Living from the Heart

Our hearts are certainly complex and capable of opening and embracing the most unexpected dualities and differences. The heart will feel what it feels even when it is not convenient and doesn’t look good on paper.  It can inspire us to become better human beings when we dig deep and have the capacity to forgive what is seen as unforgivable. It has the capacity to heal us by opening up even after it has been broken or start over when it seems that all has been lost.  It can find a path through adversity where our thinking mind would be rendered useless.  Love, compassion and empathy can flow freely through the heart where the mind would be calculating and planning to see what makes the most sense.  

The best way is to make use of both the mind and the heart.    Most of us are skewed and rely heavily on our rational, logical thinking and don’t balance it with the wisdom  and perspective that is available to us from our hearts. Bowing the head to the heart in a symbolic act of surrender to love and openness can feel like a leap of faith. It might even  feel scary and foreign in certain situations.  What do you have to loose?  You can put your boundary back in place if need be but how often do you consciously take the walls down and open up?  Try approaching something with kindness instead of judgement or criticism and see how it works.  I have witnessed kindness, openness and love completely disarm and transform the most difficult and complex situations.   

Without being open and loving to ourselves first it is not possible to offer this to others. We can only be open and loving to others to the extent that we have offered this to ourselves.

Collectively we are being called to go deeper into our hearts and learn how to live from its center.  It is our only hope if we are to overcome the division that is currently so common place in the world.  Meeting life with the mind connected to the heart begins as an inner journey and extends beyond our personal lives touching all who we come into contact with.  

Signs of the times

I’m driving and suddenly I notice lots of lawn signs popping up everywhere lining the streets in front of Mc Donald’s and by office buildings.  Empathy, compassion, love, healing , thank you.  Do we need to be reminded?  Have we forgotten or lost touch with our true nature because life has just been too chaotic?  Have worries, Amazon, smart phones, work and the political environment numbed us out?  Has it overshadowed the essential truth that all human beings want and need the same things?  We must need reminding.    

These are qualities that should flow freely in a person that isn’t stressed out, fearful or feeling compromised in some way.  We are so caught up that we are not able to focus on what connects us all.  

It seems that compassion and a loving presence don’t just emanate from us effortlessly especially right now.  We can, however, consciously decide  the kind of presence we wish to be in the world and choose it over and over again. It will become hardwired into our very psyche and nervous system as we  unplug from what we have grown accustomed to.  Remembering the true qualities that we all share can awaken their power as we consciously lean into them over and over again.  It is the brave heart, the warrior heart that will choose this path.   

Remembering that there is power in right action and fall in love with this state without expectations and conditions because life doesn’t work that way.  The universe works in mysterious ways that we will never fully comprehend.  It’s  a letting go, a surrender, a falling into the abyss and trusting a power greater than ourselves brought all this into existence.  Letting go of the need to arm ourselves against life and instead trust life.   The source of life has your back and will be there with the power of the universe behind it.  It’s time to be the change we wish to see in the world.  It’s time to remember who we really are.

Is lasting change possible?

Will lasting change happen as a result of this pandemic?

Several people have asked me this question over the last few weeks.  

Everyone at every stage in life is effected and everyone is experiencing some degree of loss and sufferring.  It is this kind of challenge that spurs the deepest spiritual growth.  It is not something that we would willingly choose because we are pushed outside of our comfort zone.  

We can’t wiggle out of this one.  In other words, there is no way we can change it. It is out of our control.  The situation has to run its course and until it does we will have to find inner resources so that we can get through this.    

If you are in a lot of fear I recommend taking all the  practical steps that you can to help yourself.  Use all the tools at your disposal like unemployment, mortgage assistance and any other program that might be available to you now.  Make sure you have food in your house and other essential supplies and don’t go out if you are vulnerable or dealing with health challenges.  Most importantly ask for help if you need it.  We are all going through this and we are in this together. 

After you have done these things the best thing you can do is take it step by step and day by day.  Don’t get ahead of yourself.  Your mind will always conjure up the worst case scenario.  The hard part about this is that there is no way to fight a projection of your mind.  It isn’t happening now so there is no way to effectively deal with it.  When you are faced with a situation in the moment you will know how to act.  Think about it for a minute.  Have you ever faced an emergency like someone you love getting hurt or a having an accident?  In the moment you jumped into action and many people report that they didn’t think it through they just intuitively knew what to do. 

Eckhart Tolle’ talks a lot about this in his work.  Stay in the now because there is no way to deal with a thought about a possible future problem.  You can only deal with it now.  Then he recommends once you become aware that your thoughts are causing you suffering come into your body and sense your inner energy field.   This brings you quickly and easily into the present moment.  First close your eyes and feel the energy in your hands it might be subtle but with practice you will be able to feel it.  When your eyes are closed you know that you still have hands and you know that you still have a body.  I know it sounds simple but it is an excellent way to take your mind out of troubled thinking and into the present.  It is also a very healing and restorative practice because you powerfully interrupt a negative and draining habit.  

Closing your eyes and feel the energy inside your body.  Practice makes it easy, enjoyable and restorative.

The other thing I want to mention is a concept Pema Chodron talks about a lot in her work called Maitri.  It is a Buddhist term that that means unconditional friendliness towards yourself.   If for some reason you can’t focus on your inner body or it just doesn’t resonate for you try meeting your feelings differently.  We don’t know why you are having theses strong fearful or anxiety provoking thoughts and feelings but meet them with love as if it were a young child coming to you for comfort.  It’s amazing how quickly this can quiet the internal storm.   No matter what you are thinking or feeling imagine you are hearing this story from someone that you dearly love and show that same love, understanding and acceptance to yourself.  This is a practice that reaps immediate rewards because you let go of the internal fight. You can’t have a tug of war if no one is on the other side tugging back.  

I love the idea of unconditional friendliness towards ourselves.  We rarely treat ourselves with such compassion and yet we require ourselves to meet others this way.  This becomes truly possible and less effortful when we practice Maitri.  When we can bear our own suffering we are more able to bear the suffering of others and the world and this is how change takes root.