LIVING FROM THE HEARTPosted on October 21, 2014 by Ines
LIVING FROM THE HEART
The truth is that which opens the Heart. This capacity to sense the truth is something we all already have. We all have a Heart that is already accurately showing us how true things are. Anything that puts you in touch with more of the truth opens the Heart. This is a literal and experiential description of truth. When your experience is bringing you more truth, there is a sense of opening, softening, relaxation, expansion, fulfillment, and satisfaction in the Heart. This can be most directly sensed in the center of the chest, but the Heart of all Being is infinite and therefore actually bigger than your entire body. So this opening, softening and expansion is actually happening everywhere; we just sense it most clearly and directly in the center of the chest.
When you encounter truth, the sense of your self opens, expands, softens, fills in, and lets go. The me, the sense of your self, is no longer felt to be so limited or small. It becomes more complete and unbounded. The boundaries soften and dissolve, and any sense of inadequacy, limitation, or deficiency is lessened or eliminated.
As a side effect of being in touch with more of the truth, your mind gets quieter because you simply have less to think about. Even knowing a simple truth like where your car keys are gives you less to think about. And when you touch upon a very large truth, your mind becomes even quieter, like when you see the ocean for the first time: The truth or reality you’re viewing is so immense that at least for a moment your mind is stopped and becomes very quiet.
In contrast, when your experience is moving into a diminished or smaller experience of the truth and of reality, the Heart contracts. The sense of your self gets tight, hard, contracted, and feels incomplete, bounded and limited. It can feel like you are small, inadequate or unworthy. The smallness of truth is reflected in the smallness of the sense of your self. The result of being less in touch with the truth is that your mind gets busier as it tries to figure out what is true.
Fortunately, your Being is never diminished or contracted, only the sense of your self. Just as blocking your view of the whole room by partially covering your eyes makes your sense of the room smaller without actually making the room smaller, an idea or belief that’s not very true is reflected in a small sense of your self, without actually limiting or contracting your Being. This opening and closing of the Heart in response to the degree of truth you’re experiencing is not something you need to practice or perfect. Your Heart has been accurately and perfectly showing you how true your experience has been all along. If you start to notice your Heart’s openings and closings, you’ll discover that you already have everything you need to determine what is true. The Heart is the true inner teacher, the source of inner guidance we all have as our birthright. You don’t need a spiritual teacher or spiritual books to show you what’s true, just your own Heart connected to Higher Self.
What Is the Truth?
Truth is what exists, what it is now. So, if what exists is also what’s true, then there is only truth. Whatever is present is true—but to varying degrees. Just as there is no actual substance or energy that is darkness, but just varying amounts of the energy of light photons, there is no falsehood or untruth, only varying degrees of the truth.
We are always experiencing the truth. But because we don’t experience everything in any one moment, our experience of truth is always limited. Sometimes we experience a large amount of truth—of what is actually here—and sometimes we experience only a small amount of what is actually happening, of what is true. Our Heart’s openness or lack of openness in each moment is what shows us how much of the truth is being experienced at any moment.
What about ideas that are mistaken? An idea or belief that has little or no correspondence to external reality is going to be an extremely small truth, so small it may only exist in one person’s mind, like saying: “He was a legend in his own time.” When you experience an erroneous idea or belief, your Heart will contract appropriately to show you that it’s a very small and inconsequential truth.
For example, if you entertain the idea that you’ll never be happy unless you have 10 million dollars, your Heart will contract appropriately to show you that it’s just an idea. This contraction may be very quick, so quick that it doesn’t cause you any discomfort or trouble. But if you really believe this, then the sense of your self will contract for as long as that idea is held.
Many limiting ideas are real, but only as ideas. Because these ideas exist, they have some truth to them, but the existence of something only as an idea is a very small existence indeed. You could put all the ideas ever thought into a pile, and they still wouldn’t trip anybody. They only exist as neural firings in the brain, so to focus on them exclusively is to severely limit or contract your experience of reality and therefore the sense of your self.
In the range of everyday experience, our ideas have varying degrees of correspondence with reality. Those that correspond more closely to reality won’t contract or limit the sense of self for as long as mistaken ones. Many ideas are of service to our ability to be at ease in the world. For example, when you need to go someplace, correct ideas about how to get there allow you to simply go there and then move on to other experiences. Ideas such as these can enhance our experience, rather than limit or contract it. An idea about where something is located is, of course, not a big truth, but it’s also not usually experienced as a limiting one.
The Heart’s Capacity to Show You the Truth
All there is, is truth, and our Heart’s capacity to reflect the degree of truth in any experience is the way we recognize how true a particular experience is.
What is the Heart? What is this sense of self that is ever present? It doesn’t relate to sensations in the physical heart or chest; it’s more subtle sense, at times even more subtle than the physical senses, although the opening or contracting can also be experienced as relaxation and contraction in the physical body. The sense of your self, the sense that you exist, is something more intimate than your physical experience.
What does it mean when you say ME? What are you referring to when you say ME? This simple fact that we are here, that we exist, is a very mysterious aspect of our experience. When we speak of it poetically to try to capture its essence, we call it the Heart, like when you know something in your Heart or when you “resonate” with the truth or when your Heart is touched.
This sense of your self is a very alive and changing experience. At times your sense of ME is open, free-flowing and expanded; and at other time, like when a judgement arises, it feels small, inadequate, and deficient. In these moments, have you actually changed? Has your body suddenly shrunk? Much of the time this sense of ME is bigger than or smaller than your physical body. How does that work? Have you experienced your inner child? How can your ME be the size of a child when you are an adult?
