Calm Mind, Loving Heart

"Enlightenment cannot be attained, nor forced. It can only happen…It can appear only when it is given a vacant space to appear in."

Have you noticed that your capacity to feel and express love is inversely related to the level of tension in your mind and body? When we are problem solving and working on survival issues, the higher order emotions, such as love and compassion, tend to get squeezed out of consciousness.

Our body/mind is designed to preserve itself as a top priority. If our evolutionary ancestor was being chased by a wild boar, his urgent need was to activate all body systems to move quickly to safety. It became necessary to breathe rapidly, push a quantity of blood through the muscles and move those muscles powerfully. It was not necessary, from a survival point of view, to feel compassion for the boar.

So now when we feel anxious, our body activates as if it needs to flee or fight, and our mind becomes narrowly focused on the problem at hand. In this activated body/mind state our consciousness is naturally less expansive and less open to the softer emotions. Nevertheless, this adrenaline induced state of urgency is stimulating. We aren’t bored when we are at risk of being gored by a boar. Consequently, our high stimulus worrying and excitement seeking can become weirdly attractive, and even addictive.

On the other hand, when our mind and body are calm, our hearts can open to love, generosity and compassion. Love does not thrive in a tense body. When fear is present, love is restricted to the back row of consciousness. Peacefulness allows love to move into its proper place in the front row of the mind.

Love is generated like heat from a flame when we are centered and aware. When a flame is small, the warmth is little. When awareness is narrowly focused on urgent needs, the warmth of love is little. As we increase consciousness, we naturally increase love. It’s as simple as that. The open mind, the calm body make available the open heart.

 In our busy lives it is tempting to go after the stimulation of adrenaline to keep us awake and invigorated, but we risk being more irritable and lonely by making that choice. Instead, we can remember to practice entering a calmer, more peaceful state of being. When we sit calmly with an empty mind, our senses become more refined, our appreciation of beauty deepens, and our heart naturally opens to loving kindness.

Peace is my desire, so I take time to cultivate peace.
Calming my mind, I let go of active thinking.
I breathe in peace.
I breathe out all my fears and concerns.
I release unneeded tension in my muscles.
I sit without expectation.
Peace is my birthright.
I claim it now.
In my calm I grow strong.
In my strength I grow kind.
I am aware.
I live in beauty.
Love shines in my heart.

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© 2002 Tom Barrett