Sometimes I say that one should know God through the heart, and yet this is not enough. There is a lesson it it, though; because the heart is the path of surrender that leads to the soul, and it is the gatekeeper and guardian, the point at which I must leave what I am aside and move further than what I am and what I can be into what is, which is not of me as I know myself.
This question of knowing myself is difficult, first because I cannot really ever know myself—the very conceit itself is a secret form of arrogance—and second, because what I know of myself is only useful to the extent that it is cast aside.
I can’t know myself in any fundamental sense because I have no Being except through God; and so my impressions of Being, such as they are, are illusory, something the Buddha attempted to teach. Anything I learn is a fallen thing, fallen in the sense of falling short of what must be known; and so each known thing becomes a principle to abandon, not incorporate, as though I were, by taking things in, ultimately, and counterintuitively, actually attempting to flush the body of my Being out until it empties.
This flushing out takes place through the heart, and is symbolized by the water that flows from the eyes in sorrow, which is directly connected to the heart.
So the heart is the path of sorrow, as the Christ taught us, and we must go straight through that path without looking to the left or to the right if we wish to meet the soul. The soul lies there, past the heart, and the heart is the gate and the threshold over which we must step, in which action we die to the world.
This is a hard thing; no one wants to die to this world, which is such a good thing and so obviously of God. I am sure of this, that I do not want to die to the world; it's been shown to me quite clearly. If it is not shown to me, then for certain I still believe in it, and I believe I can do it; but through grace it may be shown that this is in no way possible, and that in fact it defines exactly where I am: refusing.
This is the problem; I love God so much here, as He is in allegory, that I cannot imagine or know how much more I will love God in the flesh. I am actually afraid that by dying I may lose something of God.
I will say it is not quite like this, but right now, as we are, it is as though God simply imagines us, like a lover living in some distant city who we long to be with, and we can only become real to God—and He to us—by putting aside all the things in this known city, all our affairs and goods, all our acquaintances and activities, and setting out to that distant city God lives in. Ah! This is a hard thing. Who would do it? But He will meet us there in that new city with open arms, and then and only then will we become real to Him, and He to us.
It’s through the heart that that gate out of this known city leads; and although the city has many gates that leave it—some with names that are filled with beauty, and others with terror—there is only one gate of the heart, which we must know and take, if we decide to leave.