Sunday, May 15, 2011

Susan Piver - How to Open Your Heart

We all need to learn to do this better and more often. By the way, Susan Piver is a wonderful author and teacher - check out her blog and books.

In this post she talks about the wisdom and compassion in opening our hearts - not to others, this time, but to ourselves. How often are we gentle and compassionate toward our own lives and experiences? The less we judge ourselves, and the more gentleness we can find for our own pain and fear, the easier it is to extend those gifts to others.

How to Open Your Heart

By Susan Piver
May 13, 2011

What is meant by a “contemplative view?” Rather than probing your thoughts and feelings for a storyline (i.e., what does this mean about me, my past, you, our relationship?), you simply see your thoughts and feelings. Observe them. Take them in. Allow them to be as they are without seeking to manipulate them at all. You’ll see some stuff you like and some stuff you may not, including your habitual patterns and the anger, depression, or doubt that are locked up within them.

However, with a contemplative view (rather than—or in addition to—a psychological view) of these patterns, you see that rather than being emblematic of your failings, they are indications of your genius. Just below anger is crystalline clarity; just below depression is sadness, which is gentle, tender, and entirely workable; and just below doubt is a profound kind of questioning intelligence.

In this way, you cultivate one very, very important quality, without which, no matter how well-reasoned, most efforts to find happiness fall apart.

That quality is gentleness.

Toward yourself.

I’m sure you have felt gentleness time and again for those you love or admire: your child, lover, a hero of music or politics, even your pet. You think of this creature and your heart melts. You feel how deeply you wish for their ease, and not because they “deserve” it. There actually is no reason at all for this feeling, beyond love. Your heart is simply open.

When have you ever felt this toward yourself? It is very, very important that you look at yourself in just this way. Please, starting today: soften toward this precious and irreplaceable being: YOU. All you have to do is notice her. She is like no other and has gifts to give that cannot be sourced elsewhere.

From here, you are able to feel this way for everyone, not just those you already love. In this way, by opening your heart, first to yourself and then to all beings, you can change the world.

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