There is a heartbeat to every relationship, a rhythm that lets us know whether or not we are in tune with Life. When the heart beats close, we have become disconnected from the present moment. We are thinking about what could have been, or we’re thinking about what should happen. We’re not being with the other person.
And yet, like a beating heart, it eventually and inevitably opens back up. The heart of the relationship opens up naturally and effortless to what is right in front of us. That life for which we have been hoping and praying… It’s right in front of us. We just had to stop long enough to just be in it.
Where in my life have I closed my heart to Life? Where in my life can I open up to the Love that is already within me and all around me?
“Sometimes the completely open heart and mind of bodhichitta is called the soft spot, a place as vulnerable and tender as an open wound.”
I read this excerpt from Pema Chodron‘s The Places That Scare You, and I couldn’t help but appreciate how timely the wisdom was. Insecurity came up for me, and I just had to sit with the discomfort and craziness in my own head.
I read the above and thought about the own suffering I cause myself in my insecurity. Then, I realized:
When we are suffering, … when our wounds are opened wide, … we are the most open we can be to the deeper truths of the human experience trying to find their way into our hearts.
In my post, “On Welcoming the Unknown,” I reflected on how uncertainty is actually a good thing because it means we are treading into territory in which we have yet to inflict a preconceived notion or conditioned response. But when I’m in in the heat of the moment, … when my emotions get the best of me, and the fear of looking stupid and ashamed that I don’t know and don’t have an answer come up, … how does this realization benefit me?
The other half of “I don’t know” is “… but I do know that the answer that I need is already out there and I just to need stay open and engaged.” “I don’t know” is an act of faith in our ability to stay connected to Source. It is declaring that I, in my limited human being have gotten to the edge of what I can do, and I am now trusting Life to guide me to the other side of this.
Be quick to say “I don’t know” because in the vacuum created by my not knowing, Life will fill it with the answer.
For most, like myself, the automatic reaction to anger, fear, sadness, shame, etc., is to tighten and harden ourselves. Our muscles tense up. There is tightness in our chests. It’s like our bodies and souls are bracing ourselves, protecting that last part of ourselves from potential hurt.
If there is anything that the last two weeks, working with my partner to bring healing to our relationship and taking the biggest steps to let go of my addiction, have taught me, it is that the way through is not to strong-arm my way. Rather, it is to open myself up all the way to that soft spot, to the last piece of me that I am hiding away. It is about bringing the tenderness up into the light. It is only by bringing the soft spot out that I make myself wholly and completely available to Life‘s healing grace.
As the train rushed by in front of me on the platform this morning, I had a thought that occasionally comes up for me, especially when my life is feeling really rough: I could throw myself on the tracks, and problems solved! … I don’t have a death wish. Really, what I was experiencing was the feeling that many feel when they are confronted: We want to escape. … And death is the ultimate escape. …
Immediately after that thought, I told myself, “I am triggered.” Being able to name my own experience gave me enough space to wake up and realize the funk that I am in.
When we want to escape, it sometimes is because we are not willing to confront those things in our lives that need to be confronted. Instead, we deaden ourselves to the pain and the suffering. I suspect we are not willing to confront the dead parts of our lives, because we are afraid on some level that, in doing so, we might discover the truth that we have been more complicit in keeping ourselves unconscious than we realize.
Awakening to our own lives requires that we be willing to confront the places where we have chosen to go unconscious and escape. We must be open to looking at the places where we have chosen death over Life.
Then, I decided to relax, told myself, “I am open to Life’s vision for my life,” and just opened myself up. Soon, insights came flooding into my heart-mind.
When we work out, it’s not keeping the muscle tense that allows it to grow and become stronger. Rather, it is in relaxing it. So too is it with inspiration: We must relax and not try. In so doing, Life naturally provides what we need.
Have you ever felt angry at/ ashamed of / disappointed in yourself for feeling bad about something? Have you ever judged yourself for the feelings?
Last night, I found myself beating myself up for feeling disappointed for not having had a chance to talk to Jon, who has been busy wrapping up his semester. I completely understand how busy the end of an academic year could be, and this is no reflection on the attention Jon has given to our relationship. Rather, this is a reflection on my own self-talk, … on the ways in which I judged myself for somehow not giving myself the space to feel my own disappointment and missing him.