Seems I have struggled for years with this thing called heart. Oh, these walls that I have built so strong! Everytime I try to take them down, something comes along to slam me. Why is that?
When I reached my thirties, I began the quest to become a better person--- a woman that I could like and be happy with. My studies were eclectic and the journey very interesting.
Once I met a woman who was so totally filled with compassion that my reaction was, “I could never be like that.” Yet throughout the years, I have often thought about that feeling, and although I’ve not experienced that with anyone since, a part of me looks for that compassion; that part of me that still desires to be a better person.
But when you’ve spent a lifetime building walls around your heart, how do you reach through the layers?
One time I decided to do a meditative vision quest. In my mind, I went to “my place” on a hill and waited through the night. I danced with deer and foxes. Skunks came to sit in my lap. With the dawn, came the bear. He rose up higher than I was standing. I didn’t know whether to run or stay. He reached his huge claws towards me and in the moment he ripped into my flesh, he turned into a man and with a knife, began stabbing at my heart, chipping away the ice in which it was encased.
Talk about a big “Wow” moment! But it didn’t last. I continued with every day life never figuring out how to bring the spiritual into the commonplace. I read many books and attended all kinds of seminars and classes but never did I again reach that part of my heart that lied buried in ice.
Too sensitive, I built stronger walls as frustrations grew on the job and my voice was silenced. As my spirituality grew so did my lack of tolerance in the “not fairs” surrounding me. I became an emotional wreck and my only comfort was solitude and nature. The more I tried to practice balance and harmony, the further away it got. How could I call myself a spiritual being when I couldn’t handle daily life?
I eventually quit that job, relationships ended, and the goal of becoming a hermit got closer. If I wasn’t close to people, I couldn’t be hurt, could I? I could sit on my mountaintop and alone, I could feel compassion for the world.
Ironically, as that time for solitary living nears, I realize that I don’t want to be alone. I know too, that my issues are not resolved. I still have trouble being “out in the world.” All the running away and hibernating did not open my heart. I’ve often said that it’s easy for monks to be compassionate when they stay in their monasteries and not have to face real world. I am not ready to give up that real world.
So once more I am back looking at my heart issues. Most of the time, I am content. My heart is filled with much gratitude. I am returning to the spiritual, however, I notice that by opening up, I am once more allowing myself to be hurt.
What is it about this heart stuff that causes pain? Am I just too sensitive as I’ve been told all my life?
The Buddhists believe that we are here to experience suffering. Perhaps… but I also believe that life is much more. Maybe the purpose is to experience the pain with an open, loving heart and I’ve just not been able to get past the pain. Jeez, after all these years and all this training, I still don’t get it?
Every time I feel hurt, I pull in and build tighter walls. That’s not the answer. I know better, yet every time I think I’ve got it, something else causes me to crash. I peek out. Maybe I’ll be safe this time… then slam!
The trick, though not really a trick, is to keep the heart open and not close down; to keep the heart loving in spite of the hurt; to be able to say, “I know you hurt, but it’s okay.”
I am working again with a Native American Medicine, this time a Holy Man. These past few weeks I have spent much time in prayer but today, with this writing, a revelation. I finally “get it.” Another layer is taken down as what I was told sinks in.
“Think from your heart not with your head.” I have heard this often and now realize that when I am in prayer, I am always “thinking” about what I need to say and who I need to pray for and what I need to be thankful for--- which is all in my head while my heart remains solid with its walls erect and strong.
(In this moment, my mind jumps to, “you can’t always think from your heart” and that is true to an extent. You do need the logic from your brain but as I am currently not in balance, I need to develop heart openness.)
New challenges come with this latest work. I am not ready to deal with them, but evidently, Spirit feels otherwise. Right off the bat, the rug is pulled from under me and friendships and loyalties are in question. I want to run away and hide and never come out.
I want to scream, “Not fair!” I don’t want to feel that I am in the wrong (although there is no wrong nor blame.) I am working on taking down the walls, but this situation makes me feel I have to keep them up (which is the really true challenge.) I am hurt and scared and feeling betrayed. I don’t feel safe… and yes, there is some anger… all these issues of the heart.
What am I to do?
Keep working. I pray and meditate more than twice a day. I tap (EFT.) I want to take down the barriers and walls that I’ve spent a lifetime building. I want my heart to feel whole and healthy and I want to feel safe around people.