The Great Pilgrimage from Head to Heart
A four-part course with John Prendergast
In this course, we experientially explore and awaken the depths of the heart area–a multidimensional center of remarkable sensitivity, feeling, and knowing. This is the sacred pilgrimage of attention from the head to the heart–what we most want in life.
The “Deep Heart” refers to three distinct dimensions along a single spectrum:
- The level of early psychological conditioning that was influenced by our relationships with our primary caregivers and early life experiences. It is here that our core limiting beliefs (such as “I am unlovable” “I am unworthy” “I am not enough” or “I am flawed”) are stored with their related feelings of shame, unworthiness, and self-doubt, along with a range of subtle somatic contractions. This domain is the primary focus of depth psychotherapy and is often numbed or walled off because it was too painful or overwhelming to bear when we were little.
- The soul level – an intermediary area of profound personal intimacy, archetypes, essential qualities such as love, compassion, and gratitude, as well as expansive states of consciousness.
- The great or universal Heart, that is impersonal, non-localized, whole, and undivided from the totality of life.
Through guided and silent meditations, heart-felt meditative inquiry, talks and conversations we will uncover and be with these unfolding dimensions of our heart. There is a natural movement between attuning with Presence (being aware of awareness) and meeting our deeply embedded conditioning. The more that we can access heart-felt Presence, the more we can intimately welcome our conditioning as it is. This facilitates a natural opening up and letting go, which in turn allows an easier, more stable access to Presence.
We experientially explore the depths of the heart area with an intention to be intimate rather than to change our experience. Having an agenda to change our experience always engenders resistance. All of our frozen and exiled parts are waiting to be met with clear, affectionate attention, with love and understanding.
We explore a form of heart-felt meditative inquiry that I have refined over several decades of working one-on-one and in groups with students and clients and learn to sit with an essential question and/or to question our core limiting beliefs, not going to our conventional thinking for an answer. Instead, we tap into heart-wisdom that responds via subtle felt-sensing. By tapping into this different and essential “operating system” we catalyze a spontaneous transformative process characterized by an experience of melting, releasing, integrating, and opening up.
We learn to first attune with the sense of Presence–awake, loving, awareness–and then welcome the conditioned heart into it. As we allow both dimensions of the heart to consciously co-exist and feel ourselves held by something greater, we experience a natural unfolding. The light of awareness begins to saturate denser levels of body/mind conditioning. As this process deepens, the apparent gap between the great heart and the human heart gradually lessens and eventually dissolves and we come to recognize ourselves as the great heart–whole and undivided within ourselves and between ourselves and the totality of life.
As we learn to fall back into and as the field of infinite, loving, wakeful awareness, we discover that it is increasingly safe to express our true nature in intimate relationships as well as everyday life; we recognize that the deepest dimension of the heart does not need protection. We also explore the roles of the illumined mind (clarity) and hara (spacious groundedness) that support the full expression of the deep heart.
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Watch with Membership
- This course, along with 50+ courses on trauma, spirituality, science, and social impact
- Over 12 years of SAND conference talks and interviews
- Discounts on all SAND events
- Members-only community space
- Intimacy with our heart
- Heart-felt meditative inquiry
- Sitting with an essential question; Questioning core limiting beliefs
- Tapping into heart-wisdom via subtle felt-sensing
- Recognizing ourselves as the totality
- The safety of expressing our true nature in intimate relationships and everyday life
- The roles of the illumined mind and hara in supporting the full expression of the heart