Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Open Heart, Insert World

There is a belief in yoga that we - each and every plant, animal, human, and funky-ass thing living at the bottom of the ocean - is connected through our Self. Not our "self": that bit of ego that tells us that we are an individual. Rather our Self: that bit of the Divine (however you perceive it) that lives in each of us. Maybe you call it the Soul. It is that bit of Eternity that returns to the Mother Ship once we are done with the container in which we currently reside.

The Western world places great emphasis on the self. We appreciate individuality (so long as we're all the same, individually). We appreciate independence. We appreciate self-sufficiency. We do not understand giving without any thought of receiving. We do not comprehend serving for the sake of serving. If someone does something for nothing, we think them the fool. It never occurs to us that it is the exact opposite of nothing that they are receiving... that just because their reward is intangible that it must not "count."

When you truly start embracing the idea of Wholeness, you look at everyone in a whole new light. That homeless guy on the street, panhandling for money? He's you. That dancer on the stage starving herself thin and lost in the music? She's you. That person in line having a really bad day and taking it out on a poor minimum-wage cashier? That person is you.

Suddenly you start to feel for everyone and where they are in their moment. Your heart breaks for the woman walking to work in the rain because that's the only way she can get there. You feel you might explode from happiness when you see an Olympian who struggled and managed third place. Or fifth place. When your heart is open, the world can enter.  And just when you thought things couldn't be more wonderful and beautiful, you realize a terrible thing. Open hearts scare the living shit out of others whose hearts are closed.

Suddenly, you are attacked and derided for being too sensitive, for not having a sense of humor, for caring too much about people "who don't matter." You open your heart because the Divine wills it, and then you are ripped to shreds as a reward. But because your heart is open, you see the pain and suffering of those who try to bring you down. Your heart opens even wider to accommodate their fear and pain.

The heart is ever expandable, and those who reside there are the bravest of Souls.

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