This sense of ME, this sense of self, is shifting all the time. It’s always either opening and expanding, or contracting and tightening, similar to the ongoing expansion and contraction of our breathing.
The idea that its’ better to be thinner or more beautiful or younger than you are is simply a smaller truth than the idea that you’re perfect the way you are. Even if you ARE beautiful, thin, or young, the idea that it’s better to be that way can limit the sense of your self. If it’s better to be that way, can you just relax and be, or do you need to do something to stay that way?
In contrast, a neutral idea that doesn’t state or imply anything about you can be experienced neutrally in your sense of self. For example, if you consider the color of the ceiling in someone else’s house, this usually won’t open or close your Heart and you won’t Resonate because it’s not about you and probably doesn’t imply anything about you. The sense of your self doesn’t shift in response to neutral ideas like this.
This opening and closing of the Heart is not a prescription—something you need to practice—but simply a description of what your Heart has been doing your entire life. Whatever does happen in the sense of self in any moment is entirely correct and appropriate. It’s appropriate for your Heart to close when someone is telling you a small, limiting truth; and it’s appropriate for your Heart to open or resonate when you experience a deep and profound reality.
The Heart’s Quickness
Your Heart is incredibly quick. It instantly knows how true something is and instantly opens or closes to that degree. It’s so fast that it never really lands anywhere. It’s always either opening or closing in response to each moment.
So, if a thought triggers another thought, the Heart will then be reflecting the relative truth of the triggered thought, not the original one. And if this triggered thought triggers another one, then your Heart will reflect how true the latest thought is. The openness of your Heart can shift very rapidly—as rapidly as you can think another thought. In fact, in the Heart Math Institute, they can now scientifically prove that the first response is the Heart which then sends signals to the brain.
I was working with a woman once who had difficulty taking time for herself. I asked her to check into her Heart to see how true it is that it’s okay to take time for herself. She closed her eyes for a moment and when I asked her what had happened, she said she felt an intense contraction. I was surprised, so I asked her to tell me exactly what had happened. She said that she thought, “It’s okay to take time for myself,” and then immediately decided this would be selfish, and her Heart contracted. Her Heart was showing her how true it was that it would be selfish to take time for herself. It was no longer reflecting the truth of the idea that it’s okay to take time for herself.
In the quickness of our usual rapid-fire thinking, it can be tricky to determine what your Heart is actually responding to. Therefore, when checking in your Heart to see how true something is, it’s helpful to slow down and take each thought or each possibility one at a time.
All Truth is Relative
Truth is all there is. Yet our experience of truth, of reality, is always partial. Right now your field of vision is partial. You can only see what’s in front of you, not what’s behind you. Similarly, your Heart is always showing you the degree of truth of the experience you are having in the moment.
Your view or range of experiences is always opening and closing, filling in the blanks in your experience or forgetting or ignoring parts of your experience. Whenever you focus on a particular aspect of experience, you necessarily stop noticing other aspects. As a result, any particular perspective is either smaller and more limited, larger and more complete, or roughly the same degree of completeness as another perspective.
The openness of the sense of your self is always relative. Because truth is always relative, any particular truth could be experienced as an opening or as a closing of your Heart. Even a small experience of the truth may be larger than the experience you were just having and therefore will be experienced as an opening or relaxation in your Heart. Similarly, even a fairly large truth can feel limiting if you move into it from an even larger, more spacious experience.
For example, if you lived most of your life paying attention to your thoughts and ideas, then the first time you’re put in touch with your emotions will be experienced as an expansion of consciousness. It will feel like you’ve discovered a new, rich dimension of your Being.
However, if you’ve had many even larger experiences of much more expanded states of Being, possibly through spiritual practices, then a movement into a strong emotional experience like anger, sadness, or excitement may be experienced as a contraction or diminished sense of your self. The same truth, the same experience of emotion, can be experienced as either an opening up in your Heart or a closing down. It just depends on where you move into the emotion from and also how open or expanded the sense of your self generally is.
Your Perfect Wisdom
Your Heart is the wisest thing in the universe. The sense of your self is always perfectly and accurately showing you how true things are, how complete your perspective is in every moment. Even when your Heart is contracted because of some deeply conditioned idea you’re holding, it is appropriately and accurately wise in its contraction.
No one has more capacity to distinguish how true things are than anyone else. No one is wiser than you, and no one is less wiser than you. Since no one else is able to experience your individual perspective, no one else can ever be more of an expert on your experience than you. Just as someone else cannot eat and digest your breakfast for you, others cannot experience and digest your perspective of the truth in each moment.
If no Heart is any wiser than any other, perhaps this is because there is just one Heart that functions through the many sensing of self through many bodies and yet is not contained in any of these particular expressions or experiences. What you are is one Heart of Being. Since we’re all equally endowed with the wisdom of the Heart, there’s no need to give away our authority to another. There is nothing better than your own Heart at discriminating/discerning how true something is for you right now.
In addition, the thoughts that cause contraction are not your fault. Your thoughts and beliefs were passed on to you by others, who learned them from others. If you trace each conditioned thought or reaction back to its source, you’re discover that all limiting beliefs and ideas are just shared among us all. If anyone is to blame, it’s all of us put together. Another way you could say this is that the Whole of Being is the source of everything—even the limited ways, we have of experiencing that Being.
With this understanding, the possibility exists to simply trust your Heart no matter how big or small the truth is that you’re experiencing. You can trust your Heart when it opens, and you can trust it when it closes. Your Heart is the wisest and most trustworthy thing there is. In the deepest spiritual traditions, the true teacher is seen to be within each of us. Your true teacher is this sensitive and accurate Heart, which expands and contracts as it senses the endless folding and unfolding of life.