The heart is a remarkable organ of connectivity, caring, and compassion. On a physical level, the beating heart ensures that the needed lifeblood is pumped and circulated throughout the whole of the living system we call the Universe of Self. At a more refined plane of being, the life-giving substance pulsed and distributed by the rhythm of our Soul is called Love.
The heart is a profound place of sensitivity where we register feelings in their richest and deepest dimensions. The heart also provides a natural hearth that houses the Fire of Love – once it has been ignited and lovingly tended over time to be a constant source of warmth and illumination for ourselves and others. This incandescent Flame of Spirit is that divine conflagration we call Christ Consciousness which only catches fire when we have made ourselves spiritually combustible by drying out an emotionally water-logged life. The Fire of Love constitutes the atomic nucleus and central core of our essential nature that, when activated, shines forth brilliantly as the radiant heart of being.
Many of us find ourselves responding to life by either being heartened by the good things that happen or disheartened by that which falls short of expressing our innate goodness as humans. In this instance, the heart functions as an instrument of ethical measurement that, like a radio telescope, picks up the emissions and radio waves of the surrounding field and projects them onto our screen of awareness so we may safely navigate a soul-guided path through life.
The spirit and attributes of the heart also suffuse our vocabulary as we encourage each other to, “take heart” or to “not lose heart”. There is a direct correlation between courage and the heart because the root of this word is cor – the Latin word for heart. Courage can be said to represent the inextinguishable strength of the fiery heart that keeps us moving inexorably forward while facing all forms of adversity. The language of the Soul is Love and it is spoken through the eloquent silence of an open and compassionate heart.
The Agni Yoga teaching boldly declares:
“The heart tirelessly throbs and pulsates lest people forget it. The heart is the most tender, the most intense, the most responsive to that which is near and most far. The magnet of the heart is the synthesis of all subtle energies.”
The heart connects us with the thrill of life. Remember that first sensation of love as a young person when something stirred and sparkled inside us and awakened a deep feeling of connection with another. We know all too well that the heart can also be broken when things fall apart and the outer reality does not match or resonate with what we innately know to feel good.
In fact, observing the world situation through the eyes of the heart can be a heartbreaking experience. Many people ask why there is so much pain and suffering in the world and yet, fail to realize that everything we see around us and feel inside us has been created by the power of our own intention, desires and applied thought. We are the arbiters of our own fate through the choices we make. Pain can be viewed as an uncomfortable sensation that registers the gap between our true nature – which is Love – and our present ability to express and do justice to that love in everyday life.
We live together on a planet referred to in the Ageless Wisdom teaching as ‘the sorrowful star’. It is also known as the Blue Pearl. This latter name contains a clue to answering the earlier question regarding the prevalence of pain as we reflect on how a pearl is formed. The natural sciences tell us the formation of a pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell and irritates the mantle. The oyster’s natural reaction is to secrete a liquid containing aragonite (a carbonate mineral) and conchiolin (a protein). As the secretion intermingles with the intruder, it creates a material called nacre, or mother-of-pearl and over time, these layers of nacre turn into what eventually becomes a pearl.
In a similar fashion, the irritants that trouble daily life will be overcome step-by-step and with each painful lesson learned, another layer of the ‘mother-of-pearl’ of understanding is produced. The accumulation of countless layers builds to a point where a precipitate of great beauty we call the pearl of wisdom is formed. The journey from pain and suffering to wisdom and joy, however, can be a long and arduous undertaking but we can be reassured that, over time, the constant grind of incarnated life will produce the sought-after Pearls of Wisdom. Understanding this alchemical process of the Soul allows us to appreciate the particular pedagogical approach and lesson plan employed within the School of Life on Earth.
Throughout the many grades housed inside the terrestrial classroom, we are given ample opportunities to cultivate wisdom. And when we have gathered sufficient insights and are able to string these together, we have crafted a necklace of pearls. The fashioning and wearing of this necklace signals the fulfillment of lifetimes of learning and stands witness to the way in which all past pain and suffering are inevitably transformed into the “joy of wisdom”.
The Agni Yoga teaching explains the process in the following way:
“How, then, can the heart realize all the beauty of Existence if it has not penetrated into all the joys and sorrows of life.? Thus it is that often, reading the Book of Lives, the heart trembles, but then the tear of suffering is transmuted into a pearl. The more fiery the heart, the greater the joys and the sufferings…” Fiery World III – 208.
In Part Two (to be published in the December newsletter), we will explore the critical spiritual test facing us as a species and how the heart of our One Humanity needs to be broken open so that Love may flow – allowing us to stand in a more inclusive and loving space as we seek to build an illumined, joyful and just society together.
Note to Self: Any time I feel lost and stranded and painful clouds descend and dim the view of the clear road home, I will remember to breathe gently from the heart, give thanks for the gift of learning and affirm that, “Home is where the Heart is.”
Michael Lindfield Board President Meditation Mount