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Posted By Opening the Heart

Someone recently asked why they should even consider experiencing an Opening the Heart Workshop™. Here's the list I gave them to consider:

 

You're living life with a 'safety first' approach.

You want to be more 'whole hearted' in your relationships.

You tend to substitute a fantasy life for the real thing.

You wish you were able to be more spontaneous.

You spend a lot of time being anxious.

You'd love to live life more gracefully.

You live a constricted existence.

You'd like to be more genuine in your interactions with others.

There's a compulsive or desperate quality to your actions.

You'd love your responses to others and to situations to be more appropriate.

Real fulfillment is absent from your life.

You long for clarity of expression.

You'd love to be more gratedul and less grouchy.

You'd like to feel that you had more choices.

You live in the past or future rather than the present.

Your responses don't match the situation.

You are hesitant or tentative in your interactions with others.

You are inhibited in living up to your potential.

You'd love to be more 'present'.

 

We're very confident that the workshop can help any of the above conditions. If you haven't done so already you might like to investigate further at The Opening the Heart Workshop™

 


 
Posted By Opening the Heart

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side
At once began to bawl
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

 

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

 John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

 

This ancient Indian story becomes particularly meaningful when applied to the process of self examination. Just how partial is our understanding of ourselves? How moulded by prevailing culture, science and pop-psychology are the stories our minds weave about the 'self' and our lives?

Looking back to my childhood in England I can laugh in embarrassment at the various notions I imbibed from my family, friends, schools and popular culture. Exposure to alternative world views has taught me how impossibly racist, sexist, jingoist, chauvinist, homophobic, fear-based and just plain wrong those notions were. With hindsite it is easy to see that just about all my perceptions of who I was in the world were way off base.

Hitch-hiking around Europe in the 60s, living in an ashram in India for three years in the 70s, becoming an immigrant to the US in the 80s were all salutary experiences that opened my eyes and busted many of the myths I was carrying about myself and my relationship to the world. But there's no doubt that new myths crept in along the way.
A quarter century later  the 'elephant' story prompts me to wonder what misunderstandings, distortions and failures to see the big picture I am currently indulging.

I remember spending a meditation intensive in India in 1977 sitting opposite a partner and responding to the suggestion: "Tell me who you are!" It took me a long time to get beyond the 'bio', the family, the career, the closely held beliefs. In essence these were just parts of the elephant - and even patching them all together produced only a piecemeal collage. What was being sought was something much deeper and more complete - something amorphous but much closer to truth.

The challenge then and now is to recognize and move beyond the narrow lens crafted by (unreliable) personal experience and 'culture'. It requires continually reminding ourselves that we are usually only experiencing a fraction of our whole being. Try this experiment: set your timer to beep every hour today - when you hear it ask yourself 'who am I right now? and spend just one minute meditating the answer.


 
Posted By Opening the Heart

 (A contribution form Louise Kenny  - the organizer of our annual Opening the Heart to Grief at Avow Hospice in Naples, Florida)

 

The impetus for completing this writing was an encounter I had while attending a recent seminar focused on energy work such as opening chakras and seeing auras.  Such teachings I have found helpful along my own healing journey. It was at this seminar that I was reminded of my growing concerns about what has been called the “spiritual bypass”.  The spiritual bypass is that delightful and seductive path our ego finds to take us out of ourselves and into the lovely land of spiritual righteousness.
    During a break in the seminar I was expressing my concern about the devastation in Haiti. I  shared  my deep hope that the world would notice that if we all have the capacity to love effortlessly in the face of tragedy, we indeed harbor the capacity to love at any given moment.  Moments later a woman approached me and expressed the judgment: ‘But you know the Haitians just never learned to prosper….even after so much has been given to them’.  Immediately my ego flared in judgment of her!
     Before I lit off like a rocket I simply stated "there is a lot of history there"…and quietly walked away.  Later I shared with the seminar facilitator my idea: without taking a walk into and through the darker regions of ones own individual heart, one remains at risk for missing a critical spiritual point. 
       Lui Collins, folk singer and song writer wrote the verse “The only way out is through”. I first heard this as a participant in an Opening the Heart Workshop during a moment when I was encountering some deep pain in my soul. I emerged from that experience concluding that before I could transcend to greater levels of consciousness I must first fully embrace where I am and where I had been.  Our emotional hearts are not disconnected from our egos. Life’s events affect us; hurt our egos; scar our hearts. Healing these wounds requires love. Healing the wounded heart is about dissolving into the essence of our spiritual nature. As we descend into the dark regions of our heart accompanied by LOVE with the sword of Truth, we open paths to our spiritual heart. Along this newly open passageway, our actions may begin to flow increasingly from our spiritual heart.  As the spiritual light shines brighter from within us, our capacity for discernment grows as our inclination towards criticism, judgment and denial diminishes.
     While we can seek through prayer, rituals, meditation, chakras and auras for our spiritual nature it is necessary for us to consciously understand and appreciate the role of  ego in our lives. It is essential for us to see and eventually bow to the pain, the fears, the grief, the regrets, the tenderness, the hardness, the victim and the killer within. The ability to hold the sword of truth and allow it to point directly at ourselves is to genuinely grasp the spiritual point of love.
    The Opening the Heart Workshop is the only workshop I have ever taken that has granted me the gift to accept my heart’s call to encounter the light of truth. What was revealed then, and continues to be revealed to me today, goes on lovingly and gently cracking my ‘cocoon’,  liberating my spirit, urging me to be the light in the world that I was born to be.
Louise Kenny, LCSW


 
Posted By Opening the Heart

Truth "must be warm, moist, incarnated, -- have been breathed on at least. A man has not seen a thing who has not felt it.”

 

How is the truth of my heart today? Warm and generous? Flowing like water? Am I "in my body", in-carnated, connected? Am I feeling all the truth that life has to offer?

 

Just checking.............. How about you?

 

Come into allighment with the truth of your heart at The Opening the Heart Workshop™ Kripalu Institute, Stockbridge MA March 19 - 21 2010