a heart-centered awareness

The heart is the center where intellect and body meet.  Energetically, symbolically and literally, the heart is the crossroads where spirit comes forth into the world.  It is the life force, the power, the grace that emanates as life itself.

Energetically, the heart is both the center of the kabalistic tree of life and the eastern chakra system.

Kabalistically, your soul has ten energy centers.  The one that is a direct channel to God and is a reflection of your God-Self, is Tiffereth.  All the major paths of spiritual evolution flow to and through Tiffereth and it is the purest consciousness we can attain in this plane.   It’s physical correspondence is in the heart.  It is also known as the Christ Center, as many Christians have incorporated this sacred Jewish glyph into their own practices.  In the chakra system, your heart center is Anahatha and is the fourth of seven charkas – directly in the middle of the three physical chakras corresponding to security, relationships and self-esteem and the three mental chakras corresponding to communication, clarity and presence.

Literally, the heart has a direct neurological link from the emotional centers of the brain.  Current research indicates that the heart consists of 70% brain-matter.   Heart cells have an intelligence second only to the brain itself.  It has a complex electromagnetic field identical to the planets.  Watch a scary movie or even think of scary thoughts and your heart is racing.  Complex neurochemicals and hormones are released by your brain that tell your body what to expect – fight, flight, freeze.  You may interpret the reaction as pleasurable or horrible – it depends on the interpretation of your intellect.

Symbolically, the heart is the center of love.  Our language is peppered with phraseology that indicates the primacy of the heart in matters emotional.  I give you my heart.  My heart is broken, bursting, fluttering, or singing.  It can shut down or it can jump through your throat.  These are all emotional occurrences but we instinctively place them in the heart.

Spiritually, the heart is the connection to Grace and divine wisdom. Grace is a body-centered experience that is felt in your body. Forgiveness heals your heart. Gratitude grows your heart.
Grace is the currency of your heart. Enlightenment is literally enfolding yourself in the experience of being a light being.

Since your heart functions as a regulator of this golden light of grace, which comes to you in great abundant supplies and is the true food of your mind, body and soul, you need to see your heart center as a biomechanical instrument in need of healing and growth.  The heart is closed down in difficult circumstances because we tend to believe the notion of scarcity.  If I let my heart-light shine, as the song says, and it gets sucked into the great vast dark void, I will die.  The truth is, the source is eternal.  However, we’ve long since forgotten to rely upon God as our soul source and have therefore forgotten It’s endless bounty. 

It’s important to realize that an open heart is not open to pain, rejection, fear or hatred.  It’s not wounded by these things.  An open heart is really a one-way road with Grace pouring forth into the world around it endlessly, abundantly.  There is no expectation of return because none is possible.  Have you ever tried to shove a marble up a flowing hose?  Turn up the volume and you’ll have even more difficulty.  A heart turned outside itself for Grace (acceptance, power, love, freedom) will always fail.  It doesn’t matter how handsome or beautiful you are or they are or how much money you have or how little you need.  The truth of the matter is real satisfaction comes only through an open receivership from God. 

When God is the source, core and foundation of your being, there is no room left and you become an endless source of Divine energy into this world.  When I was a Spiritualist, they called these people batteries.  They may not give messages to the waiting congregation but they could draw energy into the room and raise the vibration of the whole place, bringing us all closer to our loved ones on the other side.  When the heart shuts down from fear – because fear is the foundation of all negativity – this cuts off the flow of divine energy.   The more fear the greater the constriction.  There is little coincidence that heart attacks are rampant in cultures where affection such as touching is inappropriate and where the open expression of emotions is deeply discouraged.  (without heart, by the way)   When you can’t get “it” from God, you have to get “it” from those around you.  As a starving child, you will eat from anybody’s plate as long as you don’t get caught.

The heart is also the seat of courage, which literally means ‘with heart.’  The greatest courage comes from love because it often requires that we fly in the face of all that’s wise (intellectual) and do what our heart tells us is right. There has been a great deal of talk these days about being present and I have found it to be invaluable when getting in touch with our Heart Spaces.  However, there is more to being present than just sitting there without thoughts – if that were the case then watching the late night news might be high meditation.

This isn’t a new thought on thinking, by the way.  The concept of a Spacious Mind is rooted in the recognition that we are almost always talking to ourselves.  Our thoughts are full of judgments, comments, wishes, laments and other assorted repetitive nonsense.  This mental chatter serves two major purposes.

First, it is always reminding us of who we are.  It’s like I’m going to forget myself if I don’t keep reminding myself of who and what I am.  Yet, if this constant barrage of self-identification worked, most of us would not be in therapy asking “Who am I?”   On some deep level we don’t believe our stories about ourselves anymore than anybody else does.  We want to uncover our authentic self but wouldn’t know it if it bit us on the leg!

Secondly, this little voice is always reminding us of what we are not – Namely Divine.   This limits us, keeps us in our place and prevents us from doing anything that might threaten the first purpose, threaten our lives or the supremacy of our little ego self. The problem is, both of these functions are a lie.  I am not my identity.  I am an eternal, changeless, being of Divine Light and Love that is in process of unfolding itself to Itself.   Therefore, in my deepest core where my heart roots are nestled, I am both indefinable and unlimited.

Another problem with this mental chatter is it creates a barrier of ‘filtration’ between our consciousness and our real experiences.  Judgments, definitions, etc, are like picking up a pickle with a set of tongs.  It’s not until we sink our teeth into the pickle that we actually taste the experience.  However, how many of us actually sink our teeth into life?  There is this layer – oftentimes quite thick – of intellectual garbage that filters life out of our direct experience.  They all incorporate some sort of avoidance or rejection of reality. 

And finally, most of this chatter isn’t about stuff going on in present time.  It’s about what happened 15 years ago or will happen in five days.  It’s about what could happen, should happen, might have happened ‘if only’ and it’s total garbage.  It’s generally wrapped up in some victim routine that keeps us perpetually “out of the groove” when it’s the constant, repetitive, nonsensical thoughts that keep us out of the grove.

A spacious mind – quite simply – is here in the present moment and is totally accepting of what is.  It is what the Tibetans call “sky mind” where your mental landscape if wide open, free and unfettered.

Imagine yourself sitting in a high mountain meadow.  You are the tallest thing in the meadow.  The mountains sprawl off in every direction.  Overhead there is sky, vast empty open sky.  You are free from the burden of persistent thoughts.  Shrug them off of your burdened shoulders. Stand tall.  Be free.  Be as the wind is as it gently rustles the grasses.  Your consciousness is open and receptive to the unfolding of the Universe directly in front of it whether you personally like the expression or not.  Realize that a judgment pulls you away from an authentic expression to the reality in front of you.