Today’s word is the “heart.” And the journey to the heart requires us to go through the barriers that we have put up, most likely to protect it!
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi
Now here comes the paradox: in order to journey towards the heart, you need courage…and courage comes from the French word “cuer” which means heart!! To get to the heart, you need the heart?! So, how can that happen?
The clue is found in the fact that in order to have the word courage, you HAVE to have fear. If there is no fear, there can be no courage. The word would be meaningless!
So we can then understand that we have to have situations that we don’t want, that fuel our strong longing to connect with the heart; and fear certainly has the potential to move us, either toward or away from situations. If we go into the fear rather than run away, an amazing thing occurs. The fear begins to guide us towards the heart! Now don’t believe a word I just wrote. A belief is worthless. Rather, experience what happens when you stop fighting with fear, and find what is there for you.
For me, in that amazing moment, the miracle happens: the heart becomes available.And to finish this little vignette on the heart, I would like to share a wonderful German expression that goes like this:
Wirf dein herz voraus und spring hinterher!
Translated, it means “Throw your heart ahead and jump after it!”
Or, in other words, FOLLOW YOUR HEART!!
There is an interesting phenomenon I’d like to explore here with you.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone was wanting something from you and you got upset or flustered or felt imposed upon – and things became “serious”? This happened to my wife recently, and we had a good look at it together last night. A friend pointed out that some people don’t get upset or flustered in those situations. They just take it in and respond from a more relaxed place.I see now that I do both. So I became interested in what the difference was.
What I discovered was that if I had an investment in being a certain kind of person, and in saying “no” to the other put that image of me in danger, then I could easily become flustered! My upset would come from having to say or do something that might upset the other person. And then, my image would be tarnished or blown. So, I was upset at the person for putting me in that position!
But when I had no interest in what the other thought of me, I could just go in and experience whether a yes or a no was there. No pressure from within to BE a particular kind of person. Then it was easy to say what I was really feeling.
I can’t MAKE myself be the non-serious one, but over the years, it has gotten easier to stay with myself and do what is right for me, rather than act from wanting the other to see me in a certain light.
So my wife’s experience became a teacher for me to remember to bring awareness into the different ways I react or respond to others’ requests or demands, and to learn from them. It is amazing how many of these lessons are available every day. All I have to do is be open to them.
I just heard the song “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You.” It’s part of the “boomer” generation, and it gave me a good understanding of why life and relationships are so difficult and full of anxiety!
Through movies, TV and books, I was raised with the belief that the only way I was going to live a meaningful life was to have someone love me, deeply and fully. Without that, I was destined to live an empty, loveless life!! So, hat in hand, I went “out there” to find the girl and friends who would fulfill me.
I know that this extreme thought may look ridiculous to me now, but I also see how it has penetrated my unconscious mind so deeply, that it STILL holds power of me. That is why I am still trying to get people to find me of value. It is obvious that if they don’t, I can still feel sad and hurt.
I now understand that this belief is the roadblock to loving myself and to connecting with my own heart. It keeps me looking outside for a heart to connect to – which can be, by the way, a full-time job with NO PERKS! It also leads me to strategies that shut me down when I don’t get the needed attention from others.What a mess!So, the first step has been to become aware of this belief rolling around inside me, and especially when it surfaces in situations. That moment gives me an opportunity to experience how it functions and affects me. The second is to keep supporting my meditation practice, which allows me to be aware of those moments when it surfaces, and to go inside and connect with an inexpressible joy, silence and stillness that awaits me there. This experience keeps teaching me that going outside simply DOES NOT WORK to fulfill myself. To FILL myself FULL of love can only come from the wellspring of my own heart!!
I am writing this to both remind myself and to share with you the reality that the connection with the heart is real, and the experience of doing that is ecstatic…and that it IS available. This is especially helpful to remember when that experience is farthest from a given moment. Then watching and relaxing into what is, is the first step to reconnection.
I had a conversation with a friend about the joy of coming home after being away for a period of time. After living a bit rustically, it was nice to come back to my own bed and the familiar surroundings of home.
What struck me about the idea of home was that it was a physical place and that I had to be there to have the feeling of “being at home.” Because I am traveling more these days, I realized that “home” had become more a feeling, an experience, that was inside me, rather than my external trappings. It seems I give myself permission to be more relaxed in my physical home than on the road! So, I have been more attentive to the experience of feeling – and not feeling – at home. And I have observed that the old, hackneyed expression, “home is where the heart is,” is true for me! Whenever the heart is open and is able to connect with others, THAT place truly feels like home.
So, I must be getting out of the way of the heart at my physical home – at least when I first arrive. Just a short while later, that good feeling disappears, as I settle in to what I need to do to get back into my daily life. It comes back only when there is again a connection with the heart.
Knowing this, and knowing the experience of a rich heart connection, I am putting myself in the way of everything I know that supports this connection: meditation, being with friends, cooking delicious meals with them, taking walks in nature, enjoying humor and laughter, touching my beloved, dancing, singing, watching wonderful movies like “Bab Aziz” and “As It Is In Heaven,” and more. It seems that the path to the heart isn’t as blocked or congested these days. There’s a growing understanding that I can bring home with me wherever I go – or stay!
I just read an article from Gangaji, who has wonderful insights into life. But sometimes I find that her choice of words makes reading them difficult. What she said struck me in my own personal experience; so I sat down and wrote my experience in my own words. Here it is:
For me, growing up means that I am willing to look at the parts of me that I have rejected and have excluded from the IMAGE of who I THINK I am.
Choosing only this image divides me and does not allow me to be whole.
I become a grown-up when I am willing to open all the hidden spaces, include them, and become free of limiting concepts about who I am.
How to support the youthfulness inside has been on my radar for some time now. And I have found two easy ways to do this!
They are dancing and singing.
When I am in the dance, deep enough so that my feeling of separation from the dance disappears, then I experience a euphoria that connects back to my early childhood, and I again become that free spirit that inhabited my early days.
And when I sing with abandon, it is such a thrill that I usually get goose bumps up and down my arms! It is a feeling of youthful delight!
So, I invite you to find a few moments each day to dance and sing. Maybe you can find others who want to join you. Or you can do it alone – whatever your preference.
The Sufi mystic, Hafiz, had it right (by me) when he said:
“God only knows four words: Come dance with me.”
I find it noble and good to point to the absurdities that people, who appear lost in the mind and disconnected from the heart, produce. Many enlightened people have done that. So, yes, shout it from the rooftops if that is what you wish to do.
But, in the process, I find it essential to remember NOT to get lost in MY mind and forget to connect with MY heart!
Otherwise I will forever be caught in the traps of my own mind if I fight with others’ minds!
I remember earlier times when I would be steaming with words in the hope of persuading
someone to my point of view, hoping that “their intelligence would see the light of truth in what I said.” In that moment, I was as much in the mind as anyone else.
It is a fine line between assertively speaking truth and aggressively fighting for it. And it is up to each of us to become aware of the difference.
Slowly, I have gotten to know the machinations and politics of my own mind! With the help of meditation, there are moments when I dis-identify with the fighting mind, and reconnect with the heart. In those moments, there is no fight.
In THAT space, change can happen, from war to peace.
The less “I” am.
The more “I” am
This photo is a reminder of our oneness…reflected in everything!
After all the digging and searching and inquiring, there are precious experiences of relaxing into this moment…and the doors of existence open where everything is divine.