The Power of an Open Heart

STREET STYLING: Mark Bustos spends every Sunday cutting hair for homeless people on the streets of New York City.
Mark Bustos spends every Sunday cutting hair for homeless people on the streets of New York City.

“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”
Pema Chödrön

Why is it that sometimes it can be difficult to give love? If we know the benefit of giving love and have the desire to do so, it can still be very difficult. There may be many reasons for this and there is no simple answer. It could be that we have not had the opportunity and role models to learn how to give love in a healthy and meaningful way. It could be that we’ve been hurt and it is difficult open our hearts out of fear. One of the most common challenges is that we confuse love with attachment.

As we mentioned in the theme, genuine loving-kindness is not based in attachment. It is rooted in a sincere desire for the lasting happiness and well-being of yourself and others. It is not a transactional relationship, dependent upon people doing or acting the way we would like, or loving us in return. When it is transactional, filled with attachment, it is not authentic love and becomes the source of much emotional suffering. If we can learn to open our hearts with authentic loving-kindness, as today’s quote reminds us, we will discover a vast, limitless resource of warmth, resiliency and gentleness within us.  It is a resource of, usually untapped, healing potential that we can draw upon.

A practical application of the action of love is a commitment to engage in actions and activities that are consistently geared towards improving yourself and the lives of others. If we really want the best for ourselves and others, what other action would we take? This also means that we do not enable others to do harmful things to themselves or to others. Likewise, if we have love for ourselves, we will not engage in harmful activities towards ourselves or others. In essence, when we are motivated by love, our thoughts and actions are truly beneficial to help everyone concerned cultivate their highest potentials. When we love someone, we are willing to extend ourselves for them to be genuinely happy. When we are attached to someone, we are willing to extend ourselves for them to make us happy.

I invite you to do your best to become aware of the difference between transactional relationships and genuine loving-kindness. Is your motivation to be beneficial towards others limited by your judgment of them? Try to treat everyone today as though you have their best interest at heart. – John Bruna, February 28, 2016

MLP Community 1The above is a an excerpt from one the daily emails sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community. I invite you to explore our community and consider joining.

Copyright © 2016 John Bruna. All rights reserved.

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