The HeartWay And Overcoming the Shoulds

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The HeartWay And Overcoming the Shoulds

The Heart, Shoulds and Overcoming the Trap of Scientific Materialism

By Norm and Skye Hirst, Ph.D.

Philosopher author of "Process and Reality" - Alfred North Whitehead said. There persists  … the fixed scientific cosmology which presupposes the ultimate fact of an irreducible brute matter, or material, spread throughout space in a flux of configurations.  In itself such a material is senseless, valueless and purposeless.  It just does what it does do, following a fixed routine imposed by external relations which do not spring from the nature of its being. 

That is scientific materialism. Materialism is the belief that we exist as material beings in a material world, all of whose phenomena are the consequences of material relations among material entities.

Ironically, as humans, it seems we have much to learn about what it means to be alive because a majority of effort by humanity has gone into learning more about things, technology and matter, not life-itself. Scientific materialism has dominated every fabric of our existence so much so that few people today even know that it was a philosophical, metaphysical choice so many years ago (at least 2500 years) that took science in the direction it has.

We are in the midst of choosing again.

So to facilitate the evolution in consciousness, to grow a new mind with new assumptions in thinking, feeling and knowing about what it means to be alive, Norm and I want to change the focus of our articles for IT. In recent articles, Norm and I have been talking to you about new findings in the realm of life-itself. We hope to engage you now in a process you can use to grow your own recognition of life changing shifts occurring around you, among you, and within you and to grow your own LifeCentric living and thinking awareness. Our series will focus on different challenges of daily living as the break with scientific materialism that we began to discuss in earlier articles widens. We'll try to illuminate your sense of being alive with insights into the metaphysics, the philosophy, and experiences that show the new science of life indeed evolving.

  • We will attempt to bring into focus the old assumptions that keep us blind. That is, we know lots of things aren't working, but we can't seem to get at why or what, exactly.
  • Then we'll introduce foundations for new choices now possible to you, individually and collectively to navigate the "Great Shift" that is occurring.

The theme for this month’s Inner Tapestry issue is the heart. What an opportunity for us to begin there! Materialism has created a major disconnect between the heart and mind in so many ways. We need new language and tools, even perhaps a new mind to bring them back together. As we go into this series of articles, we hope you will discover your heart way of knowing and in so doing, grow a new mind that can help us all better navigate as we create our lives together.

The dominance of the Should-World

Much of the suffering in the world can be traced directly to the ignorance of how elegantly life has provided us with the capacity for living in harmony. Through no fault of anyone in particular, an interwoven system of overlapping belief clusters (religious, science etc.) have continuously "should on us." Inherent abilities to be, both, self-determining AND connected to the oneness have been overpowered by what has been considered the "facts of reality" stemming from materialism.

The ethics and moral codes that have been generated in an attempt to control the human being don't work, however much we wish they would. We keep creating more and more rules for ourselves in hopes that we can become the people we think we "should" be. We “should on” one another and ourselves only to be further frustrated and feeling lacking.

Many centuries of materialism metaphysics dominance has produced clusters of beliefs that we are things that must be controlled through morality codes, ethics of behavior derived by an elite and spiritually elevated few. It has been believed, to control the bestiality of man, that these codes must be passed down to the less than holy human being to help him/her find his way in living together. Such is the stuff of "constraining, controlling shoulds" accompanied by punishments of a physical and psychological nature to keep us under control, an "outside>in" method of crowd control. You can follow the sad implications and results of such attempts – Children who are taught to be afraid of their parents' disapproving hands and words. People who grow up with guilt for not being that person they were told they "should" be and are not. A corporal punishment justice system that believes the ultimate form of control should be the right to take away life.

The Heart-Should

We're discovering a "heart-should." This is quite different from constraining shoulds. The heart-should is one that emerges from awareness of inner relations between the heart and the whole of who you are. As you connect to these inner relations, you become aware of value dynamics at work. And they can guide you with awareness of all you are; the unique identity nature you were born with, your purpose of being, plus the unity of your experience, knowledge, and learning. It's like coming home to yourself and feeling the safety there you can trust. It's an inner direction that feels freeing and liberating because it feels coherent with all you are. And amazingly, it all begins to make sense, your place in it all, the oneness, the cosmos, life-itself.

Pretty handy, this heart. The heart knows the way. The brain is connected to the heart. In fact, the whole of our body and mind is a unified field nested in other unified fields such as various societies, Gaia and the cosmos. Isn't it nice that we have a heart to guide us? Unfortunately a major interrupt of this ability is severed at birth.

To grasp how this has and is happening all to often, our heart story takes a pause while we explain a bit that can help us understand it hopefully.

A Primer On The Metaphysics that Forms Our Reality

Remember from our earlier articles that in life itself (organismic reality), there are no isolated stand- alone facts. Every alleged fact is in a context from which it takes meaning. Every living organism provides a unique context. The world, the cosmos, you and me, and events are not static things but instead are living organisms in a continuum of becoming.

Yet in the old paradigm of scientific materialism is the belief that we exist as material beings in a material world, all of whose phenomena are the consequences of material relations among material entities. Here is just a brief primer on metaphysics of material, the current worldview and thinking that is quickly coming into question with the shift in consciousness.

