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Chapter 14: As Below, So Above

And thirdly, you are asking, “Can the mind and the heart really work together?” They can work together, but it is one of the greatest arts - you will have to learn a certain discipline. As they are, they are far away from each other; they speak different languages. Mind speaks in words, in thoughts; heart speaks in feelings, moods, but no words. But there is a certain art in bringing them together, in making a bridge - and then they can function in harmony.

What I am calling the silences of your heart will create the bridge. Meditation will be the bridge between your mind and your heart. On the one side it will be able to communicate with the mind, on the other side it will be able to communicate with the heart. It will be a translator between two centers within you which don’t speak the same language.

But it is a very subtle art, and very few people have been able to attain to it: a few poets, a few musicians, a few mystics. Musicians have been the closest because they use music instead of language. It can express the language; it can also express the feeling and the mood. It can join the heart and the mind. The poet speaks through language, but what he says comes from the heart; he speaks his heart through the mind.

These are great disciplines, but the easiest way - because that will open other doors too - is meditation. Just becoming silent, utterly silent, you will find mind and heart coming closer. In the silence, there is a communion. The mind speaks not, the heart says nothing, but they are both overwhelmed by the understanding of meditation and they start functioning in a harmony. But remember, whether through music or poetry or dance or meditation, the art is very subtle.

I’m reminded of a story.. Three of Japan’s greatest swordsmen stand poised for a competition to begin. An enormous crowd has gathered for the event. Emperor Wu nods his head and an attendant releases a fly from a small container. Whoosh! Quicker than the human eye, the sword of the first samurai neatly splits the fly into two parts. The crowd roars its approval. Another nod from the emperor and a second fly is released. Whoosh! Whoosh! The second samurai has hardly moved, but before him lies the fly, cut cleanly into four pieces. The crowd gasps in disbelief.

Wu studies the third samurai for a long moment, then nods to the attendant who releases another fly. The third samurai makes an impressive flourish with his sword, but the fly can still be heard buzzing around. He resumes his stance as the fly buzzes off into the morning sky. Laughter and giggling ripple through the crowd.

Emperor Wu thinks he’s being mocked and made into a laughingstock. He’s furious. “I will have your head for this, you insolent samurai. That fly got away.”

“I know,” smiles the samurai wiping his sword, “but he will never make love again.”