The Mystic Heart Reveals Itself
Does good will enlighten you?
Does your heart truly embrace and appreciate others?
Mystics change the world — with their expanded hearts.
And, you can too. Receive now the mystic techniques of heart expansion.
Love and Greetings!
Have you tried on numerous shoes, sandals and moccasins since we last talked? Remember to go barefoot, too.
What do you think? Is your heart expanding? Is it more universal, more comfortable with other people and places?
A mystic becomes a world citizen. He doesn’t hide from strangers nor shoot at them from the hills. His, her heart can welcome and embrace people from all lands and cultures — with joy and good will.
So, friend, how are you? I hope your feet are comfortable and eager for travel.
I want to take you to a Mystery which further expands the Heart. It is beautiful to see. Let’s go.
When your heart is not expanded and you are unaware of the Universal Spirit, the world often seems a cold and lonely jail. You want love instead of conflict, and intimacy rather than separateness. However, your experience of life is one of sadness and frustration. Fears and stress fill the Heart. Misunderstandings and failures dominate your world view. You find it so difficult — even impossible — to communicate deeply or relate to others meaningfully, confidently. Your heart, your sense of self, is a prisoner in a barren place. You find towering barriers separate you from the people you want to know and love.
But, perhaps, on the other hand, you feel your life is an utter delight, filled with cherished relationships, lasting love, and joyous accord with most people. If so, your heart is not a prisoner. You’ve already experienced the essential heart expansion, the vital Eighth Mystery — Sameness of Feeling and Appreciation.
It is admirable to consider how many millions of people come into, and go out of, the world ignorant of themselves and of the world they have lived in.
—William Penn, SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE (1693)
In either case, somewhere on the road to happiness and mystical realization, your heart must become able to feel the heart of others. You will find your heart craves to personally attune with and understand the joys and concerns of fellow men, women, and creatures. Your heart will transcend its barriers and leave its prison life when you can truly delight in another person’s rejoicing or weep with him in his loss. You can feel the weight of his worries with compassion and a sense of kinship — even if he or she is a stranger.
Your heart is a prisoner — a confined and miserable sense of self — until sameness of feeling and appreciation shows the way to freedom. For thousands of years mystics have practiced sameness of feeling with, and appreciation for, other people. To mystics, the term sameness of feeling means sympathy, a deep attunement with others.
A mystic strives to have sameness of feeling with other people and then, from that realization of close kinship with them, to truly appreciate them.
Let’s first consider the definitions of two important terms:
Interestingly, Webster’s New World Dictionary defines sympathy as “sameness of feeling” too, along with mystical tradition.
Sympathy (Greek sympatheia: syn-, together + pathos, feeling):
And, the term sympathize is similarly defined: “to share or understand the feelings or ideas of another…to be in harmony or accord.”
The appreciation which develops from sameness of feeling is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There is no jealousy, conflict, or resentment in your heart for one you hold in sympathy and appreciation. Your heart glows with delight in other people.
Appreciation is defined as:
Sympathy enables understanding and compassion. Sympathy also bestows to you the great joy of appreciation. Sympathy and appreciation together expand and enlighten the heart with universal love. You live a life of love!
How can you extend your heart in sympathy and then further expand it into the utter delight of appreciation for others? For the sake of success in these all-important Mysteries, let’s first review the mystic passages of the heart we’ve already begun, and then revel in newfound levels of Sympathy and Appreciation.
Please also bear in mind that while we are sharing these Heart Expansion Mysteries over a short period, it usually takes most seekers one to three years of work with these six Mysteries (the Fifth through the Tenth) in order to fully expand the heart. As you progress through the Mysteries, please return to these six until you experience them regularly.
You needn’t stay long on one level or practice only one technique. Do each technique as well as you can for several days. Then move on to the next one. The effect is cumulative. Suddenly and unexpectedly you will have your first expansion, then another and another. Ever so naturally, you will become able to practice all the techniques with success.
Remember, too, you do not need to start at the first or second levels if you already enjoy them and practice them as a way of life. Begin at the level where your sense of self is limited and hurting, at the stage where your hopes collide with your barriers.
This double Mystery continues now with an exploration of the development of the Mystic Heart.
Starting with the Seventh Mystery, here is the esteemed method of heart development.
1 — Good Will
As revealed in the Seventh Mystery, practice caring about others and wishing them well until you live with an attitude of good will for everyone you know, meet, pass on the street, and think of. And, at the same time, drop any old habits of ill will you may have assumed. Good will is not easy to feel toward everyone, at first, but you will find the effort is so beneficial that even “half success” brings noticeable heart expansions. Even with the partial establishment of good will, you will discover your relationships and your world are much happier.
2 — Wear His/Her “Shoes”
As the American Indian proverb goes: You don’t understand another person until you have walked miles in his/her shoes. A mystic practices heart expansion through imagining herself/himself in the lives and situations of different people.
