Most of us know that the heart is the organ, which pumps blood through the circulatory system. They are also a symbol of love, which you often find on Valentine’s Day cards and are the shape of candies that people give each other on that day, at least in the United States. However, the heart I have been thinking about today is not a physical heart or a material heart, but the spiritual state of being which enables love to flow through our mind, body, and soul. It is that state of being which enables love to flow in us and through our interactions with others.
Several years ago, a dear friend underwent open-heart surgery. She needed it to fix the disease, which had physically damaged her heart. Recently, I had a conversation with an acquaintance who suggested she needed open heart surgery because she had experienced so much wounding and hurt that she no longer trusted herself or others.
After a lifetime of hurtful and wounding experiences, opening one’s heart to love is not easy. The process begins with quieting our mind, drawing on whatever technique works best for us as individuals. For some people, meditation is a great tool for learning how to silence and control the thoughts bouncing around in one’s mind. One of the things I have learned to do in my own journey is to think about the thoughts floating in my mind as a conversation between others to which I do not need to listen. Learning to silence our mind completely is an ongoing journey and while it is a part of opening our hearts, it is not the only part of the journey.
We cannot begin to open our heart and allow the healing to begin until we stop the wounding, which is living a life of its own within us. Every time we relive one of those painful moments from our past, we are re-wounding ourselves and limiting our capacity to open our heart to others and ourselves. The healing cannot begin until the wounding stops.
Sometimes we continue to wound ourselves and close down our heart because we have agreed to be afraid to open our hearts. We may think, “If I do not open my heart, then nobody will ever hurt me again.” When I was a child, I had this fear of being abandoned and did not allow myself to be close to others out of fear they would abandon me. I had to release that fear I had agreed to as a frightened child and as an adult form a new agreement with myself. I began by agreeing that I would never abandon myself. As I developed a more loving, trusting and open relationship with myself, I was able to do so with others. However, I had to stop wounding myself with that old agreement before I could open my heart to experience the love, which desired to flow in me and through me.
It is important for us to learn how to love ourselves because ego cannot survive in the light of love. If you become the light, if you allow the light of love to shine through you, then the light will dispel any darkness. Your love will give you new understandings of the Infinite. Your love will give you new understandings of eternity. The ability to love others unconditionally is related to our ability to love ourselves unconditionally.
When we learn how to love ourselves unconditionally, then we have developed the skills to love others unconditionally. If our love for ourselves is conditional, then our love for others is also conditional. Conditional and unconditional love are not the same. When we see others and ourselves through the lens of unconditional love, it means we have released our expectations for others and ourselves. When we see ourselves getting frustrated with someone because they have not fulfilled our expectations, it is a signal our love for them was conditional. When others get frustrated with us because we have not filled their expectations, their love for us was conditional. Conditional love always brings frustration and unconditional love always brings fulfillment.
Opening our hearts and enabling this unconditional love to circulate through us is not always easy, especially for those who have allowed their spiritual circulatory system to harden. However, through practice and the willingness to form new agreements with ourselves, we can open our hearts and allow the love to flow in us and through us with increasing ease. The healing can occur in our hearts because we have stopped the wounding to our heart.