With the coronavirus epidemic dominating the news, and the upcoming election just around the corner, for many people, the list of things to worry about just keeps getting longer. Do you spend more time worrying about the future than enjoying the present moment? Or, do you try to ignore your emotions, because they may only distract you from making sure all your obligations and expectations are met? In my practice, I often hear my clients lament that they spend most of their time either on an emotional roller-coaster, or checked out on auto-pilot mode, going through the motions while the years are passing by more and more quickly. Yet, neither worry or anxiety, nor living solely in our heads will bring peace and fulfillment in our lives.
I just came back from our 12th transformational journey to Egypt, which my wife, Danielle, and I have co-led since 2002. One of the phenomena of these journeys are that each day was filled with so much joy, depth and meaning, that 2 weeks seem more like a month. I was often asking myself, “What are the secrets that make this time so much more meaningful and fulfilling? And how can we integrate those secrets into our day-to-day lives?”
The answer is living in heartfulness, which is the heart-centered extension of mindfulness. Here are 5 secrets to living from the heart, to foster you during your day to day life, and through turbulent times:
Most of us have been taught early on that we should primarily rely on our heads to navigate through life and more or less ignore the messages from our heart. The heart is associated with vulnerability, and its messages with deception and confusion. Yet, you probably agree that peace, happiness and fulfillment can’t be achieved without the involvement of our heart. But how do we connect to our heart, especially when we have tried so hard to not pay attention to it? I find that spending time appreciating our life and how we show up in it, contemplating moments where we felt touched, compassionate or simply joyful, taking in the loving hugs we receive from our loved ones, the adoring gaze of our pets, or the friendly smiles we get from our friends – all of this can make us get in touch with our hearts and the gifts and resources that reside within it. While many people have focused on stilling their minds through meditation to bring more joy and lightness into your life, it is equally important to invest some time every day to connect to our heart.
Buddhism teaches that our attachments are the root of all suffering. When we came back from Egypt, our flight arrived early and there was a good chance that we could avoid a three hour lay-over and get an earlier train to our final destination. Yet, the conveyor belt at baggage-claim apparently didn’t get the memo. After not moving for a long time, it had the audacity to deliver my suitcase last. I noticed how the hope of catching an earlier train caused me to become more and more stressed and frustrated. Finally, I took a deep breath and asked my heart, “What else is possible? How could missing the earlier train turn out to be the best situation?” Immediately an idea bubbled up: rather than nibbling on another sandwich, Danielle and I could go to a nice restaurant in the airport and celebrate our magical time in Egypt. Looking back, I am grateful for missing the train, because it allowed us to reflect and savor our fully-packed trip, and the beautiful experiences we had there with our group.
It is when we are too attached to our expectations, that we set ourselves up for disappointment and miss out on what else life may have in store for us. It is when we are too attached to our opinions and beliefs, that we close our minds and hearts to those who could potentially teach us something new. And it is when we are too attached to our routines, obligations and to-do-lists, that we become imprisoned by the how we are ‘supposed to be’ instead of giving us the freedom to find out who we truly are. With detached flexibility, we are able to get out of auto-pilot living and realize that we always have the choice to see ourselves and the world from a more open and curious perspective.
Other heartfulness keys that I will speak about on Thursday are generous kindness, patient allowing, courageous engagement and spiritual curiosity.
Join me this Thursday, March 5th on Empowerment Radio and learn more about the 6 keys to heartfulness, so that you can bring more peace and fulfillment into your life – no matter what the circumstances. If you have questions or comment in advance, please feel free to leave me a comment here, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.