I’ve written many times about the importance of teaching ourselves to have access to the inherent intelligence and perception of the heart. The heart brain automatically orients to a sense of connection and it is deeply enriching to move through daily life from this perspective. That said, when one seeks to be in the world with an open heart, it is also possible to more keenly feel the pain and suffering of others, be they other humans, other species, our planet, Gaia, a living being.
I have long had, and constantly recommend, a practice of starting the day taking in something inspiring, rather than beginning the day watching or listening to the news. In the current political and social climate, I notice that my heart needs to fill up with even more inspiring stories of people helping people, people working to protect the environment, people doing acts that embody kindness, empathy, and awareness of the suffering of others. The lack of empathy in our current leadership in the United States is a powerful source of anguish, and one of the ways I’m able to keep my heart open and my awareness willing to take in what is happening to us collectively is to offer myself these daily moments of inspiration and good news. I remind myself regularly that, within a context of wholeness, there is always good happening if I will take the time to look for it.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to seek out sources of inspiration and information related to issues that concern you, issues that you want to understand better, issues that you want to be able to do something about. One of my sources of inspiration is to use Audible books and to listen as I do chores. Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming”, was a powerful source of inspiration and I was sorry to have it end. A current book is “My Grandmother’s Hands”, which focuses on racial issues. Even though the subject is painful, the information offered is both historically significant and currently applicable in a way that leaves me understanding things about myself I hadn’t recognized before. Because it is written by a man who practices Somatic Experiencing®, the trauma resolution approach I also follow and spent 12 years teaching, there is a kindness and surprising gentleness in the book, given the charged nature of what it’s actually about. And so, for me, this is a source of inspiration as I listen to it, as well as a source of hope for our future. I also draw on spiritual sources of inspiration from a number of places, which I’ve shared over time in these practices. Servicespace.org has many resources that are inspiring and filled with good news, as well, including DailyGood and KarmaTube emails–https://www.servicespace.org
Here are a couple of other resources that are focused on the movement from “me to we”, with many programs and activities that serve to promote our sense of interconnection and interdependence:
As with all these practices in conscious living, there’s no right way to offer yourself ways to increase your empathy, to increase doing acts of kindness in your daily life, or to support living with an open heart. The key thing is to be open to the feedback your own body-mind offers you as you touch into what you experience as you meet the world with your heart intelligence and perception rather than with just your head brain awareness.
Remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through. It also helps to remember that the inevitable self-talk we all walk around with in our heads is a form of self-hypnosis, so it’s worth paying attention to what you tell yourself about you and your world. These statements arise from prior conditioning and it can be very helpful to generate thoughts about you and your world—your ongoing self-hypnotic conversation with yourself—that promote a sense of connection and well-being.