What the heart sees

Tin Bartolome

Posted at Jan 27 2017 02:52 PM

I posted this on that day as I held my then godchild to be. Memories of my own babies in my arms came one after another as I held him close and tried to soothe him as his Mamma prepared to nurse him.

I now wonder at what the answer to that question might be: heart or mind? Then again, did it matter then? We are often warned against using the heart too much. But it is the heart that allows us to accept the unacceptable, to forgive the unforgivable, to do the impossible!

The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote “It is with the heart that one sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” The Little Prince begins with trivia about boa constrictors and how they eat their prey whole. It was a glimpse of how adults (“grown-ups”) have lost their hearts’ sense of sight, such that the drawing of a boa that has swallowed an elephant looked like an innocuous hat to them.

Indeed, how does one see beyond what the eye sees? Countless people who have lost their sense of sight have and continue to accomplish great things even in the world of art. I have known people who are colorblind flourish in a world where colors are as important as figures and words. 

I have heard people say that the brains are above the heart because we must always think rather than feel. There are times when one must really make sense of things and not just rely on feelings. But there are times, too, when feelings are more important—as feelings allow us to connect with others, to learn to feel what they feel and therefore be more than just thinking creatures—but creatures who know how to love.

Prayer and Listening

The one thing that I learned is that praying means listening and not talking. Talking may relieve some pain, but it is when we are quiet that we are able to make sense of what we feel and how such feelings relate to what we said. Don’t we say hurtful things that we often do not mean?

An old friend once told me that appreciating nature is a form of prayer. Aren’t we just awed at sunsets, waves caressing the shore, the sound of rushing water as it hits rocks—or the smile of a sleeping baby


Somehow, we parents know whether our kids’ cries are really cries for help or just a test of whether they can get what they want. Lisa Be of LifeBuzz writes about Rose-Lynn Fisher whose project The Topography of Tears entailed studying 100 different tears and discovered that basal tears—tears that lubricate our eyes are so different from tears that are shed for other reasons.

Though I do not cry easily, I have been called “sensitive”. I was ambivalent about this label but I now realize that it can also mean being mindful of other people’s situation and empathize with them. Sensitive people can feel hurt or rejected by the smallest criticism but sensitivity can also mean having the ability to empathize and therefore live unselfishly.

I guess, it’s the heart that makes the mind retrieve needed information—because it’s done out of love.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.