are many asanas (poses) in yoga that are designed to help one open their
heart. For example, any sort of back
bend will put you in a position where your chest is raised towards the sky. Even a slight back bend opens the heart as in
Fish pose. In the book Eat Pray Love,
Liz Gilbert tells a story about a man she meets in the ashram in India who
shares he’s been seeking an open heart.
She asks him what motivated him to come to the ashram and he tells her
he kept asking God to “open his heart.” One day he had a heart attack
and his heart was literally opened. One
need not have surgery to create a more open heart. There are many more gentle ways to accomplish
this worthwhile trait.
years ago when my children were younger I found myself struggling with one
particular incident. I felt very hurt by
this episode and was sharing it with a good friend. It really wasn’t such a big deal looking back
on it but at the time I was upset and I felt I was justified in my complaining. So, there I was moaning about the
situation. She listened and then gave me
some of the best advice I have ever had in my whole life. She said, “Remember, Jean, your only job
is to love.”
a journaler who has written three pages every morning for the last 20 years, I
have many many journals boxed up. Every
time I begin a new journal I transfer a few things to the front paper pockets
and the beginning pages. I transfer my
intentions for the year, my daily prayers, my list of people I am presently
praying for and my positive affirmations.
I also write on the inside of the front cover, “Remember, Jean,
your only job is to love.”
believe that with all my heart. It’s the
main message Jesus Christ came to give us.
When he was asked; Mt 22:36 “[Jesus], which is the great commandment in
the law?” He said to them, ‘’You shall love the Lord your God with all your
heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and
first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as
yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”
do some people seem to have a greater capacity to love than others? Do you think it’s because of their DNA or is
it because of their upbringing? Is it
“nature” or “nurture”?
It’s probably like most of our traits, it’s a combination of both. But, can we learn to love more, love greater? Can we be people who can love no matter
what? You’ve heard the stories about
people who forgive their worst enemies.
Can you learn to love an enemy?
Can one learn to separate the sinner from the sin?
been very lucky in my life. I married a
man who has a huge heart. I believe he
was genetically predisposed to being a loving, kind man and then, he had the
additional advantage of having amazing parents who showed him by example
exactly what unconditional love is, especially his mother. I have never heard
my mother-in-law say anything, ever, that was derogatory about another human
being, and especially about someone in her family. My husband teases that if we had a bank
robber in the family his mom would say, “He’s the best bank robbed
my travels through Ecuador, I was kissed in three weeks more times than I have
been kissed in three years. Almost
everyone I met gave me a kiss on the cheek and a warm hug. One day we went to the soccer practice of my
consuegra’s (my daughter-in-law’s mother) granddaughter. Six of us sat in the bleachers watching her
practice, her three grandparents, her aunt, my son and myself. When the girls were finished practicing the
entire team came up to the stands to greet us.
I watched these teenage girls start down the row kissing and greeting
all the grandparents, then they kissed the aunt. I thought they’d stop at that point and was
amazed when they continued on to kiss my son and then me, two people they
“didn’t know from Adam.”
know it was a cultural response to greet us all in that manner but at thispoint
in my travels I’d been greeted like this for several weeks. Greeted and welcomed into people’s homes,
lives and in some cases into their hopes and dreams. As far as I could see these people in this
culture responded with more affection and respect than I normally experienced. I had the honor of being hosted by my consuegra
and I can share with you that the hugs and warm daily greetings and goodnights
were freely shared with anyone who happens to be in her home.
I first received the directive to love no matter what, I remember thinking,
“I can do that.” But, I must admit it is easier said than done. There are many in my life that I find very
easy to love and there are some I struggle to love. Some days I feel like my heart is closed and
hard. When I am aware of that state, I
engage my breath to help me open up. I
take several deep breaths and visualize my heart expanding in my chest, like a
red balloon. I’ve also done many other
“open heart” mediations. These
mediations usually involve inviting loving thoughts and feelings into one’s
heart. First, you invite those who you
find easy to love, then you invite someone you may be struggling with and
finally, you invite yourself. You take
the time to allow each person to rest within the warmth of your bosom and then
you release them and yourself out into the universe, full of light and warmth
and wonderful energy, a release that blesses you, them and the world.
believe we can learn to love more fully, more deeply, unconditionally. But, I think there’s a secret. I don’t think we need to be born into a
family of warm blooded Latinos or Italians.
It’s nice if we’re born into a loving, affectionate family. It probably makes it easier but the secret is
to learn to accept love, to believe you are worthy of love, to believe that you
are truly loved, loved for who you are because you are and not for any other
reason. We need to believe we are loved,
loved first and foremost by God. We need
to know without a doubt that we are amazing wonderful beings who deserve to be
loved. Once we can fully embrace that
concept, we can open our heart to receive and then to give that which we have
received. If we don’t accept it, we
can’t, it is impossible, to give it out.
It’s like filling up the car with gas.
If you don’t open the gas cap and let the gas flow in, you won’t be able
to go anywhere. You’ll be stuck in one
place, empty and dried out.
if you approached everyone in life with the thought, “Remember, (your
name), your only job is to love.”? What kind of an effect would that have
on your relationships, on you, on your life?
What kind of an effect would that have on our world?