In order to free your heart for mystical expansion, practice this “shoes” technique of empathy on a different person each day for 10 to 15 minutes. Simply sit back, relax, and consider what you would think and feel if you lived in the body and life situation of a particular person. Ponder what it would be like to experience life in his/her shoes. (Refer to the Sixth Mystery for a more thorough discussion of this expansion.)
For the first two to three weeks, focus on your friends one by one. When you begin to find new levels of 1) love; 2) insight; and 3) appreciation occurring in your awareness of chosen friends, your heart is expanding.
The Second Level of “Shoes” Expansion
When you can direct your awareness to different friends and experience greater love, insight, and appreciation for them, you are ready to move forward to a more challenging set of expansions: Wearing the shoes of people who bother you.
Go slowly, take lots of time. Choose one troublesome person a day as the focus of your reflection. With an attitude of good will and an openness to becoming more understanding and compassionate, picture a person who bothers you and move past what troubles or hurts you to a consideration of what it is like to live in that person’s body, mind, and heart.
What is it like — as best you can comprehend — to live in that person’s circumstances, with his/her past experiences and present views of life?
In time the difficulty and unpleasantness of this kind of reflection changes. You will find it fascinating and satisfying. Once again — as happened with your reflections on your friends — you will find you can wear the troubling person’s shoes . . . and they fit!
Continue daily reflections on problem people until expansion of the heart (your sense of self) resumes. Again, you will discover: 1) love; 2) insight; and 3) appreciation fill you as you empathize with problem people. Now you can understand them. You’re walking in their shoes. Your heart has significantly expanded.
The Third Level of “Shoes” Expansion
As you know from your study and development of the Sixth and Seventh Mysteries, this technique of empathy and expansion goes on to focus on strangers — unknown people near and far. You’ll find it’s easy to select an unknown person each day for your reflections: There are six billion of us! Books, magazines, and television shows will provide innumerable persons for us to know better. Choose one each day and ponder what it would be like for you to live in your chosen person’s body and daily life. You’ll begin to feel close to people around the world. You’ll develop a sense of kinship and connection with people you don’t know.
Would you like to try an experiment? You’ll gain some “real world” feedback and might find this very enjoyable. Let some of your practice sessions develop into a focus on strangers whom you will be able to meet in the near future. See how fully you can love, understand, and appreciate chosen strangers before you meet them.
Then, when you actually meet them and get to know them personally, see how reliable the insights and impressions you gained in your reflections prove to be. You may be amazed — or you may be discouraged. In either case, the effort is so worthwhile and the feedback about your sensitivity is invaluable.
In these beginning levels of study, the impressions you gain are not as important as your development of the ability to direct your awareness beyond the habitual state of your heart outward to other people and their lives.
3 — Sameness of Feeling
Having practiced placing yourself in the shoes — i.e., in the body and life situation — of others, now you reverse the process. You bring them into your heart.
You strive to feel the presence, feelings and concerns of others within yourself, within your sensitive, open heart.
You strive to feel in your own heart what they are feeling. You seek to be tenderly and compassionately aware of their joys and woes, their satisfactions and burdens.
You develop true and abiding sameness of feeling with friends, foes and strangers.
Please don’t confuse sameness of feeling with a loss of identity or abandonment of personal values on your part. In true sympathy you can feel what others are feeling but you don’t therefore run about the world in their states of anxiety, confusion, or anger, for example. You simply become aware of their feelings — the better to know them, the better to love and appreciate them.
While I’ve used a negative example in the above paragraph in order to answer an often-raised question, you will usually enjoy sameness of feeling with others. Their feelings will surprise and thrill you again and again.
When the feelings of other people happen to be distressful, you will find a well of compassion rises from deep within you. You needn’t fear that you will be stained by the feelings of others. Your heart will respond in a perfectly constructive way. It will inspire wisdom, kindness, and right action. It will protect and ennoble you for your courage in daring to feel for others.
4 — Appreciation
At its core, your heart cares about all people. It naturally loves and appreciates them more than can ever be expressed. When your heart expands, you will feel this great love of yours in dumbfounded amazement.
The practice and development of appreciation stirs the sleeping giant within you. Particularly, appreciation blossoms and beautifies your life through your realization of sympathy, sameness of feeling, with others.
Sympathy with others engenders heartfelt esteem and delight in the uniqueness of people near and far. Sympathy provides a personal connection from which we can truly honor and treasure our fellow human.
Sympathy empowers us to do what the dictionary says: Appreciation is valuing, holding with esteem, with high regard. My dictionary defines appreciate splendidly and helpfully for our purposes. (I’ve highlighted the mystically significant words in the definition below.)
What a powerful state of the heart: Appreciation! If we can grow to appreciate, in an ongoing way, old confinements of our sense of self will fall away; fear, cynicism, and a multitude of old emotional wounds will dissolve.
Are you ready to receive the Sympathy and Appreciation Techniques? They work very well together. They are partners.
Sameness of feeling and appreciation work together to expand and free the heart.
Here are the esteemed mystic practices — one to encourage and develop Sameness of Feeling, and one to facilitate Appreciation.
