E020 - Living a Warm-Hearted Life

awakening heart Jun 29, 2020

 I'd like you to imagine that every day we're given a choice when we wake up. How to interact with the world, that we could set an intention. And that intention might be I'm going to interact with the world the way I always do. Through my conditioning, you could say. Another version might be well I read the news, and it scares me and my body contracts and I hate those people. And so we might wanna be a bit more shut down and protect ourselves more. And there's a third option, a third way of waking up every day, which would be to choose to be warm-hearted with the world. To open our hearts and feel our interdependence and interconnectedness with all of life, when we wake up every day. 

Enjoy this week's blog - watch the video or continue reading. 

This last weekend I watched The Great 14th, the documentary with the 14th Dalai Lama. And a few of the things that he spoke about were so poignant. Amongst other things, it's just beautiful to see. This life, his beautiful life given over as one long act of service to the whole world, to the Tibetan people but  also to the whole world.

He describes waking up and how every day is really both an act of service and giving to the world, but that he cultivates warm-heartedness, as he describes it. I really like this. And many of the ancient mystical traditions speak of this oculus cortes—that's a little bit of fancy Latin for eyes of the heart, from mystical Christianity. And you'll find the same said in Islam about the heart. And the same within the Buddhist heart-mind, this notion that in fact our heart could really be the center of our consciousness.

And no, this isn't a Hallmark card or some kind of cheesy notion where we all just love each other and bypass all of the problems of this world or our own problems. But we can descend out of our heads or our conditioning and see the world through the eyes of the heart.

The contemporary spiritual teacher Nirmala beautifully describes how we become conditioned by our culture and as children by our parents and family. He describes us as little baby ducks, who imprint on their parents and just follow them everywhere. Our awareness is the same. We get taught to print our awareness on thought, as if that's who we are. This thinking little entity is who we are, and so we believe that that is true.

But our awareness is much more malleable than that. For example, right now I'd like to invite you to bring your awareness to your feet, feeling your feet from the inside. So your awareness is more foot-based than thought-based or heart-based or tummy-based. So bring your awareness down to your feet, and imagine you can almost see the world through your feet; your awareness is more in your feet than anywhere else. Hang out like that for a bit.

And then gently shift your awareness to your heart—just intuitively move the center of your awareness to the center of your chest. This may be easy or hard for you to do at this time, but just try it out, see if you can move your awareness to the center of your chest. Just play with this notion of being heart-centered.

Another thing one can do is add in a little sense of emotional connectedness, allowing in our emotional body also helps to open up here. The wonderful teacher Loch Kelly describes this as the 18-inch drop (from head to heart), and he describes a whole bunch of routes for getting there. Let's can try one right now.

Let's actually get in our heads and get a little theoretical for a second. Let's get back to that normal, conditioned, heady awareness that we spend every day in and just be there for a sec. Let's rationally interpret all of this in that center of awareness behind our eyes, where we spend much of our lives. Take a deep breath. Really allow the center of your awareness to be behind your eyes, and be completely comfortable with that. And as we do that—Loch Kelly uses this wonderful and curious term—"unhook" your awareness from thinking and from the mind. 

So just kind of unclip your awareness and allow it to drop to the center of your chin. Feel your chin from the inside: the sensations of the chin, bringing presence and focus here. Allow that to marinate for a bit.

Then invite the awareness to drop down into the center of the throat, feeling the throat from the inside. Feel it from within the body, feeling the inside of the throat.

Then allow your awareness to drop even further, down into our upper body to the center of your chest. Feel the physical sensations of the center of the chest. Allow your awareness to drop there, feeling and being in the center of the chest. Enjoy being centered here for a little bit, being in your heart but also feeling your interdependence and interconnectedness with everything.

You and me and all of us. What a nice place to hang out. Maintain your sense of connection to the heart, just stay in your heart and hang out there. Lovely.

So I invite and encourage you to play with heart-centeredness. What would it be like to interact with our families, our children, our parents, other humans, just with the center of our awareness in our hearts? And maybe also ask the question, how can we be of service in the world today, and how can we help other people today?

And as the Dalai Lama says, look into each day with a warm heart.