We all experience severe heart break at some time in our lives. For many it happens in childhood or adolescence, the time when we are most vulnerable. A cold mother, an absent father, being different in any way from our peers and ostracized for it - these are some of the reasons for the early feeling that something is wrong, inadequate and utterly disappointing about us. For others, it happens later, when a spouse betrays our love and trust, a child is hurt, or our dream of making it big in the world is shattered. It happens -sooner or later- to everybody, yet strangely enough, we tend to believe that other people have heaps of money, great careers, excellent health, and are blessed with devoted spouses and perfect children. Even if common sense tells us that this isn't true, we behave as if it were. We hide behind our painted faces and empty phrases, as if our wounded heart was a rare, shameful thing that had to be hidden at all costs. Even if we are the light of every party, our real self never shows up. We withdraw and disconnect while telling pretty lies in appearance, word and deed. Thus our hearts shrink and harden, and we live lonesome, inauthentic lives deep within the fortress we have built from pride and fear. From this point on, two things can happen: either we become depressed or cynical enough to believe that staying in this barren place and turning into dust is our only option, or we listen to the cries of our exiled hearts and become seekers. If you belonged to the first group, you would not be reading this book. So let's start the search for our true selves. In the following imaginative exercise, you will begin to restore the lost connection to your heart. You may feel some resistance reading these words. Won't this lead to an emotional breakdown, or to an eruption of pain and anger? It depends on your intention. If you want to explore your childhood or other severe emotional trauma, there are medical and psychological professionals who are trained to guide you through that sensitive process. What we want to achieve here is to find and free our spiritual hearts. There is the heart, and there is the true heart. There is our "pink" heart, and there is our "golden" heart. There is our low heart, and there is our high heart. Qualities of the low heart: Passion, Extremes, Volatility, Attachment, Emotion. Qualities of the high heart: Compassion, Balance, Patience, Unity, Spirit, Soul. Again, our intention is to connect to the high, the spiritual heart. This may happen instantly, at the first try. If it does, it is a profound, awe-inspiring experience, and you will recognize the level of truth instantly. You will realize that there is, behind your physically sick or emotionally broken heart, a heart that is completely whole and strong and wise. However, establishing this pathway could be a much longer process. You might connect to "pieces" of your heart at a time. Perhaps you will first experience an acute awareness of your heart's imprisonment, or your inner space may remain silent for a while. Take it easy. Whatever happens is just the right thing to happen for you at this point. EXERCISE: LISTEN TO YOUR HEART Sit or lie down comfortably, making sure you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes. Breathe. Relax. If relaxation does not come easily to you, visualize a thick, golden liquid pooling in your head. Slowly, slowly, like molasses, it flows down into your whole body, making it slack and heavy. When you feel relaxed, shift your attention to your chest. Imagine breathing through your chest. In-out. In-out. In-out. Do this as long as you want to. When you are ready, focus your attention gently on your heart. Your high heart, your true heart, your spiritual heart. Now, and possibly for the first time, greet your true heart. Express your gratitude for its continuous, life giving service, its protection and guidance. When you have established a connection, you might want to ask questions. Then be quiet and listen. Listen to the voice of your heart. This voice might express itself in words, in feelings, in images, in sounds, or just as a "knowing". Learning to recognize the unique voice of your heart may take time, so relax if you can't "get it right" at first.
Carna Zacharias was born in Germany, where more than ten books written by her have been published: novels, young-adult books, and non-fiction. In addition she worked as a literary critic at a daily newspaper, as a book editor, and for public television. After studying literature and philosophy at the university, she has been exploring Jungian psychology, mythology, fairy tales, Shamanism and other spiritual topics for years.
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