It is easy to close our hearts; not so easy to keep them open. Or so it seems …
When we experience emotional pain, a common human response is fight or flight. Become angry or shut down. Neither of these reactions solves anything, and both can cause serious health problems if sustained over time.
Fear is the culprit in any action or reaction that is not love-based. It obscures awareness and keeps us ignorant of its deleterious effects. It constricts our bodies, imprisons our minds, catapults our emotions, and darkens our spirits. When trapped in fear, it is impossible to keep our hearts open.
If we close our hearts to one, we close them to all. Open is open and closed is closed. At one time, this was a difficult concept for me to get my head around. I thought I could open and close my heart at will, as easily as I removed and replaced the lid to the peanut butter jar. I soon learned how utterly deceptive this was. I began to feel as if I were zip-tied to a revolving door.
A husband and wife are furious with each other. Unaware of the discord, their daughter approaches them and asks for $20. Neither one hears her above the internal argument they are having with one another. The daughter asks again but is refused. She raises her voice and says, ‘What’s the big deal? It’s only $20!’ One of her parents reacts by slapping her hard across the face. Immediately contrite, the parent apologizes for behavior that was clearly out of character.
When storming in anger, simmering in blame, or smoldering in hurt, the heart automatically begins to close. This is a defense mechanism that frequently backfires, hurting not only the victim of our troubling emotions, but ourselves as well. The oftener we close our hearts, the nearer our subconscious moves toward believing this is the way we want to be in the world. Since the role of the subconscious is to serve, it will do all in its power to manifest this belief.
A politician unfit to serve is elected to high office. The people soon realize that his ignorance and egoism make him a dangerous head of state. They are inundated daily by media coverage of his prejudicial claims and wild assertions. They cannot turn off the news for fear he might do something perilous. They cannot remove him from office without an ‘Act of Congress.’ They live in fear of his rash judgments and loathe his narcissism. Soon, they begin to loathe the man himself and close their hearts to him. This impacts all of their relationships, because they are left having to switch tracks with every encounter. And derailment is a constant danger.
Is it possible to be angry with or despise someone while keeping our hearts open to them? The answer is yes. Doing so, however, requires separating the person from the behavior. Accept the person, loathe the behavior. This might be a laborious task, for example, in relation to the above-mentioned politician; but it is not impossible. The question we each need to ask ourselves is: Do I want fear to infect my spirit and rule my life? All negative emotion is fear-based. When fear is at the helm, the mounting storm goes unnoticed.
Remembering to separate the person from the behavior requires daily practice. Sometimes it is demanded; and sometimes it is demanded moment by moment. The heart closes only when the soul does not recognize itself in another. We can put someone out of our homes without putting them out of our hearts.
It is okay to feel angry. Feelings are raw and arise unedited. It is okay to rant and rave with like-minded friends and associates. Verbal expression is a release valve for pent-up emotion. It is okay to take nonviolent action to change a situation that is harmful. It is not okay to take malicious action, no matter how contemptible the behavior of another.
Note the difference between action and reaction …
I have often been asked what I would do if someone approached me with the intent to harm or kill. The truth is, I do not know. Hypotheticals do not work in the real world. My response to the person would depend on the situation. I hope I would be able to find a nonviolent solution, such as repelling the malevolent energy, a technique taught in many of the martial arts. If we are not adept at this, then we are left with choosing to harm or be harmed, kill or be killed. If the person were intent on taking my life, but I took theirs instead, this would be a reaction to a perceived inescapable fatal action. And I might be heard saying that I simply gave the perpetrator what they had asked for. There are many layers to reasoning, some of which lie in the spirit realm. No doubt I would regret reacting antithetical to my beliefs, regardless that it was the only way to stay alive.
Railing against someone’s behavior, while not recognizing the validity of their spirit, slams closed the door to the heart. This does not mean I would invite a psychopath to dinner. It does mean I would acknowledge who they are as separate from what they do.
How do we keep our hearts open in the face of fear? Gratitude.
I am grateful to the above-mentioned politician for the opportunity to experience, profoundly and relentlessly, that which I never want to become. I am grateful that the eyes of the masses have been opened to pernicious apathy, unifying and moving us to take nonviolent action toward peace and prosperity for all. I am grateful to have met so many heart-centered people in this endeavor. I am grateful to feel a part of something good and much bigger than myself. I am grateful for my life, and for all those who love me.
Gratitude moves us into love. It is impossible to close our hearts when seated in love, just as it is impossible to open them when seated in fear. Now we can probe for the relative cause of our distressful emotions. There is always an inner origin to unveil, deal with, and bring to resolution. How else could the gurus of this world sit in absolute peace and harmony while all around them is in chaos?
Everything we endure is a learning experience and opportunity for growth. Everything. Even pain and suffering. When we embrace all we experience as a gift, rather than brandishing it as a weapon of harm, we take responsibility for all we are and all we do. We stand in our own power, validating all life and blaming none. We remember we opted to come in to this earthwalk to learn, having chosen the lessons before we incarnated. Thus, if we created all we are and all we experience, we have the power to change that creation.
We have the power to change our attitude and behavior – our attitude and behavior; not those of another. We can choose to act or react. Reacting often backfires and closes the heart. Taking action requires forethought and provides time to make an informed choice.
Keeping our hearts open does not mean we must associate with someone whose behavior we find offensive. When circumstances demand we be in their presence, and maybe even speak with or debate them, if we look into their soul with an open heart, we will see the light they have dimmed by their negative thoughts and actions. If we look beyond the exterior while at the same time loathing or feeling hurt by the behavior, the effect is astounding. Some indigenous teachers call this the Jaguar Seat – holding two opposing reins while maintaining balance. This is incredibly empowering. We learn that we have a choice in whether or not we want our behavior to be determined by another. We come to know the depth and breadth of our own power to deflect the negativity of others and choose who we want to be. We are another step closer to being one with The Divine.
I have made a conscious decision to keep my heart open. I still falter at times, especially when feeling deeply hurt. But the faster my mind reacts in wanting to close my heart, the more persistent my spirit becomes in keeping it open.
When we live in fear, our heart is closed. When we live in love, our heart is open. Sounds simple; yet simplicity is the hallmark of inner peace.
May we all stand in our own power, keep our hearts open, and walk in beauty.
Until the next time, my friends . . . Namaste ❤
©Tina Frisco 2014/2017