Heart View: Accessing the Essence of Spirit through an Exploration of Written Works.

By: Erin Schifferli

heart view, blog post, erin
To Understand

To hear with your heart not your ears.
To feel with your heart not your hands.
To see with your heart not your eyes.
To speak with your heart not your mouth.
To think with your heart not your mind.
To be one with all in the heart.
— Running Elk Woman

The View, by Christopher D. Wallis, is an offering rich in insights about the true nature of reality according to the non-dual teachings of Saiva Tantra (NST). It states that, “All that exists throughout all time and beyond is one infinite divine Consciousness, free and blissful…”  The View encourages us to embark on an inward spiral, one that involves a deeper look into our origins and essence: the what, why, and how of life itself.

In seeking to understand and access the non-dual teachings of Saiva Tantra and be able to share with any student on the path, we can look to the ultimate translator, the one who speaks all languages, the heart. Many seek a life compass for direction that will help them to feel as if they are whole, as if they are walking in a way that is helpful, useful, and “right.” Often spiritual students and seekers discuss this search for the “right way,” as if they are lost in the dark looking for any trace of light to lead them. Within Wallis’ view of theistic monism (NST) there lay many seeds of wisdom that lead us back to a connection, this heart-mindedness that provides an avenue to what already exists within all beings, rather than to an external dogmatic answer or “right way.”

These seeds of wisdom allow people to recognize the divinity in all things, even disasters or mundane actions. For example, when one understands that suffering is also a divine expression of the One Consciousness and that joy and sorrow exist in an action of “self-knowledge expression,” in balance with one another, as Wallis states it, then by understanding and looking from a perspective of non-dualism, we may learn to celebrate struggle, sorrow, and suffering as we do love, light, and bliss.

At a deeper level, The View tells us that we are subjects with our own locus of awareness. So then, if all beings become aware that they have a choice in all their own attitudes and perceptions, then that may end the intensity of suffering. If we understand that suffering is part of the expression of the Divine Goddess and is therefore also her playful act of love, then as subjects with awareness, we get to choose how we perceive suffering. Layer by layer as one unpacks these lines, we approach this kernel of acceptance of all beings and all happenings as an act of Divine expression. The heart is born knowing this wisdom, and then as we grow we learn to receive the veils of our culture.


Conceivably, to stay more awake, we can see struggle to be merely an expression of divinity within the grand tapestry that is “an actualization of a timeless potentiality inherent in the Light of consciousness”. An application of this example may be seeing a dandelion as a wildflower rather than a weed needing to be removed; let us accept the beauty of all on an equal plane. Devoted spiritual practice consistently kindles gratitude and allows us to see clearly with our heart. When we see with the heart rather than the conditionings of the mind, we create the space to appreciate all expressions with equanimity and in that graceful act of acceptance and love for all beings and happenings, we experience ultimate liberation.

The poem To Understand written By Running Elk Woman, a Native American, embodies a subtle version of what I believe The View connotes. Both writings guide us into a knowing that is universal and felt within our core. They equally point us toward the same experience of our own Divine nature, our own essence. In experiencing our own divinity, we experience with our hearts the whole of the NST tradition. This awakening is parallel to a child who experiences the rain with all her senses. She now can clearly remember its essence, hear, see, smell, taste, and touch rain, knowing it within her heart and soul, even during a drought.

To Understand, is how I feel when I wake up and live my life with the knowledge of what The View explains that we are born of. When I experience the Divine reflection of Light that the Goddess expresses, ever changing, I am “one with all in my heart,” as Running Elk Woman writes so beautifully.  I am “an incandescent radiance of the complete expansion into perfect wholeness,” as Wallace notes in his description of what one experiences when the all belief in dualism is “annihilated.”

Ultimately, whether the poetry of a young Native American or the intricate explanations of a studied seeker illuminate the path for you, the message of the Universal Divine is the same: we are one, born of the same one, made in one consciousness, living in oneness of one love. We are enlightened, the moment we choose to view life from the eye of the Heart. Both The View & To Understand can help us all remember to stay inspired on the path to the remembrance of non-dualism.