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Beyond The Push-Pull of Mindless Heart and Heartless Mind

Published by Susan Gillis Chapman on

  Because we live in a world of uncertainty all our relationships are touch and go.  Rilke said that lovers protect each others solitude.  He reminds us that love isn’t the solution to loneliness, it amplifies it. This is a truth we all know, deep in our hearts, but it gets lost in a culture of mindlessness.

More obvious is the painful alternative.  The push-pull cycle of heartless mind and mindless heart is dramatic, emotionally intense and totally distracting.  It spins the illusion of security by playing on our deepest hopes and fears with the promise that we can find some ground to stand on.

The price we pay for this illusion is turning a blind eye to who our lover really is.   The mindless heart script replaces our partner with an over-valued object who can rescue us from our isolation.  The heartless-mind role does the opposite, disrespecting the sensitivity of our partner and pushing away.

These patterns are life-long habits that fit into three personality styles:

1. Mindless Heart: focused on connecting at all costs ( the pulling in of addiction, craving)

2. Heartless Mind:  good at keeping a distance ( push away, aggression )

3. Couldn’t care less:  shut down, avoiding intimacy altogether

Knowing what our style is, we can practice mindful communication to restore balance.  For the Mindless Heart style we need to become more curious about the sharp edges of reality rather than fuzzing them over.  For the Heartless Mind style, we need to increase our empathy, making more room for our own vulnerable feelings and respecting others.  For the Couldn’t Care Less style, we need to pay attention to the truth of interdependence– that everything we need for survival is being delivered to us moment by moment thanks to the kindness of others.

Touch and go means that we can love and appreciate each other ( touch) and at the same time be curious about who we are ( letting go of our expectations).  It’s a courageous way to go because it is totally unreasonable and beyond manipulation.  It’s there in our first kiss and our last goodbye.  The key is to keep opening to it every moment in-between.


Susan Gillis Chapman

teaches part time for Green Zone Institute and for Karuna Training. Susan is a retired Marital and Family therapist who has been practicing mindfulness meditation for over 35 years.  She is the author of the book The Five Keys To Mindful Communication and a contributor to The Mindful Revolution, edited by Barry Boyce. Her website is: http://www.susangillischapman.com. Read more about Susan here.