Unconditioning the Heart

Despite ones intentions, desires, and active energy, it often takes a period of stagnant inertia before ones plans take root and the stems begin to grow.  That is how it has been for me, mostly for the entirety of my life.  When I was fifteen I broke my back and I intended for many years to start doing yoga, it took nine years.  Lately the intentions are to wake and meditate before attending to life.  I believe I have been holding space for this intention for about three years now.  Also on the list of intentions is writing this blog weekly, which if you are reading it and are astute you have noticed that nothing has been written in months.  It would be easy to get down on myself for lack of action, or to exert more effort to meet the intentions which in my case will in fact lead to too much action and an excess of stress.  This is the most beautiful and challenging work I find my self doing lately, and truly the work of any yogi, or person, or energetic movement for that matter.  Finding the balance between exerting too much and/or  not enough is a challenging tight rope to walk. This morning however, I did in fact get up and practice some asana and sat with myself in a meditative state for a good long little while.  Waking up like this was like finally steping into the shoes I have been keeping in my closet waiting for the perfect outfit to wear, and this week I have manged to awake like this for five days in a row.  I have to hope that this means the time is finally right for this new morning ritual of mine to shoot from strong roots of intention, and not yet another lost effort.  Thinking about the past and the future of these efforts however serves neither the intention or the effort, so rather I enjoy the fruits of this mornings meditation, which in turn brought me to this page.

As I sat in the darkness of the universe behind the heavy lids of my closed eyes all I could feel and experience was pure love filling an endless void of emptiness....

Over the course of the thirty years that make up my life I have had the great opportunity to uncover an absolute truth to all living things.  (Some may say I don't know what I am talking about, and they may be right, and I am OK with being wrong.) The Heart is the most intelligent organ in our body.  The brain with all of its intelligence is just a computer to help us compartmentalize all the sensations of feeling we experience in body, and to respond to the awareness of that feeling.  Humans are remarkable in their capacity to feel, to feel not only the five senses which so many of us are fortunate enough to experience all of, but also the depths and heights of the emotions of the heart and everything in between.  And the brain with all of its intelligence can shut down, and the body will still continue to live.  The heart however, when it stops, it all stops.

The capacity of the heart to be loved and to love is as infinite as the spaciousness of the universe.  That is why when it is full it feels so full and when it is in grief it feels so empty.  However it is through the heart that we each of us are connected to everything in the universe.  On my journey of life, Yoga and the asana practice has had a profound effect on me and the way I view the world.  Through my Immersion and Teacher Training with the school of Anusara Yoga there was always an emphasis on "opening the heart".  As I write of this now, I must add a little addendum in honor of  the school of Anusara Yoga which was profound in its incredible ability to bring the awareness of the heart to hundreds of thousands of people, many blessings to John Friend and all of Anusara Yoga for that gift.  So, on this journey were the teachings of opening the heart, which through personal investigation and practice I have found a new perspective.

The Heart Is Always Open.

The heart is always open.  The heart is a direct conduit of the love of all the universe, all Gods, all Dietes, all energy and science, all magic and mystery, the heart is connected to all gains and losses without condition.  That is why no one has to teach anyone how to love, that is why children come into this world with undeniable love for their parents, despite the conditions of their family life.  That is why every person has that special thing that touches them and makes them cry, even if it takes their entire life to let those tears flow.  This intelligence is the intelligence of all consciousness which is so compleatly infinite it is also empty, and in its emptiness is complete love, and nothingness.

It is with the brain that we put conditions on the heart.  We hold onto the past, we grasp and reach for the future, we tie ourselves up in knots of unworthiness and guilt and shame, we put other people into these shackles of disrespect and dishonor, and we forget just how much alike we all are and just how short this gift of life really is.  And at this point why would we want to do anything else really?  When we look around us all the evidence points away from this truth, because we have veiled the truth in lies we all tell ourselves.  Lies about our worthiness of love and our capacity to love, lies about how unalike we are and how unable we are to put our differences aside and work together for our greater good.  We tell ourselves lies and we believe them and we all suffer, and we continue to forget that our days are numbered, and everything will change and each breath is a gift.  And this is how we have conditioned our hearts.

Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I too have a dream.  I have a dream that one day all people the world over will take responsibility of their free will and mind their minds as they find their all ready open hearts.

Where do we start?

Start with Gratitude.

May we remember that the universe has evolved over eons and eons and eons from nothing into this great expansive something and from the first atom to this breath all things are interconnected.  May we remember while we breath that the nature of evolution and the expansion of the universe is so intelligent that the air we breath actually GIVES us life, and in that generosity Life is absolutely undiscriminating, like the sun with its light, and the earth with its bounty.  May we remember that all we have to do is open up and let oxygen and life in and in being alive and breathing we are simultaneously being loved.  May we remember that the boundaries of Love are limitless, and in our grief may we see the reflection of just how much we have to give.  May we never forget there is no weakness in forgiveness, and each of us because we have  hearts, knows the conditions of suffering, and some hearts may not know the conditions of love for their suffering has been long.  May we be compassionate and spacious and most of all share the bounty of our loving hearts.

And when the mind starts to nag, to tell us we haven't done enough or are doing to much, may we remember to check in with the heart with its infinite spaciousness, may we feel all the diversity and dynamics of divinity there and know that there is also nothing there at all.

The Heart of Prajnaparamita Sutra

Gaté, gaté, paragaté, parasamgaté. Bodhi! Svaha!

Which means...

Gone, gone, gone over, gone fully over. Awakened! So be it!

Emptiness is the usual translation for the Buddhist term Sunyata (or Shunyata).  It refers to the fact that no thing -- including human existence -- has ultimate substantiality, which in turn means that no thing is permanent and no thing is totally independent of everything else.  In other words, everything in this world is interconnected and in constant flux.  A deep appreciation of this idea of emptiness thus saves us from the suffering caused by our egos, our attachments, and our resistance to change and loss.

Love Genevieve