Too many of us deal with the many serious challenges in life by avoidance, procrastination & distraction. So we drown ourselves in excessive : eating, drinking, shopping, sex, gambling, work, drugs, traveling, cars, houses, cottages, etc.
This escapism brought about our high & rising: suicide rates; drug-overdose-related death rates; mass shootings in the US; annual murder rates in the US - always greater than the number of soldiers killed at the height of the Viet Nam and Gulf wars; consumption of mood-altering prescription drugs; burnout rates; etc. Add to that, a climate crisis that most completely ignore or "don't believe in." We clearly can't go on like this.
Perennial philosophy calls for a much wiser approach - which actually works. Bravely face & wisely deal with our past & present traumas, shed our armor, denial & reactivity, and open our hearts.
Heart Opening is “… a deep awakening to being love, rather than needing love.
Every tradition has ways of opening our heart and expanding our capacity to love, whether through ritual, worship, devotion, or chants. Some people feel their hearts open through relationships with gurus, and Christian saints describe overwhelming love for Jesus. Our hearts can also open by falling in love, sometimes irrationally or without any hope of reciprocation. The heart also breaks open with grief.
The heart can be a powerful portal into realizing our true nature, as a heart opening can lead to dramatic shifts in our energy and worldview. It is an intensely physical & emotional experience as all armoring around our heart breaks down. It opens the contractions around our heart that we formed in our early years.”
Bonnie L. Greenwell. “When Spirit Leaps. Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening.” Non-Duality Press, 2018.
Thomas Merton’s famous, powerful "heart opening" while walking down the street in Louisville, Kentucky:
"At the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world… This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud… As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realized what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depth of their hearts where neither sin nor knowledge could reach, the core of reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine. If only they could see themselves as they really are, if only we could see each other that way all the time, there would be no more need for war; for hatred, for greed, for cruelty. I suppose the big problem would be that we would all just fall down and worship each other."
The essence of this practice is that when we encounter pain in our life we breathe into our heart with the recognition that others also feel this.
It’s a way of acknowledging when we are closing down, and of training to open up. When we encounter any pleasure or tenderness in our life, we cherish that and rejoice. Then we make the wish that others could also experience this delight or this relief.
In a nutshell, when life is pleasant, think of others. When life is a burden, think of others.
If this is the only training we ever remember to do, it will benefit us tremendously and everyone else as well. It’s a way of bringing whatever we encounter onto the path of awakening compassion.” Pema Chödrön
“There’s a story of a great saint in Northern India to whom people would pray, have a picture of him, and if they had problems with finances, the law, their children or whatever, they would pray to him and things would just work out for them – their prayers were answered. Then someone asked the Saint, well how is this happening? You’ve never met these people in person, are you doing something? Do you hear their prayers and you change things for them?
He said, ‘No. It’s the department of the almighty, and he takes care of it.’ And then there was a desire for further explanation. And the explanation was that when someone (like this saint) is in tune with thaat cosmic intelligence, and people put their attention on that person (eg this saint) in a way, s/he (eg this saint) becomes a representative of that cosmic intelligence. Whereas without a representative, it’s too abstract for most people, so they can’t really relate to it, direct their attention to it, or pray to it.
Whether it’s a contemporary teacher, or one of the great luminaries of history, just by evoking their aid, even though they might be 2,000 years deceased, we are kind of triggering the almighty cosmic intelligence to come to our assistance. You (Lucy Grace) may be serving such a function for some people.” Rick Archer
“Absolutely. Again there’s nothing about me that’s special and doing anything, it’s a place for them to project all their own innate intelligence, wisdom, grace until they’re ready to internalize & claim it themselves.” Lucy Grace
“They need some kind of concrete point of focus for those who are oriented that way. It’s too abstract for them to find it within themselves, or within the cosmos.” Rick Archer
“Something in us opens to the archetypal energy of the (universal consciousness, Divine, etc), and whether it’s through Christ, or some punter down at the pub, whether it’s through me on the computer screen, it’s a conduit. It’s not that I’m doing a conduit for it. And then it’s all about this is yours, there is nothing outside of you that you need for this.” Lucy Grace, 2nd Batgap interview : https://batgap.com/lucy-grace-2/ BOTH THIS & HER 1st interview https://batgap.com/lucy-grace/ are SUPERB IF YOU'RE READY
"Here’s a question we don’t often ask ourselves: 'Do I have what it takes to be a saint?'
Most of us would say we don’t. Lama Rod Owens, however, has a different take:
'Because we love and venerate the saints, because we pray to them for blessings, developing deep devotion to their embodiment of the Divine, because we tend to elevate them to a place of godhood, it is easy to believe that they didn’t start out just like us: ordinary, struggling, & basically human. I believe that we all can and must become New Saints.
We live in a time that can feel so grim that it seems like the world is ending. We are not experiencing the end of the world, but we are experiencing the end of some provocative & desperately enduring lies we have told ourselves. With the end of lies comes the awakening of truth.'" https://www.soundstrue.com/products/the-new-saints-1?utm_source=Z-Customer+Service&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=R230711-TNS-Pre-Publication+%2801H4P5VV33FMVHZHT6CXSVP32P%29&triplesource=klaviyo&utm_klaviyo_id=JsSQsZ&_kx=oubFt43NAjNBb0_NppHaGCF951bovtuCAx1o4i41Tys%3D.JMDgaq
“I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?
Look at your eyes. They are small,
but they see enormous things.”
Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
|Photograph by P. Michael Lovas|