As I watched the Parade of Nations during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics I was struck by a passing comment from one of the athletes. Reportedly this athlete from a small country had told a journalist that he knew he and his country would not be taking home any gold, he was there for the Olympic experience. What a remarkable statement. Don’t get me wrong, I think the athletes and their drive for perfecting their craft, their commitment and perseverance is truly admirable. There is nothing inherently wrong with winning, being the best in your league or national pride. But what occurred to me when I heard his statement was how insidious the attitude of winning and being in competition is even in small areas of our lives and how that serves to separates us from our true presence, our deepest nature.
From my perspective this man from a small country will likely enjoy his run and the Olympic activities from a vantage point that is less stressful, fuller and richer than if he felt pressured to “bring home the gold”. It occurs to me that we all can enjoy our lives more if we let go of the inner attitudes that separate us from our deepest selves.
It seems that we carry a competitive edge, a sense of ceaseless striving, and struggle, often unnecessarily, and so miss out on the full rich experience of simply being present and experiencing life. I don’t believe being present is about giving up on being the best we can be. It is not about becoming passive and simply existing. It is about fully embodying our spiritual nature and integrating it with our human nature in a way that allows for a deep connection to all of life. Our fears (ego), belief in lack, seeing others as the enemy or as having/being what we crave, result in an inner sense of competition that separates us from ourselves first and then we cannot help but increase the separation from others.
What a perfect time…the Olympics and Valentine’s Day to focus on connecting with our deeper nature, learn to open to our own best selves and develop the capacity to experience the richness of life through being centered in our hearts. It is then that we will each truly bring home the gold.
Heart Chakra: Gateway to Self, Love and Acceptance
Poets, mystics and philosophers often speak of the heart as the place where we enter into the wholeness of our selves, a place within us that contains mystery and understanding beyond what our rational, logical mind understands.
Ancient traditions point to the heart chakra as the center where human consciousness shifts and the capacity for balance between the inner and outer worlds can be developed.
It is in the heart where we develop the ability to be attuned to Self and other. It is through the heart that we access deeper awareness and capacity for spirituality.
Additionally, in the esoteric traditions, the heart is seen as the place where we contact the Observer Self – what some have called the voice of the Soul – that aspect of Self that is beyond the enslavement of thought and emotion.
The Observer Self is the aspect of us that has access to truth with a capital T. It is that part which is capable of direct and present experience. It is also the facet of consciousness that allows for creative solutions to situations that stymie our ego self.
The positive, balanced qualities of the heart chakra are: Love, Acceptance, Courage, Balance, True Intimacy, Harmony, Compassion and Devotion. Unbalanced heart energies are those best known as characterizing codependency.
It is part of the spiritual journey to use our heart’s energy to engage in self-reflection, connect with our soul, move toward balance and develop healthy self-love and acceptance.
When we do so, we bring a healthy flow of heart energy to our lives and are able to share heartfelt energy with others.