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Posted By Opening the Heart

It was a Saturday morning at an Opening the Heart workshop just as participants were entering the room from breakfast. Friday night had been a beautiful and poignant beginning of the weekend journey at Kripalu and very few of the participants had ever been to this magical place before. So, as participants came into the workshop space Saturday morning, most began to find their way to a backjack in the circle. One woman, though, came over to me and said "Jon, I'd like to tell you an interesting story". I sat down and listened.

She told me that she'd never been to Kripalu before and when she came into the cafeteria hall for breakfast, she paused and just looked around to "take in the scene". She said she was "taken aback" to notice how solemn and unfriendly the whole atmosphere was. "Here were 250 people sitting in one space and I didn't see one person talking to anyone else! It was so depressing and unwelcoming!" She told me that as she continued to look around, she noticed the signs indicating two separate food lines for "vegetarian" and "nonvegetarian", and then she saw the sign that said "Breakfast is a silent meal".

She smiled as she continued to explain to me that when she saw that sign, she took in a deep breath of appreciation and gratitude. She told me that it was so beautiful to witness the whole room in a silent honoring of the invitation to stop the normal social distractions, to go inside and become more mindful of the practice of eating a beautifully prepared, healthy meal. She said that she noticed some people sitting with a smile or with their eyes closed, chewing food prepared and presented with love. Her eyes twinkled as she said "It was so awesome to take this in. The whole room was like one silent, holy prayer!"

Some weeks ago a favorite patient in my office began the session by telling me a story of what happened to her as she ended her day at a stressful and unhappy job. She walked out of the building into the parking lot. As she approached her car, she saw something under the windshield of her car. "I was so angry. At first, I thought it was a parking ticket. As I got closer, I saw that it was not a ticket, but a handwritten note". She said she noticed a fleeting feeling of relief that it wasn't a ticket, but then she saw the relief give way to a deep annoyance that someone would disrespect her private property and have the nerve to write her "some insulting note about parking five inches over the parking lane stripe!'

She took the note from the windshield and noticed the two words written there: "Hey you!" She felt her body tighten, and, as she unfolded it, she read the rest of the message: "You are here to evolve your consciousness and to learn how to grow more love in your life. Everything is unfolding exactly as it should". She told me that she read it again, took a deep breath and smiled. "My whole day, actually, my whole week changed and I took the challenge seriously of going through each day choosing to be a little kinder and more loving to whomever I met".

What struck me about both of these stories was that nothing externally had changed at all. But what made all the difference was the internal change of how these two women chose to see the external circumstances of their lives. Aldous Huxley once wrote that "It is not the external circumstances of our lives that matter. It is our attitude about those circumstances that makes all the difference". I thought, once again, that a lot of amazing things happen when we slow down, breathe and pay attention.

With Love and Respect, Jon

 

 
1 Comment(s):
Angela Gora said...
"It is our attitude about those circumstances that makes all the difference." Hope to get to The Opening of the Heart Workshop someday. Grateful for you, always. Love and peace. A.
April 1, 2015 05:34:48
 
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