Henry David Thoreau said that the heart is forever inexperienced. When I read this for the first time I thought to myself, “Yes! I wish my heart could just learn to see and stop making the same mistakes over and over again.” A lack of experience can easily be taken at face value as a negative quality and I would not disagree that some of its fruits are detrimental to our development. However, it can also signify an innocence and openness untainted by having seen it all. Charles Dickens pointed out that there is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart. Thus from an intellectual perspective the heart may appear stuck in an eternal state of inexperience and yet, as Blaise Pascal said, the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.
Nelson Mandela said, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” I find myself facing the challenge of connecting my heart and head on a daily basis. As different as they sometimes operate they are both essential parts of my being that work best in conjunction with one another. I have to agree with Friedrich Nietzsche that, “One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.” William Shakespeare perhaps best formulates the unity of heart and head when he says, ” I shall the effect of this good lesson keeps as watchman to my heart.” That the lessons we learn may increase our ability to guard our hearts; and that our hearts may grace our minds to go beyond what the eye can see. I will let Antoine de Saint-Exupery bring this one home, “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”