Meditation teacher Mark Hart talks about the front of the heart and the back of the heart. The front of the heart is often about our immediate relationships, personal struggles and powerful identifiable feelings of the individual self. The back of the heart has a different feel; it opens out into a larger, inclusive, spaciousness that is not self-specific but seems to include us in boundlessness. Both experiences of the heart are profound.
These thoughts have found their way into the way I teach writing. Sometimes a prompt from outside us, delivered by someone else, that is not necessarily connected to our immediate concerns, can reveal new internal landscapes. It is a back door into the heart.