The connection to our heart is not simply a nice feeling. It is in that connection – that nice feeling – where it’s possible to experience and access the very Source of life beyond any manifested form. It’s where we can connect with life’s purpose.
“How are you going?”
“Yeah, … busy. What about you?”
“Flat out! The week’s been a nightmare; no time to do a thing.”
“Me too, I’m stressed to the max… so looking forward to a holiday!”
“Yeah, can’t wait…”
Hands up if you have been in one of these conversations recently? Life is certainly busy these days, and yet surely life isn’t about being so busy that we are constantly planning for the next event, with virtually no time to enjoy the one we are in… except on holidays! If living life is about enjoying the beauty of the world around us, and sharing it with those we love, then it simply can’t be that we are destined to realise this only when we can ‘get away’ from our hectic lifestyles.
Accessing peace and tranquility seems to be galloping away from us. Technology designed to help us save time has also created a world where, because we can do things more quickly, we are expected to do MORE! We are being pushed further and further from those things that affirm life and nourish our spirits.
When I was growing up, I spent my early years immersed in nature. I found it a wonderful place to inhabit as a youngster… beautiful and rich… it really felt like part of who I was. There was nothing I feared although I knew some things to be dangerous of course. Now I realise how important those years were in cementing my connection with the Divine; in nourishing my inner being.
That connection to nature connected me to that part of ‘myself’ that exists beyond the physical body and the story of ‘my life’. And now in my forties I’m realising there is a quiet renaissance, an ongoing evolution of our being, that looks set to radically and wonderfully change the world in which we live. Giving time for that transformation to take off is one of the most important responsibilities we all have as individuals, as organisations, as nations. So what do we do next?
‘Be still’, a wise prophet once said. Of course, this should not be translated as ‘Stop living’ but rather points to the deep, deep purpose that exists in the space of inner peace. In other words make time and create opportunity to reduce the noise in your head while you still have the choice! As long as we choose the voices in our head and allow them to direct us, plan our next step, assess and judge the world for us, and so on, there can be no space to live here and now in this moment… instead we are living a moment that is still to come. Now, more than ever before, the need to find stillness is vital to our well-being.
There is plenty of evidence that supports the view that prayer and meditation are central in obtaining better health and well-being and finding and manifesting inner (and therefore outer) peace. In recent times, momentum has built around practices that offer a connection to the subtle but immensely powerful and infinite energy, which drives life itself and which we are not only a part of… but made from. The question is, is it possible to connect with this energy and if so how can we do that?
If we believe that our brain is the centre of our being, where our entire consciousness is to be found, then naturally that’s the tool we use to do everything. But what if we dropped that very strong concept for a moment? What if the centre of our being were not our brain? In fact there are many clues that it is our ‘heart’, not our brain, that is the ‘key’ connection to our true being.
For example, you don’t have to look far to discover paintings depicting ‘the heart’ of Christ with a light radiating out from the centre of his chest; and it was the spiritual mystic and poet Rumi who said, “The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart”. Within the Bible, and other holy texts from other religions, the heart is mentioned many times as a key connection to the Source. At some level we are already aware of our heart and its significance.
This ‘heart’ we are talking about here is not our physical heart but rather located as a ‘nice feeling’ that radiates from the centre of our chest during moments of pure joy/happiness/love, etc. However, the connection to our heart is not simply a nice feeling (it’s so easy to discount feeling from the point of view of the brain!). It is in that connection – that nice feeling – where it’s possible to experience and access the very Source of life beyond any manifested form. It’s where we can connect with life’s purpose.
It’s likely that almost everyone has experienced beautiful moments where that connected feeling has been almost tangible. Some people refer to an amazing blissful space that just happens spontaneously. What is fascinating is that no-one mentions the brain as being a creator or even a critical part of such moments. Usually we are not thinking at all during those moments and, although we can use our brain to remember moments when we were in that beautiful feeling (and therefore access the feeling), the feeling itself does not come from our brain.
For many reasons, we have forgotten how to use our heart and how to rely on it. How often do we hear that we should ‘follow our heart’? The question is: how? The answer is that it’s very simple… almost too simple for our minds which paradoxically can make it quite difficult to do! The best thing, though, is to have a go and experience what happens first hand.
- Relax… really give yourself permission to relax. Find a nice and quiet place to do this.
- Now… touch the centre of your chest with one or two fingers. This shifts your attention/awareness to your heart. It’s subtle but powerful.
- Next, close your eyes… this helps to reduce the domination of your brain which is activated by external visual stimuli.
- Now have the intention to smile to your heart – don’t think how to do it!
- You may feel a slight pressure/sensation under your fingers within your chest. That’s your heart opening! Just enjoy and be grateful.
- Keep smiling! Smiling further strengthens your heart as you are touching it.
- Lightly lift your fingers away from your chest while relaxing and then touch your heart again.
- Do this several times and allow yourself to keep relaxing.
- Enjoy the feeling and let it grow stronger…
- Follow the feeling by staying within the centre of the feeling, without trying to do anything.
- Don’t stop!
This very simple ‘smiling to your heart’ practice will help lessen the activity of your mind dramatically. Gradually, through extended and more detailed practice, anyone can learn how to access the deep peace, joy, beauty and happiness that is already part of our very being. The key is to be relaxed, smile and surrender. Just let go of any effort – simply enjoy it!
The really beautiful thing is that, when you connect with your heart, the beauty within – the love and light – radiates from your heart. When your heart radiates, it connects with every other heart. This is then not about holding the nice feeling inside of us… in fact it’s ALL about sharing it. With that comes a centredness and strength that belies another wrong concept that ‘we need to guard our heart or we will get hurt’. In fact when we get hurt emotionally, that’s not our heart but our ego that’s reacting. When our heart is open, we are actually protected from emotional negativity.
Many conventional meditation practices, while very powerful, actually invest a lot of brain power into the process of stilling the mind. It’s like one section of your mind is being used so the rest of your mind can benefit. Not surprisingly, people who meditate using techniques that aim to stop the mind, find their concentration and focus abilities improve substantially. That’s a great benefit, but is that the purpose of what you are doing? If it is, keep doing it. However, while your mind remains dominant and in control, directing the whole show, your capacity to truly let go and surrender to the beauty of the divine love within your heart is greatly limited.
As an alternative, I encourage people to try the approach described above … to simply ‘let your mind and thoughts be’… the process of connecting to your heart will actually begin to put the ‘monkey mind’ to rest. Just follow the love within your heart and all will be well.
Ultimately every moment can be an expression from the heart. So as we learn to act from our hearts, we can learn how to let the love and light flow into our every thought, every word, and every action…eventually into every moment of our lives completely. Being ‘still’ does not mean doing nothing! On the contrary, all of our doing – our activities – can be filled with meaning we have never realised if we connect with our true being, our true nature, to our True Source.
So, if you are one of the many millions of people struggling to juggle the ever-increasing pressures and commitments in your life… if you can sense that all is not as it should be, and that the richness of life is being lost to you, don’t forget: you have a heart! Use it and you may well find peace and happiness is not as elusive as it sometimes seems.
Steve Ray is the co-ordinator of Reiki Tummo and Padmacahaya Open Heart activities in Victoria.
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