Let's Talk About Your Heart
So many people--men--are disconnected from their hearts. Now, I'm not giving women a free pass on this, but since I was directing more of the last blog at the ladies, now it's the guys' turn. So much of the spiritual path before men is about re-claiming their hearts. Guys don't know what they're feeling. They know anger and excitement, but by the time you get near love, sadness, and fear, they're looking for another bottle of beer to run and hide in. It's one of the many reasons alcoholism is a big problem in society. Another is years of built of bad social patterning around community, but that's for another blog post.
But in matters of the heart, in every way that we avoid our feelings and try to put forward a face that denies how we feel, we lose ourselves. We divert more of our energy towards holding down emotions to support this big tough exterior, and we lose that energy from more important things in our lives. Consider this, if you have to put one hand on top of a lid to keep a pot from overflowing, you can't do as much in your kitchen, shop, or wherever. Your whole range of motion is limited. Sure, you can say, "Look what all I can do with this other hand." But there are limits to how far you can stretch that arm while the other is occupied holding down the lid. In so many ways, avoiding our emotions is one of the most limiting things we can do for ourselves because we also avoid so many other situations which could trigger those emotions. And we ultimately are never really there for anyone else much less for ourselves if we can't understand our own hearts.
What Lies Beneath
I think this subhead was also a movie once--a scary movie, not that I ever watched it. Nonetheless, all the emotions that lie beneath this fake mask of control and confidence that you show are probably scaring the Hell out of you. You can't control them. That's the thing about a lot of emotions--they're outside the logic and rationale of the mind. The mind can't control them, but the heart knows how to be with them. In many ways, by not knowing what's lurking beneath the surface, we are already out of control and being controlled. Think about the undealt issues with an ex. You stop going to different places because you might run into her or him. You're being controlled by those issues, and it's limiting your life in what you do and where you go. It's time to take a peak at what's underneath the facade.
It's a Lot of Heart Work
I'm not going to sugar-coat this; dealing with emotions is a lot of heart work. You're going to find a lot of stuff about yourself that you'd forgotten or that you don't really like. You're going to feel weak, insecure, and terribly upset at times as you clean out the garbage. Dude, your tank is overflowing with sewage. It's not a pretty sight, but it won't stop bubbling up until you ship it out. That's just part of the work.
And it may not be a fast process. Some of the nasty old issues from our families have rotted down below for years, and because you've avoided them saying, "I'm fine. My old man was a total fucker to me, but I'm fine," there's a lot of stuff built up around it. Getting to the core issue may take time (it may not too--it just depends on if you're really ready to let go). But the emotional freedom that you get when you clear out these old issues is amazing. You'll be astonished at what it opens up in your life. Consider that if you've never really followed your heart before, once you know what is in your heart, it could vastly change your career. Suddenly, you know exactly what you want to do. So you quit your soul-sucking job and find a new career doing something you truly love to do like cooking, teaching, farming, or whatever it is you want to do. Now isn't that worth a few tears of heart work?
Always Being Positive and Always Being Untrue to Yourself
I'm going to step away from the heart and emotions back to this mask of always being positive. This is a really nasty thing that's going around in spiritual circles. It's like the flu, and it can make people really angry and sick. The reason is because it negates being scared, angry, sad, and other emotions. It makes them bad, and it embraces a very juvenile view of the spiritual path. That view says that you should always be happy. I have no idea how that is remotely possible, and I can only assume that people have gotten that idea from a very limited lens of a few spiritual teachers, who possibly weren't really doing their jobs right.
On the spiritual path, ALL emotions are equally valuable. When we don't acknowledge all of them, that's when we start to get in trouble. Repressing your anger and not reacting from anger are two different things, however. So if you learn to face your anger, it's much easier to release it peacefully and not just punch someone in the face the minute you feel a little anger. Ignoring it entirely is much more likely to create a future reaction as it boils to the surface. In this way, you are being untrue to yourself by trying to always be positive. Sometimes, you're just pissed. That's okay. That's what you're feeling. It's just important that you don't make major decisions or take reactive actions from that place. Take a deep breath and find out what that anger is telling you. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you angry because you didn't say something you needed to say?
- Are you angry because your ego feels hurt?
- Are you angry because you aren't taking action?
- Are you angry for allowing yourself to become a victim?
Your True Face Begins to Emerge
I think if some of you have read both posts, you may realize how much work you have to do to be you. Isn't that sad? Isn't it sad how much time we've spent covering ourselves in the mud of life and then trying to smear a happy face in that mud to show everyone that we're fine? The good news is that if you've realized that you're doing this, you can change. You can always change. There's never a time in life when you can't change. You may need help. It may be a difficult process, but you can always change.
And very likely, how your "true face" looks will change. We're not static beings. We're very dynamic. Every day, we're changing, which is why it can be so painful to always be trying to force the same "positive" looking face onto ourselves every day. It's like trying to wear the same clothes that we wore as babies. It would be absurd to do it. So why do we force ourselves into these out-dated molds? It's time to grow up, regardless of the answer to the question. It's time to move out of our spiritual infancy and learn to walk on our true path and show our true faces.