The Blessing of an Open Heart
Do you close your heart over the slightest thing, without realizing it?
How to Coach Yourself Using these Wisdom Quotes:
Give yourself time to go through each point slowly
Consider your answers to any questions
Explore the links but come back to this page until you're done
Pay particular attention to anything that touches your heart
*All quotes are by Michael Singer, from The Untethered Soul
1. Choosing to Stay Open
"The key to staying happy is really very simple. Begin by understanding your inner energies.
If you look inside, you will see that when you're happy, your heart feels open and the energy rushes up inside of you. When you aren't happy, your heart feels closed and no energy comes up inside. So to stay happy, just don't close your heart.
There is no rule that says you have to close. Just tell yourself that no matter what happens, you're not going to close. You really do have that choice.
When you start to close, just question if you're really willing to give up your happiness. You should examine what is inside of you that believes there is some benefit to closing. The slightest thing happens to you, and you give away your happiness.
You were having a great day until someone cut you off on your way to work. It got you really upset and you stayed that way the rest of the day. Why? Dare to ask yourself that question. What good came from letting it ruin your day? There was no benefit. If somebody cuts you off, let go and stay open. If you really want to, you can.
If you remain open enough, waves of uplifting energy will lift your heart. Spiritual practices are not an end to themselves. They bear fruit when you become deep enough to remain open. If you learn to stay open at all times, great things will happen to you.
You simply have to learn not to close."
Today, become aware of the inner energy of your heart. Notice the open energy of feeling happy and the closed energy of feeling bothered.
Michael Singer says, "You should examine what is inside of you that believes there is some benefit to closing." This is what we will do in the coming sections.
"The slightest thing happens to you, and you give away your happiness." What's your response to these words? Do they cause you to open or close?
Can you notice something that happens today (no matter how small) that causes you to give away your happiness?
2. Becoming Aware of Opening and Closing
"If you really want to stay open, pay attention to when you feel love and enthusiasm. Then ask yourself, why you can't feel this all the time? Why does it have to go away?
The answer is obvious: it only goes away if you choose to close. By closing, you are actually making the choice not to feel openness and love.
You throw love away all the time. You feel love until somebody says something you don't like, and then you give up the love. You feel enthused about your job until someone criticizes something and then you want to quit.
It's your choice. You can either close because you don't like what happened, or you can keep feeling love and enthusiasm by not closing.
As long as you are defining what you like and what you don't like, you will open and close. You are actually defining your limits. You are allowing your mind to create triggers that open and close you.
Let go of that. Dare to be different. Enjoy all of life. Just keep opening and not closing."
Can you relate to this example of throwing away love, by closing your heart when someone says something you don't like?
In our exploration of the opening and closing of our heart energy, we can see how much it affects our daily life. We begin to see how we have set up limits to our happiness and love. Perhaps we haven't realized how much we've been limiting our experience of love and happiness, because everyone around us seems to be doing the same thing and closing at the slightest trigger.
Can you remember something that happened recently, where someone said something that bothered you, which then caused you to feel closed and shut off from them?
Notice how sensitive we can all be to things people say - even the way people look at us and all that we read into that. This is not about justifying anything or getting caught up in arguments about anyone being right or wrong. We are simply noticing the closing of our heart.
3. Wanting to Be in Control
“You said to your mind, "I want everyone to like me.
I don't want anyone to speak badly of me.
I want everything I say and do to be acceptable and pleasing to everyone.
I don't want anyone to hurt me.
I don't want anything to happen that I don't like.
And I want everything to happen that I do like."
Then you said, "Now mind, figure out how to make every one of these things a reality, even if you have to think about it day and night."
And of course your mind said, "I'm on the job, I will work on it constantly.”
When I first read this quote, I remember feeling shocked at how insightful it was. It made me question, "Did I really do this? Did I instruct my mind to be so controlling?"
Upon closer inspection, I discovered that there was indeed a part of me that lived by those statements, the part often called the ego. Not only that, but I realized that I was reading a description of what was going on in most people's minds. In this light, it made a lot of sense to me why most of us tend to be so defensive and fearful much of the time.
Read this quote at least a couple of times with an openness in your being and see what it reveals to you.
4. Recognizing Defensive Energy
"Begin by seeing the tendency to protect and defend yourself. There is a very deep, innate tendency to close, especially around your soft spots. But eventually you will notice that closing creates tremendous work. Once you close, you have to make sure that what you protected doesn't get disturbed. You then carry this task for the rest of your life.
The alternative is to become conscious enough to simply watch the part of your being that is constantly trying to protect itself. You can then give yourself the ultimate gift by deciding not to do that anymore.
The reward for not protecting your psyche is liberation. You are free to walk through this world without a problem on your mind. You are just having fun experiencing whatever happens next. Because you got rid of that scared part of you, you don't ever have to worry about getting hurt or disturbed. You no longer have to listen to "What will they think of me?" or, "Oh God, I wish I hadn't said that. It sounded so stupid."
You just go about your business and put your whole being into whatever's happening, instead of putting your whole being into your personal sensitivity.
Once you've made the commitment to free yourself of that scared person inside, you will notice that there is a clear decision point at which your growth takes place. Spiritual growth is about the point at which you start to find your energy change.
