The Zen of Heartstorming: Ego Individuation and the Self-actualization of the Soul

“Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.” ~ Khalil Gibran

See yourself within everything, and everything within yourself. The illusion is our separation. We are one. But we must not forget that we are also aspects of The One. We are individual waves crashing out of a mighty cosmic ocean. We’re all connected, but we’re also all unique.

Heartstorming is first and foremost a process of elimination, a washing away, a deep cleansing. What we’re eliminating is superfluity, excess baggage.

Just as a storm comes through and cleanses the world with its rains, a heartstorm comes through and cleanses the human heart of its excess, its glut, its surfeit. After a storm comes through, things that were once hard and dry begin to blossom and grow. Similarly, when a heartstorm comes through, things that were once hard and dry within the psyche begin to blossom and grow.

Heartstorming is a process of elimination, but it is mostly a transformative process. What transforms the most is the ego. Before the crucial heartstorm, the ego is a hardened thing, a blackened nut with a too-hard shell so full of itself it can’t see that it needs to burst in order to flourish.

It’s so focused on being hard and invulnerable that it cannot realize the greater power-potential that lies within being soft and vulnerable. The heartstorm is precisely the thing needed to dissolve the hardened shell of the ego and reveal (individuate) the rich soulful guts trapped within it.

Call it Ego death. Call it a dark night of the soul. Call it what you will. When the heart experiences a storm, a true storm, a tempest that sincerely tests the will of the individual, change is inevitable and transformation is tantamount to death, but a glorious rebirth is at hand, and there is no going back to the old stagnant form.

sufferingHeartstorming is a journey, a walking meditation, a process of ego individuation and soul self-actualization. It is a method of questioning in which a member of a tribe contributes creative questions spontaneously, first to his/her self and then to the tribe; the kind of questions that cause upheaval and overthrow cultural programming.

It can manifest in art, in dance, in communication, or even in play. Equal parts self-interrogation and questioning to the nth degree, heartstorming is living alchemically through creative manifestation. It is a transformation of tradition into innovation, parochialism into universalism, codependency into independency into interdependency.

It leads to the ability to adapt and overcome any given situation, because it flattens the box of convention and makes one less easily pigeonholed, while also preventing self-power from ever getting to the point to where it can become corrupt.

Such ability is a boon for both the individual and their tribe, for, as Joseph Campbell said, “The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” Heartstorming is nothing short of a vitalizing sharpening stone used to sharpen and vitalize the instrument of man. And when combined with meditation, especially heart chakra meditation, it is Vitalization par excellence.

Heartstorming helps us to think less codependently/selfishly and more interdependently/empathically. Like Derrick Jensen said, “We must learn how to think like the planet.” Heartstorming boots us out of our mind and into a state of no-mind where the heart “feels” its way and is free to navigate the precarious waters of the human condition without the psychological/psychosocial hang-ups that viciously plague the enculturated mind.

It kicks us out of wordy language and into a language that’s older than words. What happens as a result is an eco-conscious awareness that trumps ego-consciousness, and we’re finally able to have a heart-to-heart “conversation” with Mother Nature herself.

What we learn changes us profoundly. It launches us into Big Mind. We find that we are no longer limited by small-picture thinking, we are vitalized by big-picture thinking. Big Mind is free to fly over Small Mind with over-eyes and frontal lobes like wings that split the sky.

Like Leonardo da Vinci said, “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.”

storm-heartHeartstorms create a sacred space inside where we can find ourselves again and again. Indeed, where our imaginations are allowed to fly. The more we heartstorm the more we maintain our heart’s vitality, the more we resonate with the universe.

Indeed, the goal of heartstorming is precisely the goal of making our heartbeat match the beat of the universe. It helps us let go of expectation and embrace what our destiny has in store for us.

From this sacred space we are free to discover our bliss. Our bliss is our life’s passion, what we were put here to do. When we discover what excites us, we can then make that the basis for our personal hero’s journey.

Like Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” No wall is big enough to withstand the power of a genuine heartstorm. Not even the walls of the heart. Heartbreak doesn’t hurt because our heart is breaking; it hurts because our heart is growing. It’s getting bigger. It’s becoming the world.

But, and here’s the rub, there will always be walls. And that’s okay. That’s why heartstorming is a process, a journey, and not a destination. Walls will go up and they tend to stay up unless something brings them down.

An authentic heartstorm is just the leveling mechanism needed to bring them down. The Ego itself is a wall before the first heartstorm dissolves its too-hard carapace. The aftermath creates a sacred space for vital resurrection. Like Wendell Berry poetically opined, striking at the heart of heartstorming…

“As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”

Image source:

Heart tornado
Eckhart Tolle quote
Heart lightning
Light in My Heart

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Gary Z McGee
Gary Z McGee
Gary 'Z' McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.