When Giving Is Not Based On Receiving: The Sacred Practice Of Opening The Heart

By Julie of Light Omega

There is, within each of us, a heart that is much larger than ordinary human affairs would normally reveal, a heart that can embrace the world because it overflows with love.

This heart has not been touched by the pains and disturbances of childhood, nor the traumas or losses that may have come about since then. This heart does not need to be fed by public approval or by the temporary currents of popularity or fame. It does not need these things, because the source of its love does not come from outside but from inside. Without contact with that source, one can go through life feeling that one can only handle a limited number of relationships and that even within these relationships, everything can be very complicated. With contact, everything becomes simple. There is only love, and it is the reason that we are alive.

The practice of opening the heart can be equally simple though difficult to accomplish when the ego is in the way. It can be done through a prayerful intention to not make our giving dependent upon our receiving, and to not let a sense of deprivation, lack, or feelings of rejection be what determines our actions with others. We must choose love – in each moment and with each breath, no matter how the smaller part of ourselves may feel. We can choose it because it is what we want to be in our deepest self, because it is what God wants us to be, and because to love is to feel most completely alive.

To begin with, create a daily prayer of your own fashioning that can be said each morning upon arising - something simple such as: "Today, may I become love. May I seek and find love within myself no matter what may be going on outside." This prayer, repeated with regularity and with a sense of acceptance at the end of the day for whatever the day has brought, will bring to the heart new energy which will allow it to grow and to expand.

Besides this prayer, it is useful to learn how to notice what is going on in the heart center, and to bring energy to that part of our body. The heart center in the center of the chest is part of each human being's energy body and is a vortex of energy that flows through the heart, moving through the entire body. We can learn to bring more energy to the heart center by doing a simple kind of breathing meditation which involves placing our hands, palms down, one on top of the other, over the heart center. This brings warmth and a sense of focus to the heart. Then, we can breathe into this heart center, feeling the breath rising and falling in the center of the chest. Some people feel a sensation in the heart while doing this. Others just feel a pleasant warmth that comes from holding the clasped hands over the heart. Practicing this for a few moments will help direct energy and attention to the heart, bringing with it greater consciousness.

In addition, we need to have a way of releasing from our consciousness all that is not love in thought or feeling. This participation in our own purification process is essential as we invite Divine love to enter the realm of the ordinary and to lift us out of our own state of limitation into an expanded capacity to love others. Purification requires that we take responsibility for our thoughts and feelings on an individual basis, and let go of those that do not meet the requirements of love.

The daily prayer of: "Today, may I become love," combined with a meditative silence in which energy is brought to the heart center, combined with releasing negative thoughts and feelings that detract from love, will do a great deal toward opening the heart so that God's love can flow more easily through it for the purpose of blessing life.

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