I imagine that somewhere in, what I presume to be an infinite multiverse, someone is looking through the windows of what, to us, is a closed down Blockbuster Video, and asking, “Is Your Heart Open?”
There are many magical ways to talk about the heart. There are many great analogies and metaphors that bring us closer in our understanding of the heart and that open us to compassion. Yet, I’ll look to the left and then to my right, and the world is still not a safe place. To be nurtured it feels like we have to rig the game (of life). It is as though, if we play our cards right we just might “enslave” a few people to care for us.
And there are some of us who want to care for others. We think of caring as intrinsic to our worldview. And there are others of us who don’t really care too much about it — maybe our lives are fairly independent and we’ve had a good deal of success (and we don’t want anyone else taking it away) or maybe we’ve been hurt so badly that to think of caring is to relive traumatic nightmares.
There are philosophies of the individual and philosophies of the collective. We might be shaped by culture — political ideologies, religion, the sciences. We might live in a part of the world that doesn’t do “hugs” or a part that does so many hugs that they are meaningless.
If you are alive, you are on some sort of journey. I dare play the existential prophetic game. I am sure we each have a unique path but there is some significance to the crossing of our paths. How will we greet each other? To what degree would you help, care about, and identify with your fellow traveller? How open is your heart?
One of the beautiful things about the heart, is that it’s not prone to stay in middle states — it beats or it doesn’t, in other words. Similarly, if we open our heart to live in a compassionate way, to say compassionate things, and have compassionate intentions, that open-heartedness beams full and bright.
Someone might say that they wish they could open their heart, but they just can’t. So long as your living (and maybe even after your dead), you make the choice for this moment. Can you define the three phases of a breath? Inhale. Pause. Exhale. That is a moment. And if you can bring your attention to those three aspects of a single moment, you are further than many in your ability to open your heart.
The open heart is supple. It is delighted easily. It can take a lot of disappointment. It is a giving entity. It is a forgiving entity. It doesn’t worry about who gets the last cookie, but cares only that everyone has had something sweet.
The open heart is soft. It breathes quietly; sometimes deeply, sometimes not. It’s eyes are seeing but not judging.
The open heart connects to our roots and to the sky. If there is healing, it comes as a lightning bolt to the tip of our fingers. If there is equanimity it wells up and supports us like a hundred year old oak.
Sometimes we pass over our own hearts. We think that we are too damaged. Too busy. Too broken. Too old. Too young. Too “normal”. Too neurotic. We aren’t one of the beautiful, rich people. We might not be a nobel laureate. We haven’t campaigned against land mines or given very much to Green Peace these days. We might be sick; disabled; addicted; depressed.
Are you hurting somewhere in there, my friend? Come on out. Let a tear fall. You too have a worthy heart. You have much to give and in the course of this journey there are blessings to be had.