I have noticed that my heart could be more open than it is these days. It has likely closed down in response to a lot of losses and pain over the last several years. (The dark night.)
It seems comfortable because there is a kind of comfort in numbness.
But it’s not really. It reduces aliveness and the love and joy I can experience. What’s hidden there has to be experienced sooner or later.
It comes from a wish to protect myself and my heart. But does it really protect? It may protect me from feeling deeply here and now, but I have to feel it eventually. It protects me from feeling in general, but is that what I really want? Is that how I want to live my one wild and precious life?
The closedness comes from unquestioned painful beliefs and identities. It’s not aligned with what’s more true for me. It comes from a kind of delusion, a kind of confusion.
So why not invite my heart to open?
WAYS TO INVITE MY HEART TO OPEN
Merlina, our beloved cat, died two days ago. The grief and gratitude for her life that comes up helps me see that my heart could be more open. I wish for my heart to be more open so I can feel more and find more aliveness.
Here are some of the things I have explored.
BE WHAT’S HERE
Waves of grief, sadness, love, and gratitude come up.
It’s easier when I notice I am it. I can be what’s here.
When there is no separation, it’s easier. And that’s how it already is.
It allows it all to come and go more easily. It allows what’s here to be here. It makes it all more alive. It helps me to be more alive.
HEART PRAYER / JESUS PRAYER
Yesterday, I spent time with the heart prayer, and I wish to bring it more into my life again. (I used to do it 24/7 at times before in my life, especially in my late teens and early twenties.)
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Say this as a mantra, with the breath. The first part on the in-breath, and the second is on the out-breath. (It’s often best to do it in our native language since it’s more intimate to us. I say it in Norwegian: Herre Jesus Kristus, forbarm deg over meg.)
This prayer – and similar ones that are done as a mantra with the breath – has a profound effect. It transforms me. Over time, it becomes ongoing, even when I don’t do it consciously.
I do Tonglen as well. I do it with myself and others, especially the three of us right now. (Merlina, Ale and me.)
I visualize them in front of me. (Including myself.) I see the suffering as black smoke. I breathe in that smoke on my in-breath. And I breathe out light on the out-breath, filling each person.
I also do it with other people, especially anyone I feel I have something unresolved with.
I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.
I use this too, as medicine. For myself, Merlina, and Ale, individually and as a group. And later, anyone else in my life or the world, and even all beings. I usually stay with one until there is a shift, and may stay even longer to see what more shifts happen, then move on to something else, and then revisit it. This is not something that’s done once and for all, it’s an ongoing exploration.
Image by me and Midjourney