True Love: Opening The Heart

Sorry about how I have been silent for so long. Actually I have been posting like mad, living up to my moniker as the crazed mystic, but it has been exclusively on our private Reflections school forum. We selected True Love for our 2009 book study. We started reading the book together on February 5th. We turned the reading into a devotional practice by reading a single chapter daily for a week. We are at week three of the study and this petite book is shaking me to my core.

It is a heart opening practice because we are focusing on self-love and spiraling outward to our loved ones. This book is one in a long line of mindfulness books from the beloved Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.

But the heart touching nature of his message reminds me of a similar reaction I had to bell hooksAll About Love. One of her lines just shattered me, “There can be no love without justice.” Whoa!

I thought back to all those people who caused me such harm under the rubric, “…because I love you.” If that was not love … what the hell was it? It ripped open my eyes as delusions and denials fell shattering all around me. Looking out with new eyes, I began the slow process of disentangling myself from some unhealthy, often toxic, relationships.

And if hooks could shatter so many faulty fun house mirrors, Hanh equally rips away blindness and ignorance.

“In true love, you attain freedom.”

“Understanding is the essence of love.”

“The most precious gift you can give to the one you love is your true presence.”

I am practicing being mindfully present with everyone I meet. And I have to say it is more difficult than I had imagined. But when applied to myself it brings tears to my eyes every single time.

“If you are not there, how can you love?”

Anahata: A Bell waiting to be rungAnahata: A Bell waiting to be rungThis question haunted me through last week’s yoga class. We are working with chakras this session and last Thursday was all about the heart. I am no longer surprised when my yoga instructor, Carrie, starts emphasizing my current spiritual practice, crisis or insight. She spoke so eloquently about opening the heart that my eyes began to tear up.

And then we proceeded to do some of the hardest poses and movements, or maybe I should say the hardest ones on me ... in a very long time. How very difficult it is to open the heart, to open my heart. And so much of yoga is focused directly on this practice.

I invite you to join us as we explore this practice for 16 weeks. Maybe you can blog about it.

Are you willing to open your heart? Are you willing to be free?

Dear one, I am really here for you. And it makes me happy.


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