The heart chakra is the central chakra, right smack in the middle of the phenomenal kundalini process. It is the pivot of the human soul, the spiritual hinge of the human mind. In Buddhist circles it is known as heartmind, as it connects the higher and lower aspects of the human condition.
It’s where Shiva (the divine masculine) and Shakti (the divine feminine) are eternally dancing, yin-yang-happy with their moving in and out of being and not-being, mind and no-mind, attachment and detachment, life and death, finitude and infinity. There are infinite lessons hidden within such dancing, most of which are difficult to tap into. For the sake of uncanny exploration, let’s dive into five unconventional ways to trigger the heart chakra.
1) Let your heart break over and over again
“If you’re really listening, if you’re truly awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders.” ~ Andrew Harvey
We too often hear people say, “I don’t want to get hurt.” We hear it, and we usually nod sympathetically. But wait a minute. Who ever said getting hurt wasn’t a part of love, or even a part of life? Comfort can lead to believing that being human is easy.
Pain either leads to a wakeup call or it simply hurts, but it can never lead to believing that being human is easy; which is a good thing, because being human is anything but easy. Guarding against getting hurt is the opposite of daring to be vulnerable.
Don’t let your heart become a tank. Shatter the pseudo metal and reveal to the universe the naked vulnerability of your heart. When you are able to learn from the pain of heartbreak you become more spiritually robust. A heart that is broken open, and stays broken open, is a soul alert to its calling.
So let your heart break. Let it shatter into a million pieces that you can piece back together again into an instrument worthy of love and human flourishing. Don’t fear pain, use pain as a wakeup call. Use it as a tool to leverage your higher self. Everything changes; it’s the most apparent absolute. Your heart is your finest instrument. It too must change.
It stays tuned by breaking open over and over again to the magnanimous beauty of the world. It remains harmonious to the vicissitudes of life by loving, letting people love the way they need to love, and then letting love go. If you can do this over and over again, your heart will remain open to the awesome magnitudes of life and your higher chakra will be prepared for a journey of the most high.
2) Heartstorm with a child
We’ve all heard of brainstorming: A method of problem solving in which members of a group contribute ideas spontaneously. But you probably haven’t heard of heartstorming: a method of soul-questioning in which members of a group contribute creative questions spontaneously.
Heartstorming is living alchemically. It’s the ability to adapt and overcome creatively in any given social situation.
It takes the art of questioning to the nth degree to a whole new level. It flattens the box of convention and makes us less easily pigeonholed. Like Nicolas Manetta said, “Those who do not think outside the box are easily contained.” And when we can do this with a child, we automatically double (if not more) our creative potential to question the universe, and especially ourselves.
If as Oscar Wilde said “the soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life. And the body is born young and grows old. That is life’s tragedy,” then it behooves our souls to engage in a heart-to-heart with children. The mind of a child is flexible.
Most of us adults have become too rigid in our thinking. Engaging in a heartstorming session with a child is an extremely humbling and entertaining process. It helps us to see things in a new light while it opens our minds to new ideas and keeps our hearts open to wonder. It’s the reason why Goethe advised us: “one must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.”
3) Transform the mundane into mythos
There are no ordinary experiences. Everything is amazing if we allow it to be. Fascination can be found in anything from a tiny grain of sand to a fiery sunset.
It’s just a matter of disposition, and nobody else has control over your disposition. You might at times relinquish control, and give people the power to cause a particular disposition, but you always have the power to take it back.
One way to do this is to transform the seemingly mundane into a significant myth, to baptize the ordinary into the extraordinary, through a personal coup de maître (a sudden masterstroke of genius). Indeed, counting coup on the heart frees the heart to count coup on the universe.
If we are able to pull off this masterstroke, we will experience a mysterious transaction between the infinity of the soul and the infinity of the universe.
This transaction will fill our hearts to bursting with rich, spiritual prana; a loving energy that is so overwhelming that we have no choice but to see the world through rose-colored glasses and to drink to the dregs from the glass-is-half-full beer stein.
And suddenly everything tastes better, sounds clearer, feels smoother, and reveals itself to be connected and infinitely interdependent with all things. It causes us to discover the hidden secrets behind things. It gives us the courage to leap out of our comfort zone.
It causes us to shout with ecstatic joy, “I found the door to human flourishing! Here it is, but only you can walk through it.” Like Helen Keller said, “No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” Transforming the mundane into a mighty mythos is the epitome of optimism.
4) Practice the Zen of Fearlessness
Change can be a scary thing. And the fact that we are living in an ever-changing, ever-morphing universe is astronomically scary.
Compound this with the fear-mongering tactics of fearful groups of people vainly trying to keep things the same so that they can feel safe and secure in their comfort zones, and you have a system that is exorbitantly scary from all psychosocial angles. And that’s all perfectly okay. That’s just fine and dandy.
You know why? Because it’s all mere fodder, it’s all ridiculously useful fuel, for those of us who dare to practice the Zen of Fearlessness.
Like Judith Leif profoundly elucidated, “The essential cause of our suffering and anxiety is ignorance of the nature of reality, and craving and clinging to something illusory. That is referred to as ego, and the gasoline in the vehicle of ego is fear. Ego thrives on fear, so unless we figure out the problem of fear, we will never understand or embody any sense of egolessness or selflessness.”
The Zen of Fearlessness is the radical acceptance that the universe is a scary place and the even more radical acceptance that: so what!
Courage feeds off precisely this type of fear, and I will always choose Courage over Worry. Fearlessness is about transforming fear from an unskillful worry into a skillful courage.
It’s an authentic freedom from the delusion that we are unchanging beings in a static universe and the radical acceptance that we are changing beings within a dynamic, interconnected and interdependent cosmos.
Fearlessness is not the rejection of fear, it is intimacy with fear. As Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said, “regard fear as the kindling to build a big fire of fearlessness.” In this fire we free ourselves to become the Phoenix we always knew we could be.
5) Develop your own metamorality
“We need a kind of thinking that enables groups with conflicting moralities to live together and prosper. In other words, we need a metamorality. We need a moral system that resolves disagreements among groups with different moral ideals, just as ordinary first-order morality resolves disagreements among individuals with different selfish interests.” – Joshua Greene
Here’s the thing: Morality is more than it evolved to be (Joshua Greene). To borrow Wittgenstein’s famous metaphor: “morality can climb the ladder of evolution and then kick it away.” So it stands to reason that we too can “kick it away” if we so choose.
Governing this precept, it behooves us to rise above historic notions of morality (especially outdated and parochial notions) and create our own contribution to the continuing leitmotif of the evolution of morality.
Sounds tricky, but not really –we have only to take the cosmos, as an interdependent whole, into deeper consideration to discover new ways of being a moral human in an indifferent but profoundly interconnected universe. Like Swami Vivekananda said, “Undifferentiated consciousness, when differentiated, becomes the world.”
This is powerful for a multitude of reasons, but the main reason is the empowerment of the individual heart. It liberates the heart from outdated notions of right & wrong.
It frees the human soul to rise above the bifurcation of immorality-morality and to fly with the open-ended courage of amorality into a new interdependent metamoral dawn.
In a world drowning in ego, we need more individuated egos with a healthy understanding of how things are connected. We need more people who are encouraged by, instead of fearful of, the way the cosmos is put together.
Like Immanuel Kant said, “Two things inspire me to awe –the starry heavens above and the moral universe within.” The point where these two powerful inspirations join could be the future of a metamorality that has a potential to transform our world into a healthier version of itself.