For instance, somebody says something, and you start to feel the energy get a little strange inside. You will actually start to feel a tightening. That is your cue that it's time to grow. It's not time to defend yourself, because you don't want the part of you that you would be defending. If you don't want it, let it go."
Go back and reread that first sentence. These quotes are holding up a mirror to ourselves so that we can see what we are doing, so that we can better understand that we are the ones who are creating our experience through our responses to everything life brings.
When we see this, we can stop blaming ourselves, our past, our circumstances and the world. This is the freedom that we long for but, when our heart is closed, we are trapped in a prison of our own making and can't find out way out.
Notice the tendency to defend yourself. (Byron Katie says defense is the first act of war.) Notice the energy shift in your being. This is your heart closing to protect your ego - your false sense of self - the part of your being that feels threatened and takes everything personally.
You don't need to do that anymore.
5. Struggling With Past Energies
"How you deal with your energy flow has a major effect on your life. If you assert your will against the energy of an event that has already happened, it is like trying to stop the ripples caused by a leaf dropped into a still lake. Anything you do causes more disturbance, not less.
When you resist, the energy has no place to go. It gets stuck in your psyche and seriously affects you. It blocks your heart's energy flow and causes you to feel closed and less vibrant. This is literally what is happening when something is weighing on your mind or when things just get too heavy for you.
This is the human predicament. Events have happened and we continue to hold their energy inside of us by resisting them. Now, when we face today's events, we are neither prepared to receive them nor capable of digesting them. This is because we're still struggling with past energies.
Over time, the energies can build up to the point that a person becomes so blocked that they either blow up or shut down completely. This is stressed outwhat it means to get stressed-out or even totally burned out.
There is no reason to get stressed-out. There is no reason for blowing up or shutting down. If you do not let this energy build up inside you, but instead allow each moment of each day to pass through you, then you can be as fresh every moment as you would be on a stress-free vacation.
It is not life's events that are causing problems or stress. It is your resistance to life's events that is causing this experience.
Since the problem is caused by using your will to resist the reality of life passing through you, the solution is quite obvious - stop resisting."
What past energies are you still struggling with?
Sometimes, simply becoming aware of them is enough to let them go.
6. Keep Letting Go
"Two kinds of experiences can occur that block the heart. You are either trying to push energies away because they bother you or you are trying to keep energies close because you like them. In both cases, you are not letting them pass, and you are wasting precious energy by blocking the flow through resisting and clinging.
The alternative is to enjoy life instead of clinging to it or pushing it away. If you can live like that, each moment will change you. If you are willing to experience the gift of life instead of fighting with it, you will be moved to the depth of your being. When you reach this state, you will begin to see the secrets of the heart.
The heart is the place through which energy flows to sustain you. This energy inspires you and raises you. It is the strength that carries you through life. It is the beautiful experience of love that pours through your whole being. This is meant to be going on inside you at all times.
The highest state you have ever experienced is simply the result of how open you were. If you don't close, it can be like that all the time. Don't sell yourself short. This can go on all the time - unending inspiration, unending love and unending openness. This is the natural state of a healthy heart.
To achieve this state, simply allow the experiences of life to come in and pass through your being. If old energies come back up because you were unable to process them before, let go of them now."
"Learn to be centered enough to just watch this stuff come up. Once you sit deeply enough inside to stop fighting the stored energy patterns, they'll come up constantly and pass right through you. They'll come up during the day and they'll even come up in your dreams. Your heart will become accustomed to the process of releasing and cleansing. Just let it all happen. Get it over with. Don't process them one by one; that's too slow. Stay centered behind them and let go. Just like the physical body purges bacteria and other foreign matter, the natural flow of your energy will purge the stored patterns from your heart.
Your reward is a permanently open heart. There is no more valve. You live in love and it feeds you and strengthens you. That is an open heart. That is the instrument of the heart as it was meant to be. Allow yourself to experience every note the heart can play. If you relax and release, this purification of your heart is a wonderful thing.
Just keep letting go."
Did you know that the heart has a sustaining energy that richly provides us with strength and love? But when we try to push away that energy (because we don't want something) or try to keep it close, (because we don't want to let something go) we create a blockage that stops the natural flow.
The remedy is simple. We observe the energies of life coming and going and we let them pass through us. We let them go.
Instead of getting caught up in all the thoughts and details about the content of our lives, we take a step back and experience them as the space in which they happen. We let nature take its course and let life flow through us, without resistance, without fighting and forcing anything.
This doesn't mean we don't care enough to take action when it's warranted, or that we remain in unhealthy situations. In fact, by remaining open, we become equipped to experience all of life in a healthy and natural way, with an unlimited, rich supply of energizing love that permeates every situation. This is the blessing of an open heart.
Watch young children as they interract with life. They experience a whole array of emotions - laughing one minute and crying the next. They allow it all and then move on. They have not yet learned to process what's happening through thought. We can learn so much from them!
7. Summary and Song
In this ten-minute video, I give a brief summary of the quotes, followed by a short song, sung to the tune of I Only Want to Be With You by Dusty Springfield.
See if you can memorize some of the words so you can sing them to yourself during the day and remind yourself to remain open, no matter what.
It doesn't matter if you like or if you don't
It doesn't matter if you want or if you don't
'Cos life keeps unfolding in its own way
The only thing that matters is your heart today
Is it open? Is it closed?
Can you let the energy just flow?