The Importance of Awakening our Heart

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We do not need to pursue enlightenment, but it is imperative that every person learns how to be peaceful human being, thus no longer creating suffering in this beautiful world. There is too much suffering here, anyone can see that, and our responsibility as mature members of our species is to assist in changing this, rather than just sitting on a cloud and believing it will just go away if we forget about it and focus on our own pleasure and enjoyment.

It is our heartfelt duty to be an instrument of positive change and healing in this world, and when we participate in this global process we rediscover our passion, power and purpose as beings of love, compassion and care. This requires that we collectively wake-up a little bit, and accept that we are part of a collective organism – humanity – that is deeply unwell. It’s condition is almost critical, but we each have such a great influence on the collective whole that there is no need for despair. Indeed, there is great hope, because the nature of the human heart is our saving grace, with its deep capacity for compassion and care.

This is the part of our being that we need to activate and become more in-touch with, so that we are no longer “part of the problem”, which is essentially heartlessness, selfishness, fear, intolerance, judgement, arrogance and reactivity. Instead we become part of the solution, which is essentially peacefulness, kindness, compassion, care and love.

No sacrifice is needed in this process, because it is only that which causes all of our inner-pain that we need to let go of – the ego. The ego encourages us to indulge in selfish gratification and thus overlook the deep inter-connectedness of all members of our species. We are all connected, and connected through our heart, which reveals to us the deep need we all have to relate to one-another in a caring and compassionate manner. We are simply designed to help and care about one-another, so if we shut our eyes in ignorance because it seems to challenging or too painful, we lose touch with the depth of who we are; we lose touch with our humanity.

We retreat into the safety of our thoughts as we justify to ourselves why we are not needed, why it doesn’t really matter what we do, what we think, what we say. This is unconsciousness, this is the ego. It keeps us unconscious of our heart and the deep capacity for compassion which exists there. We only reject it because we listen to the ego’s fears about the consequences of living from our heart. It fears that we will no longer be free, no longer have control over our life, no longer experience all the personal pleasures which it believes enrich our life so much.

But in truth it is heartfelt living – full of kindness, care and compassion – that really enriches our life and brings us the deep sense of fulfilment that we are all searching for. The ego tries to replace the heart and bring us this fulfilment, but all it can offer is self-righteous belief systems, distractions, and short-term pleasures – none of which connect us to our heart.

When we connect to our heart and we feel the sense of care and compassion that we are designed to feel, we access a greater depth to our being. We feel more real, more alive and more purposeful. We realise that our purpose is simply to care, and act from this in-built desire to help others, in any way that we choose to. Perhaps we can inspire others in some way, perhaps we can bring hope to them with our positive outlook and vision of a brighter future. Or perhaps we can help others in a more down-to-earth and practical way. It doesn’t matter how we contribute to the human collective, what matters is that we contribute something which is needed on some level.

We will discover that there exists within us a deep sense of enthusiasm and passion for some form of “love in action”, and it is important to listen to our heart to discover what this is. Of course, I can fully understand that some people will read this and feel like they are not in a position to act in this way, to live in the world with this kind of selfless focus. That is okay. You do not need to be a saint!

Essentially, we just have to remain aware of two things:
1. Are we creating suffering or making life harder for anyone (including ourselves) ?
2. Have we lost touch with our compassionate and caring nature?

These are two questions which we should ask ourselves throughout the day, and if we ever answer ‘yes’ to either one of them, we simply correct our behaviour (or our thoughts) accordingly. It is something very simple that we can all do, and it just requires awareness of ourself.

Often we are being driven by selfish motives, or motives which come from fear or stress, and the result is always inner-suffering. So if we notice that we are suffering, or feeling disconnected from our heart, we can look at our motives and see what is driving us on. What is influencing our behaviour, our words and our thoughts?

If we have an agenda to “be right” or superior in some way, this will disconnect us from our heart. If we feel insecure and attempt to create security through self-indulgence, through anxiously pursuing more money or through seeking approval and recognition from others, we will also find ourselves straying from the peace and security of our heart. This is why we must be conscious of what is motivating us, because often our motives are purely selfish, especially if they are coming from fear.

Because the selfish ego is simply a product of insecurity. When we feel lacking, threatened, anxious or insecure, our ego takes the steering wheel and directs proceedings. We make choices that bring an illusory sense of security to the ego, placating its fears and temporarily calming our anxiety about the perceived threat or sense of lack.

