Sometimes during meditation retreats, people (unaided by substances) experience a "heart opening" - a blissful sense of unconditional love for everyone. The associated feeling of warmth radiating from the chest is probably the result of physical & psychological "de-armoring" in the process of healing from trauma. This blissfully unburdened state can persist for weeks after the retreat, and can re-occur.
A hardened, armored heart is comparable to a petrified tree; an open, de-armored heart, to a healthy willow tree. Which has the required resilience to survive, much less thrive, in life's constantly shifting climate?
“By giving ourselves unconditional kindness and comfort while embracing the human experience, difficult as it is, we avoid destructive patterns of fear, negativity, and isolation. At the same time, self-compassion fosters positive mind states such as happiness and optimism. The nurturing quality of self-compassion allows us to flourish, to appreciate the beauty and richness of life, even in hard times.
... you are only being asked to relax, allow life to be as it is, and open your heart to yourself. It’s easier than you might think, and it could change your life.”
Kristin Neff. “Self-Compassion. The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.” HarperCollins, 2011.
“I would define love very simply: as a potent blend of openness and warmth, which allows us to make real contact, to take delight in and appreciate, and to be at one with – ourselves, others, and life itself.
... love is the central force that holds our whole life together and allows it to function."
John Welwood. "Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. Healing the Wound of the Heart." Trumpeter, 2006.
"Scientific objectivity" is considered to be an important stance in science as well as health care. In the latter, the term "boundaries" is substituted, because it includes privacy & other moral/legal implications. But boundaries do not only protect patients & clinicians. Like most other "positive" things, boundaries also have a shadow side (potentially negative aspects) eg "armoring." (See: Ken Wilber. "No Boundary. Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth." Shambhala, 1979.)
"You learn about a thing ... by opening yourself wholeheartedly to it. You learn about a thing by loving it." Barbara McClintock - Nobel prize-winning geneticist
"Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough." George Washington Carver
According to Zen, the ultimate level of psychosocialspiritual evolution is "awakening" or "enlightenment," defined as "intimacy with all things."
We've known how the power of love allows us to understand things for as long as shamanism has existed - at least twenty to thirty thousand years:
“The learned aspect of the SSC (Shamanic State of Consciousness) involves a deep respect for all forms of life, with a humble awareness of our dependence on the plants, animals, and even inorganic matter of our planet. The shaman knows that humans are related to all forms of life, that they are ‘all our relations,’ as the Lakota Sioux say. In both the SSC and the OSC (Ordinary State of Consciousness) the shaman approaches the other forms of life with familial respect and understanding. He recognizes their antiquity, relatedness, and special strengths.
The shaman accordingly enters the SSC with a reverence for Nature, for the inherent strengths of the wild animal and plant species, and for their tenacious abilities to survive and flourish through eons of planetary existence. Approached in an altered state of consciousness with respect and love, Nature, he believes, is prepared to reveal things not ascertainable in an ordinary state of consciousness.”
Michael Harner. “The Way of the Shaman.” HarperCollins, 1980.
"The truth is, what one really needs is not Nobel prizes but love. How do you think one gets to be a Nobel laureate? Wanting love, that's how. Wanting it so bad one works all the time and ends up a Nobel laureate. It's a consolation prize.
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