Keep breaking your heart until it opens. – Rumi
The word ‘open’ has always conjured, for me, scenes of expansive space, broad horizons, reception, and exploration.
What I often forget is that, in such beautiful ways, the world works in contrasts and they are often stark. Everything is cyclical; just like the tides and the phases of the moon, we go in and out of expansion and contraction.
So too, does the heart.
Openness is often provoked by an explosion, a sudden blast of heat, a disarming presence, or a situation that leaves you without much to say. In these times, we fear the darkness. We forget about contrast. We beg for the light. In practice, we know that all things are temporary; we know that there is a symbiotic relationship between our perceived pain and our desired outcomes. There are always lessons in store.
Choosing Heart over Ego
The heart is a great teacher in this way. It leads us into depths we had no idea existed so far within us, it shows us the parts we pretend are not there, and waves them in our face.
The heart has its own intelligence, its own methods for exploration and teaching. It is at once its own entity and an integrated leader with the other systems of the body and energy. Those who are tapped most fully into their ability to love (their heart energy), radiate this outward. It magnetizes. Other people can feel it, and even if not consciously, they are changed because of it.
We are impacting each other all of the time, in waves and great starts, in words and wordless interactions, in embraces and calculated mistreatments.
The choice remains to lead with the heart over the ego when the aim is to have the most interesting life. The richest experience. The most irrefutable aliveness. The most comprehensive humanity.
Laying Down your Arms
There is such bravery in living when you are broken open that is hard-pressed to be found elsewhere in many instances. Love is the fuel for so much of our experience, all of it, really, and we live and die to experience this ultimate alignment. We take passionate action and enraptured planning to an all-time high in the quest for this vibration, this elevating form of pure source.
What is incorrigible information underneath it all is that we needn’t work so hard. We must simply surrender. Those of us on a spiritual or yogic path tend to resonate with this word on a variety of levels, but many of us who are drawn to exploring the outer limits of ourselves are born with a fierceness that can be quite unshakeable. We love challenges–of ourselves, of our beliefs, of our bodies, we love the opportunity to grow. What this can also mean is that we love to fight, we love to embody the warrior.
We think of the warrior as being emblematic of strength in compassionate warfare, but so often, being a warrior means laying down your arms.
In the greatest sense, to awaken the open heart, to invigorate your full potential, you must let the intensity and heat of leading with your heart burn off all of the other things that are getting in the way–like the desire to struggle.
Saying ‘Yes’ to being Open
Spiritual growth is so often like taking up residence in a furnace, in a cosmic bonfire imploding in on itself, the path is the undaunted ownership of one foot in front of the other, in the most stacked of flames.
When we answer the call to live fully, we accept that this means in great joy and in great sadness. When we welcome intensity, we trust that it means nothing is going to be subtle anymore. We learn to find stillness in this, on our mats, in our meditations, with our breath–yet, still, the experience of heightened awareness and sensation is there.
It will always be there, as a reminder that we have bodies, yet we are not just bodies. We are interconnected and raw and vibrating and reaching out to each other without using our arms at all. We are walking force fields, little lightning bolts of everything imaginable, pared-down and packaged into lovely vessels that can kiss and fuse.
If we choose the road less traveled, the one where we say ‘yes’ to being wide open, we know that we are, in effect, choosing to be challenged. We are nodding our heads to being thrown and surprised as well as embraced and made warm. We are exclaiming with wide eyes and clapping our hands at the opportunity to face everything and rise.
Surrender is key. Persistence is necessary. Bravery is fuel. Courage is emblematic.
Agreeing to an Explosive Life
Awakening the open heart has very little to do with being undiscerning about where you throw your loving energy. It has much to do with being discerning about remaining open even when you feel like you have been grated clean and left in the rain. There is a lesson there, in that wetness.
Each experience we have is simultaneously being had or has been had by everyone around us. It is impossible to feel alone in this, in the openness of being, in letting the heart lead the way, in allowing it to be the guiding light and the conjurer of our everyday comings and goings, reachings, and failings.
When we choose to rouse our open heart, to awaken her, to let her beat at the front lines, we are agreeing to an explosive, extraordinary life. We are agreeing to push past what we are often told is acceptable in terms of range of feeling.
How Open is Your Heart?
We are consciously choosing to deviate from the mundane, the restricted, the oppressed, and the self-censored. To be truly open-hearted is to beat with the pulse of the divine, in light and dark, in challenge and ease, in acceptance and turmoil, and always in surrender to whatever may come.
The truly adventurous life leaves no stone unturned, and the path of the explorer begins with the commitment to grow wider between the ribs every day.
Thank your beautifully written and inspiring article – it went straight to my heart and brought me to tears. Walking so wide open isn’t the easiest journey but worth every challenge, for the connections, heartfelt outcomes and experiences.
Nicky Ryan South Africa
Dear all I would like to introduce you to Hridaya Yoga Meditation school teaching how to reach your spiritual heart.
For me the 10 days silent retreat was heart opening and now I am a volunteer (karma yogi) in France. We will open a center in France this summer.
For this I Invite you to look into our crowdfunding and our projects. If you enjoy what you see feel free to donate.
For every donation for the permaculture team we will do an additional hour of picking up trash.
Or even better come by and enjoy a retreat or become a karma yogi.
Thank you, love Sarah <3
Its not open for discussion on that. I am happy with how I am. I know I want to always be a man. I can have gay friends but I cannot be gay. I will improve myself slowly at my own pace. I will give love out but be very selective. If you can accept me then do so. I will not gamble because I have kids and love ones. I will not give complete trust to anyone or anything from now on. My words will change or feelings will but I want those that come to me to understand that I am a naturally accepting person. Also my views on laws are different from others..right and wrong in relationship is weird for me. I am a mess really and i dont think that it will change much or at all. my heart is very chaotic. but I do have a good balance and I do feel like I want to always help and be there for others and I do want love.
An open heart also helps us receive communication from our loved ones who have passed, because Love is not hindered even by death. We must not seek that, just leave our hearts open.
Intellectually knowing that we cannot taste pure joy or love without being willing to experience sorrow and suffering does not make it easier when we arrive in the deep and dark valleys of our lives–except by having wonderful resources like this writing to remind us. Thank you!
Life is like running biking etc., We need to find a harmonious pace. We want to go faster, farther and explore. But the faster we go the resistance we meet. There will be hills and valleys. We must pace ourselves and go with the flow.
Having been born by Love and through Love, and having been nurtured by Love for the purpose of transmitting Love,
I commit to embody the immovable Strength and Courage to be Love
and to surrender to the direct experience of the Reality of Love
while serenely reflecting the
Perfection of Love
in an equanimity with the natural
Law of Love,
humbly moving with the flow of the
Will of Love
and in every moment appreciating the Presence of Love,
acknowledging my intimacy with the entire Cosmos of Love,
in order to effortlessly do the
Work of Love.
This is definitely a heart-opening article Robin — beautifully expressed!
Personally, my spiritual path has recently begun and I must thank you for clarifying how essential surrender is on this path. It’s definitely an element in my life I need learn to embrace.
Thank you again Robin.