Many people today believe that materialism has been validated by science. It has not. It is not a scientific requirement. It is a metaphysical assumption. I suspect that most people would rather not know about metaphysics. But, like it or not, by the time we learn a language and grow up in a given culture, we are committed to a metaphysics or set of fundamental assumptions about what reality is. If we are committed to a metaphysics of materialism, such assumptions will cause us to be caught in a life destroying trap. From that perspective, as we explore the arena we live in and try to make sense of it, all we can assume is matter is senseless, valueless and purposeless.

To move into understanding life, we need a new metaphysics of organism.

Metaphysics – Living organisms learn by acts of inquiry. Acts of inquiry are based on what reason provides. When we reason, there are necessary starting assumptions that drive how we inquire. They are metaphysical assumptions.
Metaphysics of organism.
Now new discoveries are revealing the arena we live in to be a living organism. Indeed it appears the cosmos is a living organism.  In structure, an organism may appear to have many parts, but in process and function organism consists of societies of actors, acting on the basis of communication and coordination with all that organism’s societies and actors.  Thus organisms function as a single holism.  
Steeped in materialism, such a thought will appear to be utter nonsense. And yet, events are happening in laboratories that materialism cannot explain. A metaphysics of organisms can explain them.  Furthermore, we believe, based on relational quantum theory, the reality underlying quantum theory is a living organism.  That is why quantum theory is so difficult to interpret.

There are new discoveries about the heart that contradict scientific materialism. Many of you may remember the books of Joseph Chilton Pearce Magical Child Mature in 1985 and his latest Biology of Transcendence. Pearce gives a long list of adult characteristics of such "unbonded' children in Magical Child Matures in his chapter on Bonding and Attachment. Many connecting elements of our society in trouble today can be attributed to the ever, spiraling effects of people who begin life in an "unsafe" heart-separated reality. Recent research helps explain how bonding is more than a mere metaphor but instead essential to our biology and psyche for living coherent lives. From his work and Touch the Future publications ( ), we quote a summary of recent research about the heart functions:

From new research on the intelligence of the heart:
Up to 65 percent of the cells of the heart are neurons just like those found in the brain. There is a direct unmediated neuro-connection, a direct pipeline, between the heart and the brain. The brain informs the heart of its general emotional state and the heart encourages the brain to make an intelligent response.  The emerging field of Neurocardiology and research at the Institute of Heartmath place the intelligence of the heart in the field of biology, where it belongs.
Each phase of the heartbeat creates its own part of the field affect that surrounds the body. The first is very short, close to the heart. The next radiates outward at least three feet and is very powerful. The third field extends twelve to fifteen feet from the body. It is easy to see that one person’s field will often overlap another’s. When two fields overlap they interact. This resonant field affect is present in every relationship, but is particularly important for mothers and infants. The meaning of the fields shared by mother and infant contain a great deal of critical information for both.
That heart fields interact and entrain is a precise, measurable, scientific fact. The amplitude and the Hertz value of the two heart frequencies become coherent, creating a state of harmony, wholeness and health. When the infant’s heart and the mother’s heart are entrained, their brain structures also become synchronized. We refer to this balanced state as bonding between mother and infant.
Failing the initial bond with the mother, all subsequent bonding is not only put at risk but is very difficult to bring about. Studies at Harvard show that the nature of our early bonds is reflected throughout life, both in one's health and ability to interact socially. Allan Schore describes how the first eighteen months determine the subsequent moves of the intelligence. Why? Because the emotional experience the child is given during the first eighteen months determines the nature and quality of the neural structures that develop in that period. Emotional nurturing translates directly into the field affect, shared or not shared, with the immediate environment. During those first eighteen months that environment is mother, father, and other primary caregivers.

The Heart Is The Master Coordinator

Based on scientific materialism doctors have historically created birthing protocols that directly interfere with this necessary child/mother bonding as well as many other organic processes life-itself provides. The materialism worldview, a world of things that are isolated and separate, cannot fathom such a process.

We can choose again to find another way?

The heart is the master coordinator. The hearts of child and mother synchronizing as one, then following birth to synchronize with primary relationships of parents and other primary care-givers is perhaps one of the most fundamental anchors for life. Absent that initial sense of safety that comes from this bonding synchronization, the child grows up with an external focus that cannot ever adequately guide him/her to coherent action and fulfilling satisfaction.

With work, we can reconnect to our heart knowing and once again come into sync with ourselves. Those who use meditation, Gendlin's Focusing Techniques, or such quieting processes are on their way to connecting to wisdom of self-knowing.

From so many being stripped of the heart connection early at birth, we live in a world where many people are lost to find their way except through "second guessing" what is right action for themselves from outside>in. They substitute an inherent ability to follow their heart with a set of rules, comparisons, competitions for approval and acceptance that ends in suffering of every imaginable sort. Our local newspaper editor wrote that he felt suffering was in some way more complex than we are being led to believe by academics or pop psychologists and religious leaders. Suffering, he believes, is not of our own making entirely. We agree.