’s change of heart. We find ourselves creating a new kind of community. We can provoke one another to mature spiritually, “creating the climate in which a spiritual vision combines with deep engagement with life. The result is a different world order, where paranoia and its consequent aggression are replaced with neighborly respect and a sense of community”.5

Such a shift is “transformation from unconscious, self-absorbed living to a way of life shaped by love of self and others”6 – a way of living from the heart.

Betsy Schwarzentraub

1 – Thomas Moore, Writing in the Sand: Jesus & the Soul of the Gospels, p. 116.

2Ibid., p. 135.

3Ibid., p. 87.

4Ibid., p. 11.

5Ibid., p. 30.

6Ibid., p. 35.