Here are some notes I made regarding the role of the heart in nondual spiritual teachings:
One of the problems with talking about the heart is that we need to define what we mean by heart. It is so often thought to be feelings, or emotions. But “follow your heart” doesn’t mean follow your feelings, such as your anger, jealousy, hatred, guilt, or sadness. As everyone intuitively knows, following your heart means following the feelings that come from your deepest Self: feelings of joy, love, peace. And yet, we talk about a broken heart. However, the broken heart is not the spiritual heart but refers to the human heart and human feelings, for the spiritual heart is not affected by the events in life.
Opening the heart is opening the spiritual heart. When the spiritual heart opens, you feel joyful, relaxed, at peace, loving, content, at one with life. This happens to everyone, sometimes many times a day or, for some, only occasionally. After awakening, when that awakening includes the heart, then the heart is open much of the time. Instead of being an occasional experience, it is more of one’s ongoing experience. In short, when you awaken, your heart opens; and when your heart opens, you awaken (at least momentarily). Awakeness and the heart are the same thing. Devotional practices are a means of opening the heart before awakening and getting to know what that experience is like. After awakening, devotional practices are a natural celebration of an already open heart.
We are not alone. If there is only Oneness and we are an expression of it (and there is and we are), then everything we see is us. All of the different life forms were created to assist each other in their evolution. We need them and they need us. This is obvious enough in observing physical reality, where life forms are so intricately connected, but it’s no less true in nonphysical realities. When we graduate from the physical reality we exist in now, we will exist in a nonphysical reality, and our purpose will be to serve both physical and nonphysical realities with whatever skills we’ve acquired thus far.
Until recent history, humanity lived comfortably with the notion of spirit helpers, spirit guides, and angels. Humanity depicted them in art, passed on stories about them, prayed to them, spoke to them, and gave them a voice. There have always been those who were able to see, hear, and feel nonphysical beings. For these people, nonphysical beings are as real as anything physical. To those who can see nonphysical beings, many appear to have bodies made of light instead of flesh, so they are sometimes called beings of light. They will be referred to here as beings of light or simply as beings.
The existence of nonphysical beings defies rationality because they can’t be experienced with the usual five senses. Since science doesn’t recognize the existence of a sixth sense, it concludes that nonphysical beings don’t exist. This is understandable. If something isn’t in your experience, it’s logical, although inaccurate in this case, to conclude that it doesn’t exist. So it’s up to those who do experience nonphysical beings to describe them and their experiences with them to others.
What do you like most about being alive now on planet earth? The song from “The Sound of Music” about favorite things (“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… these are a few of my favorite things”) is an expression from Essence. When we are in Essence, we love the little things, like whiskers on kittens—what a miracle! There’s so much joy when we are really present to life and the miracle that it is. We get joy from the littlest things.
This is so unlike the ego, which disparages such things. “Oh that—I’ve seen that before!” is its attitude. The ego wants life to be about it, not about life itself. The ego loves whatever makes it feel good about itself, not what makes it feel good. This egocentricity is one of the most obvious differences between the state of ego identification and our natural state, or Essence. The ego refers whatever is happening back to itself: What will it mean to me? But when we are in Essence, we experience Essence’s joy at experiencing itself through all of creation.
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