The heart as the seat of emotion — what could be more telling? The heart as the seat of love — what could be more fabled? Songs, love stories, poetry all have sung its richness… and carnage. Depending on one’s point of view, one’s experience in dealing both with its nuance and its blatant power, its influence can bring one to the epitome of happiness, or conversely, into the trough of despair — and everywhere in between.

But isn’t it true that one’s sense of compassion for other creatures, and certainly one’s feelings of longing for another human being, seem to emanate from this part of our body — that the “heart-warming” experiences attached to moments of giving or affection are just that?

Yogis open their chests while practicing yoga asanas. They do it for the express purpose of opening the heart. Why? “Leading” with the heart establishes compassion within the practitioner, removing barriers that separate us from others. It is letting go on a monumental scale in the form of a simple gesture. It reminds us of the love we carry, which we must share to make us whole and the world the place it has the potential to be.

The open heart is not just reserved for others. It can and must be activated for the most important person in our life — our self. Without it, we cannot possess real love for any other creature.

It is this essential that has been sadly ignored by many of our Western religions with its emphasis on personal perfection. God is good and we are good. Without that knowledge and belief, we are indeed but “a noisy gong or clanging symbol.”

Be relentless especially in cultivating self-love with your open heart.

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Clark Eide
Clark Eide is a former financial services entrepreneur and professional singer. He is an American-born monastery devotee and writer who lives in Uruguay and France. His travels around the world are driven by a conviction toward spiritual and cultural learning. He has been a long-time student of Transcendental Meditation, and he continues to be a student of alternative therapies such as Healing Touch, massage, hypnotherapy and EFT, and has studied with yoga masters in several countries. For more information about the author, please visit www.clarkeide.com and follow him on Twitter @clark_eide.

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