Learning how to Stay
I notice these days that terms like “soul,” or “heart,” or even “human,” are rather trendy, and that we can take these words for granted in our every day unconscious points of view.
These words point to, and from, the same source, in my experience.
About 20 years ago, on an ordinary day, I was getting up off the coach in a friend’s home in Moraga, Ca. As raised myself up, out of nowhere, a vivid memory of dying in a previous life flashed into my internal senses. I became absorbed in the memory of the experience of being the actual beat of my heart, as if “winged” and lifting out the back of the chest of my previous body. The recognition struck as I felt the thread of continuity all the way through to the experience of “me” in this now moment: the animating energy of my heartbeat itself, the eternal soul that continued on, as I let go of the body that was my home.
This memory has stayed with me as an inner knowing that the “physical” Heart is undeniably the home of the soul, and that the heartbeat is the animating essence. I have had many experiences since that have continued to verify this to the point that it lives as a felt-sense “fact” in my every day experience of reality.
This experience had become so integrated that I realized recently that I had been unconsciously assuming that everyone else is conscious of this recognition as well. Right?? Don’t we all know that the heartbeat is the soul, beating in our chest, bringing our fresh lifeblood to every inch of our bodies?
Recently I was presenting at one of my most favorite events of the year, the Science and Non-Duality conference. This year’s theme was on “the mystery of being human”. Roland McCraty, who is the director of research at the Heart Math Institute, was speaking one day on the impact of Heart Coherence, personally, socially and globally, which has to do with how well we are able to regulate ourselves on all of these levels. It was an inspiring talk, and I love what the Heart Math Institute is bringing to bear on pioneering a new worldview of the Heart. Emerging disciplines in Neuroscience are forging the research that re-enforce what mystics have been directly experiencing for millennia.
My psychobiology geek goes crazy for this stuff. I could literally eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
And… I was left wondering why we are still talking about the heart, when we could be creating group experiences to directly experience it- the true mystery of being human.
What if the greatest relevance and import in terms of being human is the dignified and messy art of staying with our actual embodied experience as the purest research laboratory?
I am humbly practicing all the time in my own body, heart, and soul- my real-life lab. Practicing the recognition that it is a choice to be human first, meaning: choosing to reference my directly felt, present moment, from my deep, eternal heart-soul vantage point– first.
“The point” if there is one- to all of our psycho-spiritual somatic work, is to come to the place of recognition that we have agency. The choice of where we place the power of our attention. We know that where we put our attention is what we grow in our experience. What if you could choose your Heart as your primary home of perception? Before your self-concepts and images, your history and nervous system level of habit patterns? What would your experience of being you feel like, if you accepted your Heart first, before your addiction to ideals, perfection-projections and attempts to control reality via the route of what you think you “know”.
The mystical traditions of all world religions throughout time, point to the axiom that it is through the Unknown that we discover the deepest relationship to reality. In our commitment to not knowing, meaning not going to our head knowledge of false protections first- we begin the holy descent.
We begin to drop down and into the deep heart’s domain.
We drop down and into the core of the only source of true safety, eternal love and guidance that we so long to feel as humans who live in an impermanent world.
There is a virtue in the fact, that we do not know the hour of our death or anyone else’s. We do not know for sure what will happen when “we die”. This universal fact can be the ultimate crucible of growth if you let it. The insecurity of the unknown of your “apparent” death can tenderly melt you into the vulnerable domain of your deep heart’s capacity to hold you amidst all that is inevitably felt in the temporal.
It provides the space for all of you to be here as you are. Open, human- without defense against the inevitable shit, the stink and holy mess of all that you cannot control.
Our deep heart’s true capacity is to stay.
Here, heart beating alive, fresh, anew in your chest.
To be available for Life to live itself, here, unfolding as you, is to be truly human.
We practice, staying present to the vitality of the fear that arises as we let go of the cherished self- images and projections of our un-lived futures. We practice staying, where we did not receive true reflection and loving, holding, ground. We stay, with our innocent “inner” abandoned children who kept the fantasies of a better future alive all these years to blunt the pain of an unbearable present.
This staying is what allows the safe passage for all of our unresolved history, our unmet needs, our tragic losses to be grieved and our essence to be untangled. We grieve the shattering of the unstable false ground that undergirds our control strategies. We grieve the ways in which we attempted to make anything outside of our hearts into our stability. We grieve this complexity that kept us safe and separate. We grieve how we missed our lives, as we were not actually able to be here.
We grieve and we fall. We fall into our Heart’s true intimate embrace, where Love has never been wounded, broken or lost.
Would you like to do an experiment with me to see for yourself freshly, in this moment what I am referring to?
Stand up. Shake out your body for minute. Jump up and down just to get your heart rate up. I want to be sure you can feel your heartbeat.
Now, sit down and just see if you can drop your attention down into the center of your chest. Rest a hand here. Receive your H e a r t b e a t.
Be absorbed in the fresh remembrance of this eternal language of your origins. Don’t know anything… Let your head dissolve. Come in. Come in close… Melt down and in.
Come into this fresh new spiraling lifeblood, made of stars and the fertile soil of your ancestors. Here, where life is giving birth to itself. Draw your inner ear and listen close. Feel the silence between the heartbeats… Just feel. Receive. Be the movement of energy that is Alive as your Heart. Be this First.
Feel your Love First. Receive the precious and profound potency that is YOU.
* I want to acknowledge and give credit to Adam Gainsburg and the work of Open Human Heart for much of my recent deepening and awakening within the field of the Heart. Learning how to stay with my heart, to be human first and to allow everything to be experienced directly from here, has become not a only a concept that I have understood for decades, but a practiced and practical reality that is becoming embodied. Thank you Adam and the Open Human Heart community for practicing with me and supporting this decent from our Head/History to the Living Truth of the Heart/Present on our planet. For more info on the Open Human Heart work: