Cultivating the Heart

Horus in the night bark (Papyrus of Ani, British Museum)

Ouspensky: One cannot be aware of oneself for fifteen minutes without a very strong emotional element. You must produce something that makes you emotional; you cannot do it without the help of the emotional center.

Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon, Chapter 8 (Chinese text): The heart is the vital center. It occupies the place of ruler. It is the sacred vessel.

The path from sleep to enlightenment is often symbolized as crossing a river, going from the shore of sleep to the other shore of Presence. To cross the illusionary waters of the world, one needs a boat. The boat symbolizes the emotional desire to strive for Divinity within; oarsmen represent effort and technique.

Buddha: This is traveling on the highest path. It is a path that leads to that other shore; the Way to the Beyond.

Macarius the Great, The Philokalia (Greek Orthodox Christian text): The ship is your heart. Guard it.

The Uddhava-Gita (Hindu text): This blessed human form is like a sturdy boat, with the guru at its helm and the wind in its sails, on which one may cross this ocean of samsara.

Ilias the Presbyter, Philokalia: By the 'oarsmen' of the spiritual ship, we understand divine thoughts.

Egyptian Coffin Texts: You sit in the ship of God and you harpoon the hippopotamus in the Winding Waterway, every god being your harpooner.
Han Shan (9th c. Chinese Taoist poet): Like a crew of angels on a shattered bark at sea. In front the mast is lost, in back the rudder, too. Drifting about as the wind blows, tossed high and low with swelling waves. How will you ever reach the shore? More effort, don't just sit there like a stiff.


Heart-shaped vase with flame (mosaic in Basilica of St. Clemente, Rome, 12th C. AD)

Horus with the sun disk of Ra
in the daybark
(Papyrus of Ani, British Museum)

Ulysses has tied himself to the mast and put wax in is ears so as not to hear
the sirens (the ten thousand I`s)
Berlin Museum 3rd c. BC

Hippopotamus hunt (The tomb of
vizier Mereuka, Egyptian, ca 2330 BC)

The enemies of Ra (The state of presence) rushed into the water, and they took the forms of hippopotami (the lower self).
-- Egyptian Legends