Our guest blogger this week is: Margaret O’Connor
As the Earth turns these days most living beings are feeling the winds of change. And as we face change we meet many aspects of ourselves from the sublime to the ridiculous. An old Jewish tradition suggests that we invite our demons to tea. There is something comforting in this advice perhaps even in the simple acknowledgment that there are demons to invite. All the Earth’s wisdom traditions have some cosmology of angels or demons, coyote and White Buffalo Woman, Yin and Yang. The current “New Age” often sanitizes these dualities, whitewashes the very real work we have to do to clear the way for our forward movement on the Earth. We are offered the steps and certainties of healing and the secrets of certain abundance. The old Wisdom traditions at least brought comfort to the struggle and described our wrestling with angels and demons as a very real part of the human journey.
We are coming into a new time which I imagine will be a time of the heart. Wisdom traditions have given us the Compassionate Heart, the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart and many images of the heart in song and story to wrap our imaginations around. However, as an ordinary woman when I come into the region of my human heart what I often find is heart-break as its first offering. If I stay with the heartbreak long enough to truly feel and be guided by it, it becomes a place to rest rather than a place to fear. But Fear also arises unexpectedly and must be met and wrestled with to find its teachings. So what is the practice of heart-centered living like in this time of change, beyond the concepts and easy solutions? What is the real journey we take on a moment by moment basis to return to the Heart? How do we deal with the 3 steps forward and 2 back that we all experience as we try to move our of our old patterns of conditioning and fear?
In order to fully inhabit the Human Heart it is good to understand that we have been heavily weighted in our left brain and the activities of the heart, feeling, sensing, intuition, imagination are not the most honored in our current World. The Linear Mind has been God for eons and we all suffer from its cutting, categorizing glance. The glance of the heart is softer and more restive even in the midst of heartbreak and fear. For the heart knows that the deeper ocean of love holds all of life as these anxious waves ripple on the surface. The anxiety from our conditioned selves, our colonized selves, the ones who will never measure up to those linear standards is the “baso ostinato” of our personal and collective symphony. It murmurs its litany of woes under the surface of consciousness and keeps us running around in circles.
As we approach the heart and even for a moment STOP and gaze softly at something beautiful, a flower in a vase, a baby’s face or the face of our beloved grandmother, our heart begins to rest and become coherent. Scientific measurements show that as we move into the heart, breathe through the heart and become aware of its presence we become more Present and relaxed. As we move back up into the habituated left brain, agitation returns, ego mind gets busy and we try to control our lives. Back to the heart we STOP, REST, GAZE SOFTLY and FLOW begins again. Even the flow of blood as it pulses through us is a comfort and if we can get in touch with that pulse it brings us closer to the pulse of the Earth, down into safe ground.
While our wonderful minds and well-exercised left brain are also essential to our survival, they are overworked and need rest. The place of rest is in the heart, the home of the paradoxes. The left brain looks for linear answers and may parse life into right or wrong, good and bad. If there was an evil genie who wished us to be afraid and to be enslaved he would have educated us and encouraged us all to live in our left brains and be anxious about our performance. This creates a perfect slave to produce goods which we have to buy to alleviate our fear and so it goes. Slavery is over and we are in Free Flow when the heart is engaged. Here we understand that duality is a really a flowing dynamic like the positive and negative flow of electricity, working together to make a full circuit, a flowing figure 8. So what the mind considers to be hard and unpleasant the heart sees as essential learning and compost for compassion and humility. The heart can hold the two sides and the dynamic place in the middle where we are created anew every moment.
To live in the heart is a radical movement of the human soul and spirit. There we find our own truth and our own deepest self – our best guide. There we are freed up from the terrible flight and fight and freeze we have been heir to from eons of ancestral and karmic conditioning. As we lift out of this conditioning and allow it to drop away we must say: “I AM A HEART CENTERED BEING” and in my heart I feel my power, I know my own truth for me and I have the freedom to choose in every moment. When I find the dualities of my being in what works and what does not work, what is loving and what is not, what is fear and what is not, I can work and play with these energies to bring clarity and wisdom. Bringing yourself to the present moment and to the awareness of what is in your heart is your doorway to freedom.
Changing times call for changing practices and movements of soul and spirit. One of these is to recognize the Wisdom and Stamina of your Heart. This is a very real experience available to us all. Reaching down to the heart for the knowing that we have wisdom from all our experience and the strength and stamina to meet each present moment with courage. This is what the Heart Warrior is about. Even when we meet heartbreak and chaos and move into our worst self we can always return in a single breath through the heart to that ocean of rest, rippling with heartbreak and fear but completely acceptable. You find the temple of your own heart and make the radical move to freedom which makes self-love and self-forgiveness your security and your own heart a sanctuary. From here you extend the same compassion and love to the world which so sorely needs it and the old conditioning and patterns and programs stand down and give way to the emerging new world within and all around us – a world with much more freedom and flow. “I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s Affections”.
Photo source: http://tinyurl.com/6m97occ