I am reading a book by my favorite spiritual teacher, Jes Bertelsen
, on Christian heart practices, and it helps me review some of my own experiences with it and how it has changed over time.
One thing that has not changed is the quality of experience
that comes from Christian heart practices for me. The heart opening and coming alive. An alive presence within and around this human self. A sweet mix of pain and bliss in the heart. The world becoming, or rather revealing itself, as alive presence, heart, clarity and love. And also of everything else having to do with the heart, whatever their triggers appear to be, being included and fueling and flavoring the process. Any longing, any pain, any joy and bliss. All together, funneled into the heart practice.
What has changed in how it is related to
. There used to be more identification with it, a holding onto it as a core of spirituality and spiritual practice. The qualities of heart practice is content of experience, and for years there was an attachment to this particular content, probably more than anything else.
Then came the dark night
phase where this content, which was a constant companion for so long, went away. And in the struggle, the attachment to it somehow wore away as well. (Not by any conscious doing or practice, since I was unable to do any practice during this period, even when I tried.)
Now, when I do occasionally do a heart practice, the same quality of experience is there. The same quality of the heart coming alive, the fire, the alive presence, the sense of the world – all within and around this human self – being
heart, clarity and love. And I still see how the human self realigns and reorganizes within this, in a very beautiful way.
But it is not related to the same way. Now, it is recognized more clearly as just experience
, just content of awareness, coming and going, living its own life as anything else. There is an appreciation for its uniqueness and effects, but not held onto the same way.
For all its beauty, its reorganization of the human self, its opening up for heart awakening, and even possibly Ground awakening, it is also seen as just experience. There is an inherent neutrality
in it, as anything else. All of its qualities and effects are, in a sense, formed from and within neutrality.
And while there was from the beginning a seeing of this, now there is also a thorough felt-sense