By: Sanderson Sims
This week I was wrestling with an emotional problem. I thought I was on the short end of the stick and my ego voice was telling me all of the reasons I was right. I debated it in my mind, gave it a rest and debated some more. You know the drill. Finally, I simply asked for the right solution.
So what happened? My head gave way to my heart and I got the message that I should “Lighten Up.” I realized that I did not have to be right in order to be happy. It seemed that letting the issue go gave me a lot more peace than having to make my point. I admit that by lightening up, I just felt better and was able to let it go. The ego of my mind seemed to have lost but my heart had won. I observed that. You know, you sort of scratch your head in a detached way and wonder just what is going on. The process took some time but once it happened, I felt a lot better.
Alternatively, if you stick with the mind approach you might continue down the rabbit hole and get resolution another way. For example I once attended a seminar in which there was a process called “peeling the onion.” Here you would ask yourself what would be so bad about not getting the outcome you were demanding of yourself. At the core usually was something like fear of loss.
For example if I did something or failed to do something I might lose my job. If I lost my job, what would be so bad about that ? I might not be able to make my mortgage payment. If I couldn’t make my mortgage payment what would be so bad about that? I might lose my house. If I lost my house what would be so bad about that? I would have to move. If I had to move, what would be so bad about that? At some point an outcome that you cannot see would show up. It might be a better job or a better place to live. Who knows.
The point of the exercise was to see that we usually cannot get past certain stopping points. It is just too painful and we shut it out of our mind, agonizing over the worst projection. But at a certain point in the exercise, if we see that we could live with the outcome, the angst over the problem fades away. Maybe the job’s not that great; maybe we could move in with a friend and enjoy a better social life. Observing that the worst case scenario does not have to run the decision making process can be helpful.
Perhaps one thing that is actually happening in this process is that you start thinking about how you want to feel and the fear of losing your desired outcome disappears, giving way to a potentially new and better experience. As helpful as this peeling the onion process is, it is still a mind journey and does not often involve the heart.
The heart approach is all about lightening up. Think about it for a second. How often have you heard a friend say, “Lighten up!” When you hear, “Lighten up!” it is a suggesting that we open our heart make the decision. Our hearts seem to have a bigger horizon than our heads. There is literally more light on the situation. We are freer to live with the outcomes. We are less attached to outcomes and realize that we are moving toward experiences. And if a particular experience is not to our liking we can ask our hearts to put more light on an experience more to our liking.
In other words the emotional state of how we want to feel is really at the core or our beings. Possessions, desired outcomes and events simply represent our ideas of how we might get there. When we move from our head to our heart, we are indeed creating a more vast energy from which to live our lives. Life enjoyment simply seems to improve. It has been said that the longest journey in life is the 18 inches from the head to the heart.
There is even an organization that studies the physiology of accessing and aligning with the intelligence of the heart. Known as Heart Math, they have dedicated decades of research and scientific study to this endeavor. A very good introduction is provided here: https://heartmath.org/science.
I saw a movie years ago based on Mulan Kudera’s book, “ The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” The main character, Thomas, was a surgeon doctor, living his life amidst the turmoil of the Prague Spring. When Russian troops were sent in to crush rebellion, Thomas was stripped of his license to practice medicine and became window washer. Yet he seemed to be in a state of acceptance no matter what was happening, functioning gracefully amidst it all. Even thought his life was drastically altered by political circumstances, he remained happy and at peace.
We make many reference to the lightness of being, such as “making light of the situation,” “surrounding ourselves in light for protection,” or “shedding some light on the matter.” Intuitively we realize that this is the essence of greater understanding and awareness. That enlightenment leads to higher states of wisdom.
At some deep level we are like the moths drawn to light, if we will just let ourselves go toward that light. This allows us to get into the flow and more easily manage our existence, especially in a world that is increasingly chaotic and sometimes filled with what appears to be nonsensical change. This does not mean you will not face challenges and ups and downs, but you can embrace them more gracefully and move on.
What have we got to lose by stilling ourselves in the morning and asking our hearts to bath us in light for the day? As we learn more about how to align with our heart, we can employ our aligned heart to all of life’s endeavors.
Photo by: Andrew Rashotte, Burst Photos