Keeping Heart Thought Alive 

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How are you managing to keep your heart afloat? Is the way most often i begin classes and lectures these days. Trying to keep heart in good mood, excited and engaged and enthusiastic about life is hard for all of us. Especially in difficult times. As a bumper sticker I used to see put it “if you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.” Of course we get frazzled by all the worries in the world, not to mention our own challenges. Even on a so called ordinary day, a day without you being sick or losing your job or struggling in your relationships, small annoyance like a late bus, an overdue bill or missing keys start the mind grumbling. What we need is a way to control the worrying thoughts that constantly travel our minds before they spin out of control and make us crazy.

Metta Sutta – Loving Kindness. Not to have any ill will in our hearts. Loving kindness teaches that, at the end of the day, everybody is a person just like you. It means we adopt the entire world as family. Everybody has a secret cache of private wounds. Nobody has life all sewed up and our difficulties don’t mean we’re doing life wrong. 

Anger is like an explosion in the mind. We have to wait until the clouds of dust settle before we can see what the next move should be. It’s a natural protective reflex to get agitated at a moment of injury, but we don’t have to stay angry. While it’s important to take a stand and correct situation that are hurtful or unjust, it’s also important to say, How can I move on? When we stay in that agitated mode, when we continuously revisit and enshrine that moment of pain, we can’t go forward. Anger, blame and resentment make us feel sick at heart. We have a choice of remaining in a belligerent state or moving into a state of benevolence.

As long as we’re alive we have the opportunity to feel grateful 

“Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring and because it has fresh peaches in it” Alice Walker. 

To help the mind connect with gratitude, notice and interrupt the mind’s tendency to grumble. When we do this, we usually discover that we have the strength to accept those things we can’t change and we have the energy to fix those things we can change. Human beings are resilient, that’s a reason to be grateful.

“When we’re hurting, we need to relax enough to see something hopeful. Go for a walk. Listen to music. Turn off the phone. Breathe.”

Not bound by the past. Our past conditioning colors our view of current situation. It can be difficult to separate that emotional template from the current experience. It just feels real. We can’t get rid of our templates but we can pay attention, recognize them and say “These are the glasses through which I see the world.”

Sylvia Boorstein – Pay Attention for Goodness’ Sake. Essence 2004