Do you feel at peace with your parents?
Are you friends with your children?
Do you experience love and ease in your friendships?
Do you have mutually supportive and respectful relationships at work?
Are you at peace with all your relationships and friendships from the past?
Do you love and respect yourself and look after yourself really well?
Do you have a connected, satisfying and rewarding relationship with the Light/Divine (or any other name for God/Energy/Spirit/the Creator)?
Do you love your life?
If the answer is yes to all of those questions your heart is wide open and you are probably experiencing a lot of peace and happiness in your life. You are a shining example for people all around you and you are bringing great joy to others as well as to yourself.
If the answer to any of these questions is no you know what it feels like to have closed your heart, maybe because you felt hurt or misunderstood or ignored. Even if you work hard to be positive and loving towards others I am sure you can still feel some sadness or loss around the relationships that are not at peace.
When your heart is open you feel at ease within yourself and you can experience the best of what human life has to offer. Trust is your natural state of being, life feels benign and you are relaxed and peaceful. Fear, doubt and worry have no place in your world.
It doesn’t take much for our hearts to close down – an insult, a hurtful comment, a misunderstanding, an event that triggers something painful from the past. And the interesting thing is that we tend to stay with our hearts more or less closed after that. It seems quite rare to recover naturally. This is the way resentments get built up over the years and turn into bitterness and regret. This is the way disappointment can lead to depression and even hopelessness – “It’s never going to change” or “He’s always been the same so I can’t expect anything else now.”
The more I explore healing the more I realise that this is also the root of most sickness. If you really love yourself, your life and the people in your life it would be remarkably difficult to get sick because you would not experience the negative emotions that cause sickness. You would also be highly motivated to look after yourself and treat yourself well – and the people I know who do love themselves and their lives do take care of themselves very well.
However, if you have experienced trauma, pain or a lot of misunderstanding in your life it is not surprising that you find it hard to love yourself or other people and you can be forgiven for wondering how to really love life when it doesn’t feel as if it is being very loving towards you. And so we reach the catch 22 – how can you love life when life doesn’t appear to love you? How can you love yourself when there doesn’t seem to be much to love? How can you love others when they are unreliable, hurt you or treat you badly?
Of course, like many, you can keep on standing up again and again, hurt but refusing to be broken. You become tougher and harden yourself off against the pain and constant disappointment. You can escape into spirituality and try to meditate the pain away. Or you can be relentlessly positive, but underneath the surface you may find you are still boiling inside.
I don’t want to be too negative, but honestly, what I am describing appears to me to be the norm. It is rare to meet people with truly open hearts and they have usually done many years of work on themselves to overcome the tendency to close down whenever a relationship begins to hurt.
What’s most exciting right now is that more and more people appear to be becoming conscious of this and want to open their hearts. They are becoming aware that turning away from relationships doesn’t solve any of the problems, and that they need to face up to their own responsibility in any relationship that is not working.
In my e-Course called Open Your Heart I have been truly impressed at the courage of the participants in facing up to relationships that have been hurting them sometimes for 20 or more years and that have been surrounded in confusion, deception and struggle. The release and relief that arise when you understand why this was happening to you and you truly open your heart, sometimes where it looked like there was no hope of reconciliation, is uplifting and inspiring, not only for yourself but for others who have the chance to witness the change.
There is a process for opening your heart, which you can follow step by step, and it actually works. It transforms relationships without you even needing to talk to the other person, although you will probably find you want to talk to them much more than you have for a while once you have completed it.
You can follow the process over and over again, with all the relationships in your life that are troubling you, and you will start to experience a level of peace that you may never have known before. And the more peace you experience within yourself the more you will find that people are behaving peacefully towards you – even people who may have been very angry or aggressive before.
I do not want to explain the process here, because it is not something you can do in theory and to fill your head up with ideas about what you should be doing is most likely to make things even worse. It is best learned through practice with someone to guide you, just like skiing or painting or dancing. Once you master it yourself you will be able to pass it on to others, especially children – perhaps we could prevent some of this suffering in the next generation.
The rewards of being open-hearted flow into every area of your life. As your contentment and ease grow your health will naturally improve. You will no longer be pumping negative chemicals through your body with thoughts of bitterness, anger, resentment, despair or disappointment. The emotional balance that arises will help you work more effectively and efficiently (less wasted time and less mistakes) and if you have your own business you can expect increased income and success as a result. And when your heart is open you feel connected to life so it is much easier to find a path (whether through career or something else) that provides you with a source of deep inspiration and satisfaction throughout your life.
These are rich rewards for a process that is intrinsically simple. Anyone can do it, as long as you are willing to be honest with yourself. At times you may want to run away and not face your own part in the situation, but if you stick to it the discomfort will dissolve remarkably quickly and then transform. You will feel lighter and you will see people differently. You won’t want to blame others for your pain any more and this will give you great freedom as you take back your power and take full responsibility for your own life.