Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Now do we forget about love? Is love only about romance or family? And what’s peace got to do with love?
“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” Gandhi
I imagine most of us want peace for the world. Most of us want to reach some kind of peace within ourselves. All of us want love; deep abiding love.
Yet most of us maintain some semblance of a wall around our heart. It may be a tall thick wall, so no love gets too close. Or maybe it’s a smaller more penetrable wall. But it’s likely enough to keep us from fully accepting ourselves as we are, and therefore fully accepting EVERYONE as they are.
I do not mean to say that everyone’s actions are acceptable. However we need not fear people who are not like us. We can find compassion for them and love for their Spirit. It is how we hold them that affect our own equilibrium.
“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” Wade Davis
Below are the three things I have learned that has diminished my wall and keeps shrinking it more every time I remember and practice.
1) Look yourself in the eye in the mirror and say, “I love you Carolyn.” (It will be more effective if you say your own name!)
Do it at least one time per day and stay with the feelings that come up. You want to actually feel the love in your heart. You may feel stupid at first, or you may feel nothing. You may think, “Ya, except for ____.” Let it all be there and just see how long it takes before you begin to have more compassion and caring for yourself.
2) Forgive yourself and others. Let go of grudges. You cannot change the past, yet the feelings you nurture in yourself do determine your future to a large extent.
There are many sources for learning how to forgive. One thing I used to do was go outside and look at the stars at night. Then I’d choose one person I needed to forgive and assign them to a star. I’d talk to them and then finally let my old feelings burn up in the light. May sound too simple but whatever works for you is great. It does not have to be complicated, it just takes a desire to do it and practice.
I once read that self-forgiveness involved treating myself like a puppy that I was trying to housebreak. When he made a mistake and went on the floor did I beat him and close my heart to him? Or did I treat him with love and patience? Treat yourself the same way, with openhearted compassion. As humans we make mistakes, and that is what they are, mis-takes. Let it go. (If you cannot, ask yourself how it is serving you to continue with the degradation, guilt or whatever forms of self-punishment you hold.)
3) Put your hand on your chest and breathe into the area around your heart. Think of a time when you felt compassion, gratitude or happiness. Sit with that feeling and let it expand. According to Heart Math this practice has benefit for your physical heart as well as your emotional heart.
The more times per day you practice one of the above heart centering techniques, the more love and peace you will attract and exude. You will find yourself experiencing less stress. As you develop the habit you will become more focused and clear.
Heart Math science: The heart’s electrical field has forty to sixty times more amplitude than that of the brain. The heart’s magnetic field is approx 5 thousand times stronger than the field of the brain.
The heart pulses out a rhythmic pattern that reflects the emotions you are feeling. Scientific studies show us that when we feel frustration or anxiety our heart pulses an incoherent rhythm. When feeling appreciation or care, it becomes more coherent (smooth vs jerky). So our emotional state is broadcast to those around us. In fact researchers have been able to measure one person’s heart rhythm pattern in the brain wave pattern of another person standing nearby!
There are many ways to experience and promote love and peace in the world and within our selves. Where we focus our energy and attention has a huge impact on our environment, within and without. These three practices have helped shift my perspective and experience a great deal.
“Peace begins with me.”
In love and peace,