Each time we intuit our native home to be among the unmeasured stars, or sense within us a vitality and capacity to give from resources without end, we have felt the beating of a Real Heart that dwells within us. And strangely enough, it is this vast potential that we feel beating in us that often makes our present state of Self seem so unsatisfactory, a captive of our own unrealized possibilities. In fact, our hearts are broken -- meaning they don't work right -- because they have been compromised.
To begin with, our heart is not created to be a self-filling instrument. In some ways we already understand what this means. Don't we all have parts of us that are always telling us what we need to do -- or what we have to get -- in order to feel good about ourselves?" The day we win what we want, when we get the new relationship, the better job, or plan the trip of our dreams, we feel great, happy as a clam. But the next day or a little farther down the road something unforeseen comes and well, you know the drill, the next thing we know what we thought was the source of our contentment becomes the cause of our suffering! Our heart breaks as it does not so much because of what we want but because there are certain unconscious parts of our present nature that would have us believe that these things we want -- or that we come to possess -- have, in themselves, some power to fulfill us or to make us feel content. It is this unquestioned belief that lies at the root of our heartache because we find ourselves continually forming attachments to people and possessions.
The truth is... we can't keep anything in this life. Our own lives don't even belong to us. It isn't a question of if things will change but a constant when. No part of life is static. All things are in a constant flux and only seem to hold still because there are parts of us that need to see them that way in order to feel secure. And so it goes. One's heart almost always feels as though one thing or another is trying to pull it apart. It finds itself living between two opposing forces. On one side there is that too-familiar sense of our self that feels as though we must hold onto what we have that makes us feel whole or otherwise face some terrible ordeal. And pulling away on the other side is the movement of reality itself: that undeniable river of life that comes along and washes away our happiness as it runs through its own inevitable changes beyond our ability to control.
The more we believe, as we are inclined to do, that there exists something outside of us with the power to make us happy and whole, the more attached we become to these imposter ideas and those deceptive desires that weave into our hearts. These sensation-packed, but illusionary desires are the roots of this world that sneak into us. And the more we identify with these pleasing sensations, which are essentially on loan to us from the images in which they are stored, the more a painful dependency is born in us. Now it feels to us that without this person or object of our desire we will have to spend our lives without what we only have imagined has made us feel whole.
Given this seemingly natural but false conclusion, what else can one do but live in fear of anything that threatens to change these conditions?
It's inevitable: fear strangles love; it kills compassion. Such fear suffocates the heart by telling it that it will lose its joy should it lose the object it derives its joy through.
This message really only causes the heart to cling all the more tightly to its desire. And so willingly, yet unknowingly, the heart closes itself off from life -- effectively blind to the fact of how this set of restrictions accomplishes exactly the opposite of what it really wants: freedom to love. And it goes that with each unconscious cycle like this, one's heart becomes that much more entangled in the very system of roots that are wrecking it. The more it is compromised like this, the more it gradually loses its simplicity; the native openness of one's heart is transformed into an unnatural suspiciousness. Then the only things it knows to look for in life are more of the very desires and attachments that betrayed and helped to shatter it in the first place!
This wisdom requires new self-knowledge: We heal our heart by no longer injuring it. The truth is that once we stop hurting ourselves, we realize we don't need ninety-nine percent of the things that we think we do to make us feel better about our life. To free ourselves of this fight for the possession of our own heart we must learn how to let go.
Letting go does not happen by accident, any more than a bird flies without first taking to the sky. Both acts are leaps of a kind, but both are as natural to life as a dolphin is to the open sea. Welcome this knowledge, work with true principles, and watch how letting go and growing happier soon become one great healing action.