The Heart Is Breaking Us Open
by Selk Hastings
photography by Jayantara
Our hearts are precious. Recently I’ve been thinking (and experiencing) about how the heart transforms everything that arises. I can look at moments of suffering in my life as though they were negative, isolated experiences that weren’t ‘right’. Or I can see more deeply, that pain and suffering is part of the alchemising and transformational work of love, bringing us into sweeter, softer lands and a deeper awareness of our true nature.
In some Native American tribes they have a saying that when there are tears ‘The rains have come.’ The rains of suffering are not some isolated experience, but a movement of a softening nature. Sometimes and often there will be tears and wailing as love breaks us open and burns through the hard places. There will often be sobbing as the old hardenings are softened within the embrace of love. And nothing can escape love because it is there all the time, everywhere. It is who we are. And it completely has us, living us, whether we are conscious of it or not.
Love can’t be described in words or articulated with the mind. It can perhaps be glimpsed by the warm sunshine on winter’s leaves. Or the sweet tears of one who is hearing the call of love and senses a deep change is needed for her to feel it, to become more aware of her true nature.
The rain of suffering is Love doing its work. We can only know this by experiencing it. This process can really help to see this. Firstly, it may help to close your eyes and acknowledge whatever emotion is arising with a few small words such as ‘I see you.’. Then slow right down and simply feel the sensations of your experience in your body, without judgement as much as possible. Just simply noticing if there is a sense of pressure or contraction in certain areas, or how your breathing is tight or relaxed. Then to simply notice that all your emotions, thoughts and sensations are being noticed/witnessed by some larger part of you. If you can rest your focus on this witnessing part of you, you will start to notice the emotions that were bothering you arising and transforming. They were just wanting you to see and feel them, instead of pushing them away or suppressing them, as is the habit of most people. Once seen and felt, they will naturally begin to transform, feeling safe within your loving presence with them. This is the power of love.
This process outlines what the great sages of all time have been imparting to us. It is such a simple process and yet it can be tricky and requires much practice as most of us have been programmed to completely identify with whatever emotions, thoughts and stories are arising. I am lucky I’ve also had many friends and teachers in my life to show me and guide me in this process, something I can’t recommend enough.
Yet the practice of this process will slowly yield the gold. And love will continue to do it’s beautifully fierce work on you whether or not you practice anything.
Love has you.
Let it live you.
It will anyway.