“What is essential is invisible to the eye. One sees clearly only with the heart. "
-from The Little Prince.
To the ego's way of thinking, circumstances determine whether we embrace or resist the present moment and the forms that come with it. Left to our ordinary perceptions, our joy meter goes up when things are going well, and we can embrace the moment quite agreeably. Conversely, we dislike and resist the moments that look like trouble. Such conditioned responses arise from ordinary human consciousness with which we are all too familiar. The duality of good news/ bad news, happy/ sad, the ubiquitous roller coaster of ups and downs is part and parcel of the dream of separation. When we judge and react from the “appearances” of life, we allow ourselves to be tossed about by externals.
To realize that our sense of wellbeing is actually invulnerable to the winds of fortune and misfortune lies hidden beneath the surface mind. Our spiritual nature calls us to wake up from this limited sense of self and its highly conditioned neediness so we can reap the fruits of wellbeing that Spirit affords at the very heart of us.
Waking up may seem hard to do, even impossible at times when we are trying to solve the problem at the level of the mind. The mind does not perceive the transcendent; its logic obscures the wholeness within the partial. The linear is blind to the extra dimension of holism. We cannot solve the conundrum on the level that created it. We cannot raise the roof from the cellar.
So what are we to do to make this shift amidst the vicissitudes of life? Einstein said, in order to do the impossible you must see the invisible. As you have likely heard over and over, spirituality is not a “head trip”, it’s a “heart trip.” Oftentimes described as the longest journey – we are called to traverse the inner landscape of consciousness from the mind of discursive thought to the spacious, compassionate sanctuary of the heart. As Carl Jung profoundly captured it, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
Activating love is always a function of opening the heart. "Duh," you may say! But am I the only one who steels himself against life and other people when it's love and happiness I'm after? When life presents difficulties whether in the form of circumstances or people how readily do you embrace and accept (the indication of an open heart)? I would have to mark "rarely" on this survey question. The knee jerk reaction to difficulties coming at us is to see them as evidence that something or somebody is against us - the perfect set up to become a victim, react, contract and close down. A perfect set up for greater suffering.
But there is a way out of this pattern and it only asks that we become conscious of the moments when we are closing our heart and simply suggest the alternative. "Stay open, heart" means stay present, be with what is here, even though it may be uncomfortable. When we are fully present and open-hearted, we have so much more capacity to handle life, and not coincidentally, become the outlet for the love that is within us, to wash over us, and heal us and bring us home to the kingdom of wellbeing within us.
Peace and blessings,