Acting On Your Heart’s Guidance ~ The Four Desires Virtual Book Club.

Via Chanti Tacoronte-Perez
on Mar 10, 2012
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Chapter 18: The Power To Do What You Know
Rod Stryker’s Four Desires (4D) Virtual Book Club

“Until you act on [your heart’s guidance], you shouldn’t expect to be happy. No one who indefinitely ignores his or her heart should.”

It’s interesting and helpful to know how, according to Vedic tradition, we make decisions.  Chapter 18 tells us to get up and act; to put what we know at the core of our being into action. Following that inner guide is the bridge between you and your heart’s desires or fulfillment.

We’ll discover what makes us either act on moving towards fulfillment or away from it?

The decision maker is called buddhi–notice the root word dhi (true knowingness). This is the part of the mind that decides. We should note it is different from our reactive mind that would move us out of the way if a ball was launched in our direction. Buddhi makes decisions based on past-experiences and self-perception.

The Buddhi’s 3 stages of development gives us insight into how we make decisions. Knowing how we make a decision can help to develop and strengthen our buddhi.


Buddhi’s 3 stages–how we decide:

1. Instant Gratification- Need I say more? These are the kind of decisions we make based on those things we have known and experienced. At this level we try to avoid anything that is unpleasant, and to maintain our sense of self (whatever that may be).

This kind of thinking reminds me of how I unconsciously linked being an artist and smoking. It was difficult for me to identify as a painter without smoking. When I smoked, I instantly (in my mind) was a creative person and believed that this was what others saw.

Rod says that this kind of thinking “has sparked many wars, the formation of inner-city gangs, drug use, child abuse, infidelity…where a choice to do or not do something based on trying to defend a false or limited understanding of one’s self or one’s relationship to the “other.”’

Basically we are preoccupied with what is pleasant and unpleasant.

2. Maturity- In this next stage we have some self-control; we not only think of ourselves or how we are perceived but we can consider the bigger picture. When we start operating on this second level, we stop and ask what will be beneficial for me in the long run? Having a strong Dharma code is helpful in this stage of conscious decision making.

Our Buddhi, in Rod’s words, is “rooted in a more evolved philosophy” at this stage. That is why we make decisions not only for ourselves but we are able to make sacrifices and understand that there will be delayed gratification that will better support us.

I stopped smoking because my best friend’s mother had just been though cancer treatment. It came from the realization of the impact it had had on her family as well as on me.  I made a conscious effort to benefit in the long run, instead of just acting from level one. Even though we are able to see the bigger picture we are still acting from self-interest.

3. Serving the highest truth- This is the kind of decision making that Mahatma Gandhi, St. Francis and Socrates made. Their choices and approach to life were not determined by making their lives more pleasant but by embodying the highest truth.

All three of these stages have their degrees. We can act on this last stage when we make a choice to embody our own highest truth. This is possible by limiting the instant gratification and engaging our life by serving ourselves, our community and our highest truth, or dharma.

Now that you know how we make choices, let’s start to make those decisions from the levels of maturity and service.  It may be interesting to observe yourself for a week and notice what stage your buddhi is at in relation to the action.

Next week, we will talk about why we resist change.


Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at 
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
The Four Desires: YouTube talks with Rod Stryker
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works
Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?


About Chanti Tacoronte-Perez

As a traveler and painter Chanti has grounded her roots in the path of yoga wherever she has landed. Chanti began practicing Yoga during her first year in college & continued when she left for Hampshire College to complete her BA in Painting/Fine Arts and Special Education. From 2001-2004 she lived and worked in Havana, Cuba as the Hampshire College Cuba Program Coordinator where she studied Iyengar Yoga. Chanti has been studying and teaching yoga in the Tantric Hatha Linage since 2005 with her teacher Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga. He has taught her that everyone has the ability to know their destination and find that road to walk on. She has currently completed the Para Yoga Certification (level I) & her Restorative Yoga training with Judith Handson Lasater. Her study of Sacred Art and Yantra Painting merge her love of Yoga with her passion for painting and education.


12 Responses to “Acting On Your Heart’s Guidance ~ The Four Desires Virtual Book Club.”

  1. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    This series is amazing. Every time. Thank you.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  2. ValCarruthers says:

    Loved this, Chanti.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  3. Hi Chanti, great piece. I've shared on my page:


  4. Amy Whelan says:

    Delayed gratification…oh yes, she and I go a long way back. Bettering myself has been a slow but rewarding process. At times I can make spontaneous decisions that come from the heart, and I'm rarely disappointed; however, the decisions that are really important to me seem to take "forever" to actualize.

    Chanti, in a post a while back, shared with me that my yoga practice is benefitting me now, and will even be a greater benefit when I actually choose to become a yoga teacher. My internal struggle is that if I wait too long, I'll be too old! I'm 46 now, and certainly cannot afford the time or $$$ needed at this point.

    What I am doing now, is taking part in Rod's Saturday conference in Chicago on March 17. This is building my skills and devotion to yoga a little at a time. So again, thank you, Chanti, for pointing out that all my time now devoted to yoga will be a benefit to me when I decide to commit to a yoga training program in the future.

  5. Vanessa says:

    I am trying to make a hard decision, to leave a job where I love the children I look after and most of my colleagues, but the company I work for is completely money focused. In my thoughts I am ambivalent, changing my mind and feeling the chaos of confusion. In my heart I know that I need to find a place of work/service that concurs with my personal philosophy and values. It is an easy choice when I listen to my heart.

  6. Amy Whelan says:

    I'm a teacher and I know what you are feeling. It is very difficult to leave the children, but when it comes to administraton, the decision seems easy. Like you said, your heart will guide you. Good luck, Vanessa!

  7. Chanti says:

    Hi Amy,
    Glad to hear that you are really benefiting from all this…one day you will share not only your new passion for teaching yoga but it will be easier to transmit it because you have worked so much on your self. AND your going to see Rod…..Amazing. Thanks for being here!

  8. Chanti says:

    Hi Vanessa,
    Glad that you are listening to your heart, spend some time there, get to know it well….good luck on your decision.

  9. […] heard it said that it is prudent to follow one’s instinct and then dive into the choices we make with haste. Imperative, in fact, to jump in head first, or we will most certainly run off course due to […]