I just received a yoga email advertising classes and workshops that quoted a well-respected teacher as saying not to listen to your mind and to listen only to your heart. I respectfully disagree.
I do believe that if we listen (listening in the deepest and broadest sense) only to our mind, we lose connection with body and emotion, which can lead to ill health and unhappiness. I also believe that individual consciousness is more than mind and includes bodily and emotional awareness as well as brain function and that one of the salutary aspects of yoga practices is to expand our capacity to be aware beyond thought and mere processing of sense perception.
But to listen only to our heart is to be empty-headed, to be without discrimination (viveka), and also presumes that we can process and act on what is in our heart of hearts without using our minds. To dismiss our mind as somehow not being a source for deep listening also defies the tantric yoga notion that all is an essential part of being, of consciousness, of the source of inner bliss (Satcitananda–being, consciousness, bliss). Why would we have minds if we weren’t meant to use them?
Want to be a fully engaged yogi who lives in the world? Go ahead: cultivate, educate, enlighten, and use your mind. Just do it with an open heart and ever expanding sensitivity and awareness of all your being and all that is around you!