Listening to the Heart

    Have you ever wondered about a difference between longing and wanting? We can think of longing as coming from the heart and expressing our healthy desire for our intrinsic wholeness. Longing opens the space for us to feel connected with other people and our natural world. It is the kind of desire that brings light and love, instead of confusion and fear. Our wanting, however, pushes us to control people and situations we can’t control. Some people spend their life trying to fill their never-ending hunger for material things. Wanting comes from the part of us that keeps us dissatisfied, feeling incomplete and falsely believing in our separateness from other people and the natural world. Our heart’s longing is a deeply personal invitation to find out what’s true and loving. Trying to control what we can’t control, or being attached to material possessions, we are confused. Responding to the heart’s invitation to explore our confusion, we eventually transform our lives. As we softly tune into our heart, we can learn to discern what’s true and what’s not. The heart knows the difference. And by listening with awareness to what the heart has to tell us, we are present with All That Is.

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    Try this the next time you are aware that you feel stressed and want to quiet down the inner chaos quickly. Walking, driving, standing still or sitting, quietly say while breathing in, "I am breathing in, and I am at peace." Say while breathing out, "I am breathing out, and I am at peace." Focus attention on what happens. If you become distracted, simply return your focus to your words and notice what's happening within. Repeat until you notice a shift, and are ready to stop. The cells of the body receive thought as instruction, and they are willing followers to whatever we think. Saying we are at peace allows the body to shift from feeling rushed around, to slowing down, so we can feel quieter inside. With the goal of maintaining balance in all things, use this practice with care, and let awareness be your guide. Sometimes this practice is helpful, and other times, it can be used to distract us from exploring mistaken beliefs that keep us rushing around. Remembering awareness is a gift to yourself and others.



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