Seeing With Your Heart
As we embark on the New Year, it is important to reflect on where we are in life and how we see the world. What is our perspective?
Just like a lotus flower that seeds and blossoms at the same time, our bodies are constantly going through cycles of change—growth and rebirth. Our heart is at the core of this process, creating possibility for transformation. With every heartbeat, there is a new opportunity to see the world. Are we taking notice, are we aware of our surroundings?
Often, we see with our mind instead of our heart. When we see with our minds we focus on our desires instead of our needs. When we see with our hearts we are able to let go of that which is superficial. What would it feel like to start seeing through our hearts to understand what we truly need?
First, let’s discuss the three qualities of seeing.
Feeling: This quality is our internal sensations in our daily life. It is helpful to notice how we feel in certain situations. When someone says something that irks or inspires us, what happens? Does a pit form in our stomach? Do we become hot? What physical sensations are we experiencing?
Perceptions: This quality is the way in which we view the world based on our past experiences. This is made up of our thoughts, words and actions. Are preconceived notions clouding our judgment? Are we holding onto roles that we feel we have to fulfill?
Consciousness: This quality is the state of being awake and aware of our surroundings. Do we feel present? What are we noticing? What are we missing? How can we become more awake?
With awareness we can use these three qualities to see with our hearts. We can feel deeply, transform our perceptions and attain consciousness. This is a difficult task and isn’t always easy to actualize. But when we take notice of our thoughts, words and actions, we can transform.
“I believe this is the most beautiful part of humanity. Unlike any other species we have the ability to transform our lives through thoughts, words and actions.” ~ Bianca Greene
Recently, I saw a situation with my mind instead of my heart. Early one morning, my mom said something to me that rubbed me the wrong way. I became frustrated and my levels of communication were negative. As a result, I was ineffective at mitigating the conversation. Because I am working on my awareness, I was able to excuse myself from the situation instead of fighting back. I’ll admit, I excused myself in a rather negative tone, but at least I was able to leave the situation before it got ugly. I was able to calm myself down through meditation and reading.
Once I was calm I began to reflect on the situation. I realized that I held myself in the role of a daughter with a nagging mother. I didn’t understand that my mom was coming to me from a place of help and support, I perceived her gentle reminder as a criticism of my inability to remember myself, and also an unprovoked power play for imposing her timeframe and requirements on mine. When I stepped outside of the situation, I realized my perception of her criticism was just that: my perception.
This is how I try to become present in every moment. I give myself time to calm down and reflect so that I can change my thoughts, words and actions. As I continue to do my work, I will be able to see through my heart, changing my interactions with the world.
It’s not always possible to see every person, situation, landscape and being for what it is. That said, when we acknowledge their complexities, we can practice non-judgment and compassion—doing so creates opportunities for seeing with our heart. In my experience, this practice will bring our heart’s awareness to each moment and feel the world around us.