The subject tonight is Love
And for tomorrow night as well
As a matter of fact I know of no better topic
For us to discuss until we all
What did the Beatles and Steve Jobs have in common, not to mention that bleach blonde spiky haired woman from Roxettee (oh don't act like you don't remember them...! ) They implored you to:
"Listen to your heart."
It doesn't matter whether you're a Christian, Muslim or occasional Buddish, a Jedi, an agnostic, a white witch or an atheist "The path of the heart" is available to all and already accessible. It's an intuitive wisdom that's been ingrained into our collective consciousness and culture. It's present, alive and beating in our own bodies not to mention manifested in a thousand tinny pop songs from Bieber to The Beatles and from Shakespeare's sonnets to the homespun homilies of old wives.
In Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement speech he encouraged hopeful graduates to "Have the courage to follow your heart and listen to your intuition." When we want to make a "heartfelt" vow we "Cross our heart and hope to die." If we want to express our most vulnerable self to another it's likely we'll ask if we can have a "heart to heart' .
Whether you know it or not - and we do all know it somewhere in our beings - our heart is our way of accessing our the deeply intuitive, authentic wisdom of our truest self. This truth is consistent and shared across all of the world's greatest spiritual traditions from Christianity to Sufism from Tibetan Buddhism to the ancient texts of Hatha yoga. It's present in the teachings of the great sage Ramana Maharshi and now scientifically proven by the modern day research organization, Heart Math Institute.
"Home is where the heart is"
To connect to our hearts is a way of connecting profoundly with our most authentic self, one that has perhaps been lost and buried under the stress and clutter of modern living. I know all too well that feeling and the pain and disconnection it can cause. I lived in a career I didn't love with a list of regrets as long as my elbow. Somehow I was able to hear the whisper of my heart but I wasn't able to follow her. The approval of society, my family and friends was too important. I shortchanged myself and exchanged my own dreams of being a writer to living a shadow career in marketing. I became sad, I became despondent, and then I became depressed. Now I understand my depression better. I was pressing down My Self. I was ignoring the call of my heart, my soul. I was heart sick.
It didn't go away until I pulled away. I withdrew from doing what everyone else thought I should do and bought a one way ticket to Peru to pursue my love of travel and writing. To reconnect to our hearts is a way of connecting back to our creativity, our love, our passion and our joy. The heart is the place where we hold our emotions and where we alchemise them. There is no sorrow it can not transmute. Here we can discover a place of comfort and rest deep within us. It is a place of silence, sweetness, passion and the spaciousness of our truest self. Connecting back to our hearts is to return home and so we understand the old saying in a new way. Quite literally. Home is where the heart is.
In Sanskrit, the language of the yogis, Hridaya means "this is the center" and refers to our Spiritual Heart.
My own spiritual school Hridaya Hatha Yoga and Meditation teaches the practise of self inquiry through the spiritual heart taught by the Indian sage and enlightened being Ramana Maharshi. It also beautifully ties together the common silver strands of heart wisdom present across the greatest spiritual traditions as well as modern day teachers in non duality such as Eckhart Tolle and Ken Wilber. The practise combines a contemplative, slower practise of the postures (asanas) of traditional Hatha yoga along with meditation techniques that encourage us connect back to our self through our hearts and embrace the intimacy, peace and wisdom to be found there.
You don't need to eat brown rice, live on a mountain top or dress in white to practise! It's a form of yoga and series of meditation techniques that are easily accessible to all from the beginner to the seasoned practioner, whether you have a religion, a spiritual faith or just a belief in the voice within. Warning: It could have a profoundly deep and lasting impact on the quality of your life. My own practise has led to greater sense of balance, inner peace, self awareness, joy and trust. Yes I still get sad sometimes. But those blue days have wider spaces in between. Yes when I sit down to meditate sometimes my thoughts still rush in. But so too are there wider spaces between. Spaces where I'm more able to hear my intuition, my desires, spaces where the worry stops and I can just rest and surrender to the comfort and the truth of every single present moment.
All you Need Is Love
Why the focus on the heart. Think of it as an energetic portal. Access to a never ending stream of healing and nourishing energy that is both within us and outside of us and gives us compassion, peace, joy, forgiveness and insight into our true nature. What is this energy? Love of course! Just pure love. It's what we mean by the term non duality. We are all connected and the bodies that seem to separate us are an illusion. We are one and all made of the same magical sparkly stuff as the universe as mother earth and each other. So The Beatles had it almost right. But we don't need love. It's already ours. It's what we are.
Dark side of the Moon
I was in tears. The end of a silent 17 day retreat and yet another break up with another lover had left me wrung out and wrought. I was feeling the wound of the heart more deeply and more keenly than ever. Yet this time there was a difference, this fierce comet's tail of burning pain was a light too sweet, too fierce and too tender. Yes all my old fears had risen their ghoul faces "I'm not enough," "I'm not lovable" and the scariest spectre of all "I'm always going to be alone." But this time something was different. I wasn't desperate and I wasn't giving up. Somehow for the first time, that night in the dusty meditation hall I realized that although I may be dancing on the dark side of love's moon I was still in fully in the throes of love. Feeling love in all it's exquisite agonizing beauty. Perhaps I was in her shadow whilst others in the blossoming of new romance, cradled in each other's arms, were able to sit in the shimmering blue haze of her shine. But it was all the same. It is all the same. Whether in the throes of a romantic love, holding a baby, mourning a heart break, or just sitting with ourselves and our loneliness - each and every one of us walks the long walk home to love one way or another. Love isn't a marital status or a calling card, its not defined by whether we are single, separate, widowed, gay, straight, old, young in silence or in agony. It is us. A few months later I was delighted to see one of my very favorite heroine's Marianne Williamson also talks about the dark side of the moon in her book "Enchanted Love."
"We are always in love, because love is always in us. " Marianne Williamson
We are love, every single atom of our body, from our heart leaping at the sight of a new beau to the tears as another breakup lets us crack a little deeper. The fibre that binds us, brings us together, cradles us and sometimes destroys us. This is the path of the heart I said to the audience. We are the lovers of love. And to walk this path consciously is the deepest of privileges, I can think of nothing more beautiful to dedicate my life to.
And so to paraphrase Hafiz - The subject for this site is Love. For tomorrow night as well. As a matter of fact I know of no better topic to discuss until the end of time.