The Value Of An Open Heart and Mind

Imagine you are sitting at a table and on the table right in front of you is a big pile of fresh dog shit. It really stinks. Now imagine that same pile of shit is sitting on the 50 year line of a football field in a stadium and you are sitting on the furthest bleacher from that 50 yard line. You won’t even smell it. You might not even see it. All the shit in your life can be treated in the same way.

This practice is not easy at first. But like everything else the more you do it the easier it gets. The practice is to sit comfortably and focus on your heart or mind and let your heart or mind expand. You can use an image like watching the water ripples created when a pebble is tossed into the water. Another technique is to ring a bell and follow the sound with your mind, again like water rippling outward.

The Warm Heart Practice is my creation and it involves recalling a memory that brings a warm loving feeling to your heart. If possible detach from the memory and practice holding the warm feeling in your heart. The next step would be allowing the warmth expand as if your heart were the sun radiating a warmth fills your whole body. If you’re adventurous let it fill your whole being. It is said we are created in the image and likeness of God, Jesus said God is love, therefore you are the image and likeness of love. This exercise is leaning into that realization.

Once you get good at holding a warm heart allow an uncomfortable or disappointing memory to come to mind and hold it in the warmth. Notice what changes, if anything, about that memory as you look at it through the warmth.

It is normal to fight and flight painful events and memories in our lives. It is also normal to either feel a pleasant or unpleasant feeling one at a time and not together. Getting comfortable and familiar with holding both pleasant and unpleasant feelings in your heart or mind at the same time develop the ability to maintain open minded and open heartedness as difficult situations or events happen. It also helps to make stress more bearable. The light of a warm heart will always, even if sometimes slowly, melt the pain of disappointments.

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