As our world has turned in an unfathomable direction I am certain that one of the most important things to remember is this – We’re All in This Together….
Living a life of heart, from the heart, with an open heart means learning to listen deeply to the highest wisdom that resides within. There is no reason to take my word for it, this is a voyage of discovery, a worthy pilgrimage, which may support movement towards living a life of more joy, more love and more fulfillment. It takes a courageous leap of faith in life is to choose this quest. If this is the right choice, the heart will be clear, as the mind’s apparent full time task is to muddy things quite a bit.
The heart’s whispers are also called “that small still voice within”. For me it’s not really a voice, my hearts language is feelings, which are sometimes subtle and other times boisterous. The quest is for discernment – it could be seen as an interesting challenge and like all adventures it is best embraced as a wondrous destination, a bucket list item, and exciting as can be. If you can’t find those feelings in yourself, progress will be slow. Sometimes, as we all know, slow and deliberate pacing reaches the finish line more quickly than the enthusiastic participant with a short attention span.
If you have said “yes” to this quest or are on the cusp of this journey, I have some pointers to offer, distilled from the teachings of the mystic masters, and from my own experiences in life. I hope they lend you a helping hand for that is my truest intention.
Let’s begin: at the top of the list is appreciation. It is magical, powerful and is virtual rocket fuel for grace. The yoga of the mind is mainly defined as a kind of mental stretching towards the positive and appreciative viewpoint. It’s instantly beneficial and though a sour mood or negative viewpoint will trickily try and hold its place in the mind, it’s ok to let it go, just drop it and return to love and joy. Sometimes I snap my fingers, for the reminder and effect. There is a lot of talk about gratitude these days, which is wonderful and once again, don’t take my word for it, give it a try and see what happens. Mary Poppins said it best “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”.
Next step: Imagine feeling good about yourself, really feeling good. Find the feeling in your body, where is it? It may take some time to learn how to do this, but it is time well spent. Every emotion has its place in the body and finding that connection is opening the way to a richer, more fulfilling life.
Other tools that absolutely help us move more deeply into a loving place which is well known to our hearts include meditation, music, nature, wise conversation and spending time with plants and animals. Enjoyable hobbies, and passions contribute to our well being and also work well to elevate our mood.
There is always the enormous challenge of recognizing our reactivities and triggers. What do we do when overtaken by a mental storm of emotion? It can completely drown out our heart’s wisdom in an instant, and seems to grab our being by its horns and brutally shake us. Who among us doesn’t know the feeling of shame that can stir us to irrational acts? What then? The first big step is learning ourselves. Learning to recognize when we have been overtaken, so that we can use our mind yoga to guide our being back into the soft loving place of heart. Letting the uncomfortable feelings burn can work to uncover the hidden triggers in our psyche, and so meditation is important and keeps us from causing harm to our loved ones. Sitting still with uncomfortable feelings is the work of a Buddha. It is challenging, difficult and most of us will find any way we can to wiggle out of those feelings. Shouting at another, blaming another for our feelings, descending into howling victimhood – all these “coping mechanisms” take us away from the hard work of mental asana (yoga pose, fyi) which is infinitely more challenging than stretching our bodies.
Simply sitting in nature or a comfortable spot indoors in silence or with calming music playing just letting emotions penetrate and expand is a practice that will reap huge benefits. Don’t just take my word for it, please give it a try and then we can talk! Before talk therapy, there are feelings to be felt.