It occurred to me this morning during my meditation that in order to close the heart it takes effort. An open heart is relaxed open, whereas anything less than an open heart requires some degree of conscious or unconscious effort.
Another way of saying this is that the effortless state of an open heart is the natural one. An open heart is the heart in its natural state.
This is not to condone any intent to push the heart open, which is a common, usually unconscious intention in many spiritual communities.
The heart can only be invited open with gentleness and patience. Otherwise, imagine shouting at a flower to open before it is ready–that will be quite counterproductive.
Don’t try to convince the heart to open with mental logic either. The heart has an intelligence of its own, which doesn’t respond well to logic.
What the heart needs in order to relax back open and return to its natural glowing, undefended state is presence and awareness and patience.
An open heart also doesn’t necessarily imply naivety, as some may presume.
My hypothesis is that an open heart somehow lays the foundation for the development of wisdom, as it is the hub of the 4th chakra, while the 5th chakra in the throat is the blue ray of wisdom. An open heart also confers protection in a way I do not yet understand. I read about this in The Ra Material.
I’ve also read in some places that the best protection is an open heart. This is a bit difficult for me to believe, however this idea does strike a cord in me, and I’d like to believe it is true.
The Amartya teach that when we have truly given up our attachments and are genuinely standing in the glow of an undefended heart, our love becomes the medium for our actions, which would then be a direct expression of the sacred Self.
I imagine that if I were to keep an open, undefended heart, that I would occasionally encounter intense pain, when people act in a hurtful way or maybe when they simply don’t offer me the presence, patience and understanding that I would like extended towards me, which inevitably is a part of life.
What I’m learning from this, and what I’m intending to practice is to keep an open heart anyway, knowing that it is effort to keep the heart closed and defended; trusting that in the process, my wisdom will grow in order to avoid increasingly more often situations which would be harmful and to create increasingly more often situations which would be helpful for my harmonious growth and evolution.
And when others fail to “be there” for me, when they do not offer me the presence, patience, understanding, skillfulness, or whatever it may be which I would like for them to offer me, I trust that I will be there for myself.
I choose to be present, patient, and understanding with myself, regardless of others’ actions, and to develop the skillfulness in myself which I may find necessary for my growth and evolution–for my growing senses of love, joy and peace.
When I’m Disappointed In Others Or In Myself
I know others will continue to let me down in various expected or unexpected ways, and I use these opportunities to compassionately learn about what I can or cannot rely on different people for. Not in a condemning way, but in a wise way, so that I can navigate and create my life more masterfully.
Despite doing my best, I may still encounter pain. It is helpful for me to remember that painful situations I encounter are opportunities for me to learn and grow. I choose to ask with humility, “What can I learn from this situation?”
I don’t see why any of this would require me to close my heart.
And when I fail myself, to be present or patient or understanding “enough” with myself, then I know that the sacred Self is there for me, and forgives me before I’ve forgiven myself, with infinite compassion, patience, presence and understanding.
I can relax back into that every time.
And simply do my best in the meantime.
When someone has unresolved trauma, and virtually everyone does, the trauma filters their worldview so that they see and experience reality in a distorted way. Their access to reality is limited by their ability to perceive reality accurately.
What blocks us from resolving trauma is a lack of willingness to give up resistance to what we truly feel and an avoidance to truly being present with the discomfort in our bodies which we’ve been avoiding for so long. Some people call this “turning towards your pain,” however, sometimes it’s not necessarily painful as much as that it’s uncomfortable, or even more generally, something we would simply rather not feel, experience or acknowledge.
This process also takes time and patience, which is why people meditate and do their internal practices for their whole lifetimes–not just once.
Enlightenment is a process which lives on an infinite continuum. There is no such thing as reaching enlightenment, although there are stages and levels, which some have attempted to define quite beautifully.
Dark, heavy, stuck energy is the blockage which causes symptoms of discomfort in the body. The idea is to light those areas up, to enlighten them. The subconscious mind lives in the body. The body IS the subconscious, and one’s present moment state of alignment with indestructible truth is what shows up as the body with it’s wellness or lack thereof.
This process often requires self-inquiry and guessing what might be the meaning of specific issues presenting themselves to us in our body and in our lives. It requires patient presence, listening with your inner-feeling senses.
When we do not address issues in the body in this way, the issues will show up in the world around us as a reflection of our current state of consciousness. This is quite helpful because it brings up previously ignored material to the surface so that we can hopefully, finally experience what we need to experience and to learn and to remember what we need to know in order to prepare for the next phase of our lives, and of course, experience the freedom always found in letting go.
As we continue to advance along this path, we discover that there is always more joy underneath the discomfort, and that the only sustainable way to fuel long-term joy and fulfillment is to continually practice staying present with the actual experience we are having in our bodies, to listen with patience, and to trust that life is unfolding for our benefit and evolution.
Most people who are into self-development believe that their biggest challenge or their biggest “sticking point” on their way to success is fear.
It’s actually not the fear itself. It’s one’s resistance to fear that is the true blockage.
So in order to work with your resistance to fear, or your resistance to any emotion or feeling you’re having for that matter, what is required is to practice being present with the emotion or feeling, and to practice giving up the resistance it.
Just put your attention there. Explore its nature with your awareness. Set the intention to let go of the resistance and to feel the experience.
Rest your awareness right in the depths of the experience.
This is the practice.
Letting go is usually not something that occurs by simply deciding you’d like to let go.
When “holding on” is a subconscious process–which is what trauma is–the letting go must occur deep enough to penetrate the attachment.
It’s important to give the process of letting go, of forgiving, as much time as it needs. Trying to force it is counterproductive.
Just as there is a natural process to a baby growing up, a process which takes time, the best we can do is to nurture ourselves through the process of letting go.
The good news is that there are powerful practices that can catalyze the process–different styles of qigong and meditation, for example. I like to think of these types of practices as the nutrients needed for the process. And then we do what we can and the rest is up to the Divine.
Most of us are deeply conditioned to try to avoid our pain, to attempt to resist it, which only amplifies it and makes it worse in the long-run.
The answer is to turn toward our pain with presence and patience, and to practice in the ways of those who have the results you are looking for.
This is how to turn pain into power.