In a nutshell, this powerful practice consists of a) concentrating on a specific person; and b) opening your heart.
The Practice of Appreciation
Let your practice of sympathy lead where your heart wishes. Linger in sympathy with another person and your heart will likely erupt with appreciation. When you share the feelings of another, you can see and know him much more clearly and intimately. You can feel the genuine kinship of life you have with this person. You recognize him at a mystical and spiritual level.
Take time to consciously note or articulate your appreciation in its many aspects. You may wish to pause after each recognition and feel your heart’s appreciation before going on to consider another expression of esteem and gratitude.
Here is an Appreciation procedure you may wish to use, but you have the high privilege of completing the sentences:
While true appreciation is an inner knowing which involves an expansion of the heart, you don’t have to keep your appreciations a secret. You can share them with those you esteem.
The world is such a dreary place without love, sympathy, and appreciation. You can brighten many lives by expressing your love and appreciation.
Appreciation as an Attitude
You can practice appreciation as an attitude! May I exhort you?
Come out of emotional numbness and mental lethargy! Notice — really notice — and appreciate at least one person each day. Further, in addition to daily meditative direction of your heart and mind, also find a dozen — or two dozen! — people and things to esteem as you move through your busy day. Appreciate your fellow beings, appreciate them for both their uniqueness and for their sameness with you, their form and features, their one-of-a-kind faces, their smiles and the looks in their eyes, the music of their voices.
Notice and value the varied and subtle ways they express themselves. Notice their personalities. Sense their souls. Appreciate their actions, their stillness, their kindness and thoughtfulness. Appreciate, with all you possess, who they are.
Approach new acquaintances with a readiness to appreciate them. And regarding all acquaintances, find new ways to appreciate them. Make appreciation your way of life.
You will begin to live in wonder. You’ll find so much to appreciate: people, nature, movement, sound, ideas, spoken words, and the unutterable.
You may ask, What if people I appreciate prove to be cruel and deceitful? Am I still to appreciate them nevertheless?
Obviously, you notice but do not appreciate nor submit to cruelty and deceit. It is the negative qualities in us and in others which bind the heart so that we remain separate and mystically unaware. Even in difficult circumstances we need to appreciate.
Vincent de Paul, a French priest and mystic (1581-1660), for example, used to visit prisoners in dungeons. He would bring them songs and picnic lunches. He would spread an embroidered tablecloth for them and cover the table with delicious breads, cheeses and glasses of wine. He would set before them shiny vases with flowers from the meadows. He would treat them as friends, as beloved brothers and sisters. He wanted these disfigured souls to know they were valued and loved. Further, he wanted them to lift up their hearts and appreciate!
Like Vincent, appreciate the True, Beautiful, and Good wherever you go, in whomever you meet, but discern and deal appropriately with what is delusive or harmful.
It’s easy to sum up this Mystery: Live it! Practice Sameness of Feeling and Appreciation! See what happens in your life when your heart expands with Sympathy and Appreciation. See what happens to you mystically. Stones will be rolled away.
There’s alot more to be known about Sympathy and its crucial role in the Mysteries. The next Mystery will powerfully help you further unfold in sameness of feeling with others.
Often I didn’t know what to do:
Now I reach out
With the light of my heart.
The basis of medicine is sympathy and the desire to help others, and whatever is done with this end must be called medicine.
—Frank Payne, ENGLISH MEDICINE IN THE ANGLO-SAXON TIMES (1840-1910)
Love One Another
Dear Friends! Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Whoever loves God is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
—The Bible, 1 John 4:7-8
Is this not a powerful Mystery? The Infinite reveals itself to us through “sameness of feeling.”
And appreciation is so easy to realize once sameness of feeling occurs.
Our tour of the Mysteries enriches and enlightens us month after month.
What’s the difference between a real heart expansion and a vivid fantasy? A vivid fantasy may be enjoyable but it doesn’t manifest change in oneself or the world. A heart expansion, on the other hand, brings a noticeable change. When you have a heart expansion, you are changed in some observable way. For example:
These are a few typical examples. In other words, positive change is always a part of a heart expansion. To put it mystically: when you have a heart expansion, the Infinite Spirit moves and expresses Itself in some apparent way in your life.
But after most fantasies you go right back to being the same person you were before.
You will likely remember your expansions as great events in your life. You’ll probably forget ninety-nine percent of your fantasies. But there’s a place for both fantasies and expansions in our lives. Each have their own values.
Likely you have already experienced sameness of feeling with others. You utterly forgot yourself in your concern for another person and what she/he was going through — positively or negatively.
Select a few of your past moments of sameness of feeling, of deep sympathy, with others. Ponder them one by one, and recall what impacts, if any, each experience brought into your life and being.
See you soon.
My heart really cares
When I dare
To feel it.
Sameness of feeling and appreciation work together to expand and free the heart.
On the road to mystical realization, your heart must be able to feel the heart of others.
Eventually, your heart will transcend its barriers and you will feel a kinship with others.
A well of compassion will arise from deep within you.
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