Kabir Helminski, a Sufi shaikh, has wisely observed: "Hearts need education and refinement just as the body needs exercise and moderation." He is right. But people are nervous about looking within or getting overly emotional. And in our bottom-line society, heart knowledge tends to be treated as impractical and worthless. Yet the heart is often mentioned in the spiritual traditions as being the locus of the spiritual life. The world's religions offer sacred texts and practices about such heart skills as compassion, kindness, reverence, listening, openness, and hospitality.

February is National Heart Month, and so we invite you to join us on a royal tour of the heart. The heart is the seat of wisdom for the Jews, the hub of the universe for Hindus, the throne of God for Sufis, an important quality for Buddhists, the essence of what it means to be human for Confucians, and the abode of the kingdom of God for Christians.

We chose to salute heart knowledge because of the heartlessness of these violent times and because of the growing number of people who feel disheartened. It is possible to tenderize this faculty and to become gentler people. Many spiritual individuals who have modeled this for us in word and deed. They challenge us to become wholehearted, to live with a heart free of possessiveness, and to treat others with a loving heart.

All the heart's multiple messages cannot be contained in words, but words give us a start. We can speak to each other heart to heart and be truly present with open hearts. The path of heart is a fulfilling and fruitful path one that leads to deep meaning and joy. Join us for the journey, day-by-day.

About the Found Heart Photographs

The universe loves the heart! Why else would so many objects in our world appear in this familiar form? Rick Ruggles is an avid photographer whose keen eye for detail led him to notice a heart-shaped pothole in the fall of 2000, sparking the idea for a Valentine. Inspired by that single image, Rick began seeing hearts in shadows, clouds, puddles, flowers, rocks, leaves, and a lot of other places. His collection of "found hearts" now numbers in the thousands.

We stumbled upon Rick's work when we saw a poster of heart-shaped rocks in a catalog. Being rock lovers, we were immediately entranced. On his website we found posters, calendars, books, puzzles, magnets, postcards, greeting cards, and more. We emailed him to ask if we could use some of his photos with our quotes about the heart, and he graciously said "Yes." We encourage you to visit Rick's website to be inspired by his creativity and to support it by purchasing your own copies of his hearts.

Quotations about the Heart