THE POWER OF THE HEART
“This is the method of compassion: drink in all the suffering and pour out all the blessings. You will be surprised if you do it. The heart immediately transforms the energy. The heart is a transforming force: drink in misery, and it is transformed into blissfulness … then pour it out. Once you have learned that your heart can do this magic, this miracle, you will like to do it again and again. Try it. It is one of the most practical methods – simple, and it brings immediate results. Do it today, and see.” Osho “The Book of Wisdom” Chapter 1.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Does it really work? Yes, it does!
I had the luxury of meditating for many years with an enlightened Master who introduced us to meditations from many different traditions.
The above is called Atisha’s heart meditation from the Buddhist tradition.The following personal story will demonstrate the amazing capacity of the heart to transform suffering into bliss.
It was 1997… and the beginning of a new love affair.
I had met a man earlier that year. I was living full-time in India and he was visiting from France. We only had a very short yet wonderful time together at the beginning of the year as he had to go back to work. We stayed in touch and six months later he decided to come back to India for three weeks to give our relationship a chance. We decided to spend time in Goa, India, on the beach.
I was overjoyed and very excited to see him again. And had no idea what inner challenge I was about to face.
To give a bit of background: he was four years younger than me and very good-looking. His last relationship was with a woman younger than him who was a very good-looking model. And I didn’t have a great sense of self-esteem around my looks.
So here we are in Goa, in this perfect romantic environment with the man of my dreams. Beautiful Indian climate, warm balmy nights, the sound of cicadas, glorious night skies covering us with blankets of stars. Swimming, sun bathing, eating fresh healthy food in the day.
No … the hell of unworthiness!!!
And to what extent … It hit me like a wave and knocked me out. It took over and blocked me, made me feel separate, entangled in my head, disconnected and definitely not present to the gorgeous man in front of me. It was agonizing. I was drowning in unworthiness, tortured by the monster in my own head which didn’t give me a break – “He was too beautiful, I was too old for him”, visualizing his ex, comparing myself with her, and on and on it went … mercilessly.
After three days of this we had to admit that our connection was obviously not working. Remember this was a ‘test run’… and I had failed.
I went back alone to our accommodation, feeling devastated.
I had everything I wanted in front of me but my head blocked it all.
I lay down and here is what happened:
Stage 1 (length about 1 hour):
As I didn’t know what else to do, I stopped resisting and opened into the feeling of unworthiness. It felt like dying. Unworthiness was everywhere.
Stage 2: (about another hour)
Somewhere a faint memory of Atisha’s Heart meditation came back: “breathe in suffering, breathe out blessings“. Some deeper wisdom started guiding me. On the in-breath I started breathing in the sluggish swampy energy of unworthiness and on the out-breath I held the intention to feel love.
It took about 20 or 30 minutes to feel the first benefits of doing this, but at some point there was a definite change and I started feeling lighter, less stuck. That encouraged me to keep going.
The feeling of love kept growing and at the end of those life-transforming two hours I was love. Love was in me and around me.
The ocean of unworthiness had transformed into an ocean of love and my heart was the magic transformer. It had gobbled up the energy of unworthiness and spat out gorgeous, all consuming love.
At the end of that experience my French lover came home and he couldn’t believe the change, he could feel my transformation.
Finally I was present as love, open and available. After that we had a great time in Goa and it was the beginning of a very nourishing, healing, intimate relationship.
Try it out:
Identify a state of personal suffering
Breathe in a portion of the suffering into the center of the heart (start in small portions!)
Breathe out loving kindness, gentleness, love for yourself
Keep going till you feel a change
This transformation is real, it can’t be faked, and so be patient till you truly experience a change. Eventually you can do it with the suffering of others and the world.
Try it and let me know what you are discovering!
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