Guarding the Heart

We are in mid-winter. BRRRR!  This is a time to guard our hearts, a practice of love and conscious growth.

Phrases posted on Facebook, February 2023

To guard the heart is a deep practice that can help us stay out of reactivity and be aligned with who we essentially are. A little step I dearly love is this: upon waking I place a hand on my heart to warm the tissue on my chest and mentally contact the organ as well as the spiritual heart we call the heart of hearts. That small morning greeting before the day begins sets a quiet intention and reminder to be heart centered in the coming hours.
As I do the morning heart touch, I try to notice my physical response. It’s only a few seconds, but the body is three seconds behind the mind all the time. Those few “catch up” minutes deepen the heart connection. It is a way to build an abiding connection.
Three or four times of stopping during the day are times to inquire of my heart, Is there something I should know or notice? Asking such a question keeps me more alert to what I may otherwise be too busy to catch. It is a reboot question.
If you practice these suggestions you will soon sense that you are not the one entirely in charge. Something vast is loving you and guiding you. Yes, is even living you.
Practicing this way builds an abiding connection to Spirit, and I have sometimes found a need to add words to the times I stop. It is an impulse toward dialogue and a deeper relationship. Here are some examples: May I be kind. May I soften. May I be grateful etc. You get the idea, but you need to find the words that resonate with you.
Moving from the morning heart touch, stopping three times a day and giving voice to inner longings, a tug naturally begins to grow to spend more and deeper time aligning the heart with Spirit. That tug led me to create with my friend, Frank Pendola, a meditation offering called Song and Silence. In it you chose a prayer phrase and the time you want to spend in silence. At the end of the silence you are sung back to ordinary time. Here is the link if you are interested:
Having a prayer phrase that guards your heart when trouble arises or when joy sends you spinning is a huge comfort. I know you’ve experienced that a song lyric can get stuck in your head repeating itself without any help from you. Why not a prayer phrase? It can be a guardian when trouble comes, and you want to act instead of react and choose a loving course of action. Perhaps one of the songs from the offering mentioned above can be such a friend to you. Perhaps you will find other words that so perfectly align with you that they come to mind as soon as you are triggered. We can’t help reacting, but we can help not immediately acting on our reactions. A well-loved prayer phrase is a treasured friend.
I like this clarifying question when I feel stumped or pushed to my limits. It’s simple. What would love choose to do here? I hope you’ll try it.
Things that are carefully tended seem to have a glow about them. This will be true of our hearts as well. We have all experienced feeling a heart-full-ness in someone. They have a glow about them. Being in their presence we feel that emanation and we benefit from it.
That which is guarded and tended develops. What of the heart’s longing do we support and tend? Do we even hear it? If we do, how seriously do we take it?
Do we make it a priority? Do we really know what a treasure we have?
As mentioned before, it is a blessing to start each day with a few moments of quiet alignment with your heart. Place a hand on your heart and ask: What’s important today? Let your heart answer instead of your mind. If you experience a deeper breath, it is usually a sign that all of you agrees with the answer you found. Then it is a matter of living under the auspices of your heart’s direction.
Guarding the heart is really tending it like a garden. You water it with kindness when it is dry and flagging. You pull the weeds of discontent that have cropped up when that needs to be done. You harvest the bounty of your heart and are nourished by it. And mostly you can just enjoy being in it, with it and express through it.