Yet this is only ever temporary, because the ego has only been placated with a balm for that which is was fearful about. Being a product of insecurity, the ego’s fears will arise again, seeking to be placated once more. This is a pattern which just goes on and on, until we see it occurring and we learn how not to respond so eagerly to the fears and insecurities that arise. They are simply the ego, raising its head, saying “I’m still here. What are you going to do about me?”

So of course, we have a choice how to respond to the fearful ego. We can either allow our thoughts and actions to be motivated by its insecurity, and thus enter once more into the cycle of placating it temporarily (which simply sustains it) or we can respond differently. We can learn how to avoid instinctively reacting to fear and insecurity when they arise, because they arise mostly in our thoughts, which is the realm of the ego.

Therefore, when we notice an anxious or selfish thought arise in our mind, we see where it is coming from, and we relax. The reason why we need to relax is because this is what disperses the tension and insecurity which the ego builds its foundation upon. When the body relaxes, we instantly feel more secure and more safe. We feel more at ease and more peaceful, so any perceived sense of lack usually fades away.

If the mind is deeply anxious about something, in partnership with relaxing our body we need to be aware of centering and stilling our mind, so that it doesn’t continue to encourage fear and tension in our body. A good way to center the mind is to choose something for it to focus upon. I recommend one of two things: your breathing, which is something you can do anywhere, or simply observing a candle flame in a low-lit room. This is great at the end of a busy or stressful day, especially in partnership with soft and soothing music.

If we observe our breathing when we are relaxed, we will notice that it has a steady and natural flow, inwards and outwards. If we are anxious, this flow is interrupted and our breath becomes disjointed and shallow, sometimes even stopping completely for a few moments, if we get stuck on a particular thought. It is very helpful to notice this, because by actively keeping our breath flowing, we ensure that we do not get stuck on any particular thought. The thoughts pass on by, like clouds in the sky, and we simply remain aware of the natural and effortless flow. Being in nature also greatly supports this process, because nature’s harmony encourages us to feel harmonious also, while the fresh air oxygenates our body and freshens our mind.

We must recognise that for a very long time the mind has been allowed to wander where it pleases and create suffering in our life, through its choices of thoughts. So re-training the mind to stay centred and focused is a process. Many people say “you don’t need to wait for happiness, just be happy now”, and that is true if you have a disciplined mind. If you do not, your mind will at some point engage you with thoughts which take you away from the present moment, often creating stress and tension in your body and eradicating any sense of happiness. The mind does this often.

So teaching the mind how to let go of thoughts and allow them to pass on by is an essential practice. It is the key to being free of the suffering which anxious thoughts create in our body. And not only this. When we can let go of thoughts of insecurity and lack, fear and threat, we do not feel compelled to act upon them. And it is the compulsion to act upon anxious thoughts that prevents us from acting upon the guidance of our heart.

Often we feel pulled to act from our heart, but almost immediately a thought arises which tells us why that may not be a good idea. This is doubt, this is “reason”, and it is valued very highly in our society because we have been taught to trust the mind over the heart.

Of course it is wise to consider the likely consequences of every action, but when we notice that our mind is always presenting us with scenarios of things going wrong, of things failing and us experiencing pain and disappointment, we must question if the mind is actually being realistic. Often, it is being pessimistic; simply fearing that the worst will happen and expecting further suffering for us. Again, this demonstrates the fearful nature of the thinking mind, motivated by insecurity.

Obviously, the heart does not do this. If insecurity is the nature of the egoic mind, then trust is the nature of the heart. And usually both are self-fulfilling prophecies. For example, if we are firmly trusting and without doubt, then the stability and faith this brings us are likely to ensure a positive outcome. Even if they don’t, the heart does not surrender to the pessimism of the mind, because it is very practical and flexible in its ways. It will adapt its approach, giving our mind the strength to envision a positive outcome, no matter how challenging the circumstances.

This is what we are faced with now as a species. We have many challenging circumstances on this planet, and we need the strength of our heart to bring us through them. The anxious mind will always fear for the worst, and pessimistically believe that we may as well give up on our vision of humanity as a peaceful species, enjoying life on a peaceful planet. But our heart is what absolutely guarantees that this will be so, and all we have to do is stay close to it.
Peace and blessings,

Alex

http://AlexanderBell.org

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“How To Live in Love” : http://LiveinLove.eu

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About Alexander Bell

Awakened spiritual teacher, writer, composer and nutritionist. www.AlexanderBell.org
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