May the Light be yours!
Today we travel to the local prison where we will observe someone in a pitiful condition.
We will seek to have this prisoner released — and invite the poor soul to join us for the rest of our mystic journey.
Shall we go now?
The prisoner lives in a dark cell, separated from mate, family, and society. He suffers, unable to know or love anyone. He has no meaningful or fulfilling communications. All his dreams are futile. But he’s an unusual prisoner: he’s free to live in a house, keep a job, and drive a car. His place of confinement is his own body and his boundaries are his thoughts, emotions, the limitations of his memories and senses. He spends his days pounding against the inner walls which keep him so disconnected.
The brooding prisoner with the broken fists is possibly you. Do you feel painfully separate from others? Are you restricted from becoming the person you want to be? Do you agonize that your life is not moving the way it should? Do you suffer because you do not feel as close to people as you need to — even the people you love? Are you going through your years feeling that, despite family and social life, you’re alone? Is the skin of your body a border, and does everyone out there seem a stranger?
Mystics are ex-convicts. They broke out of the body prison to live free in spiritual light. Their awareness reaches out beyond body, thoughts, feelings, and senses. Their bodies no longer confine their consciousness but become instruments of spiritual experience and inspired activity.
Mystics break out of mind and body bondage through expansions, expansions of consciousness. Through mystical experiences, in other words.
Mystics call that part of us which expands and bestows a magnificent transcendental awareness: the Heart.
Your “Heart” is your sense of self, your feeling about who you are. Mystics don’t mean the heart organ but the feeling of self-awareness. Who are you as a distinct person from everyone else? This is your mystical heart.
Locating your Mystical Heart
You can locate the mystical heart fairly easily. Often you remember your mystical heart when someone across the street calls out a name and you think you’re the one being addressed. You respond, “Who, me?” as you touch your fingers to the right side of your breastbone, don’t you? This spot in the center of your chest to the right of your sternum indicates the mystical heart, a focal point of your self-awareness. Your heart is your individual sense of self.
Also, you can often sense your mystical heart inside the spine, directly back of your heart organ, when you’re meditating or lovingly using your arms to help others.
You can also recognize the heart when your individuality feels threatened:
“Well, I don’t like that.”
“But, my needs are…”
“I want you to…”
“How dare you think I would do such a thing!”
But in these uptight “I” circumstances, a person usually is not paying attention to where the “I” sense is coming from. However, simply recalling such stressful instances often brings the “I” sense and the heart to mind quickly.
The Realm of the Heart
Here, in the realm of the heart, you are bound or free, prisoner or liberator. If you’d like to see your life, well being, and world change significantly before your eyes, seek a mystical heart operation.
The normal heart is self-preoccupied with the struggles of life. We labor and strain for a paycheck, acceptance, love, and success. Most often we’re in conflict with those who are striving for the same things we need and want.
Mystics term the struggling, conflicted, ambitious, worried sense of self — i.e., the normal heart — the Ego. Ego can be used to mean any degree of “sense of self” — bound or free — but most commonly, mystics reserve the term ego to refer to the bound heart, the self which struggles alone, against others, even against the Creator, for its survival and fulfillment. Ego brings separateness and conflict between husband and wife, brothers and sisters, workers, neighbors, nations, and even religious people.
As long as ego presides in our awareness, conflict and stress abide. Ruled by ego, we are prisoners, separated from one another. We’re also separated from our own spiritual essence, our soul, and its transforming power.
Ego causes us never to love others deeply, nor understand them wisely, nor experience peace within ourselves. The ego, thinking itself all alone, struggles for its causes and wards off its fears day and night throughout life. Living in ego is true bondage, no matter the appearances otherwise. The unopened heart lives in darkness and is confined, apart from all other hearts.
The heart must expand!
There is a way out. Please join me.
What is the mystical way out of ego’s life sentence? The Heart must expand. Our awareness can move in new directions. We need not live in continuous contractions of self-concern. Our thoughts, feelings, and life energies can develop new patterns.
The transformation of the ego is central to the religions of the world and is expressed gloriously in their scriptures and also by their saints. For example, in Christianity, after sincere sorrow about one’s old egocentric conduct and the great harm done, one sincerely repents and asks the Spirit and mystical Person of Jesus Christ to come into one’s heart, to live there, and be Lord of one’s life.
In Islam and Hinduism, the transformation is expressed in this way: one gives up living for only oneself to become a servant of, and live for, the Lord. To become as a reed flute through whom the Lord plays a beautiful melody of love, compassion, and constructive action.
The beginning mystic doesn’t usually expand the heart completely all at once. There are sublime days and ordinary days. Due to old habits at times of stress, the ego will contract and go back to its imprisoned way of thought and behavior. Then, as the heart realizes its dawning freedom, the ego will relax once again and happily the heart will expand its awareness of Spirit a little bit more.
One grand day the old ego will be released and you will discover the heart in its true dimension. Your spiritual Self, your soul, will shine forth into your mind, emotions, and senses. You will step out of jail and live free in spiritual awareness.
The Radiance And The Mist
We now begin the magnificent process of expansion.
First, strive to discover your Mystic Heart. During busy times and quiet times, locate your heart and determine whether it is expanded or contracted. Once you discover your heart and get to know it well, your life begins to change.
When you can find your heart at will, there are two delightful techniques you can do to begin the process of heart expansion:
Place your awareness on either of your heart centers:
- in the central front of your chest to the right of your breastbone, or
- inside your spine directly back of your heart organ
When your mind pleasantly abides in either special heart place, think and feel that your Mystic Heart is radiating love, light and energy.
Let your heart shine forth. Let it glow. Extend its light into the space around you and let it touch and embrace the people nearby.
Your practice of the Radiance will greatly stimulate your heart and will facilitate the actual expansion of your heart. As you will see, the practice is in itself a pleasure and a joy.
You may prefer this technique — The Mist — instead of The Radiance, but do give them both a try to find your favorite.
When you focus on the Mystic Heart, think and feel that your heart generates a white mist which gradually surrounds you and then flows outward, filling the room and bathing everyone around you in peace, love and well being.
This technique also stimulates the awakening and true expansion of your Mystic Heart.
Caution: When practicing either of these techniques, if you start to feel the pains, distresses, or negative moods of others inside your own body, discontinue these practices until you are alone. As you further develop, this sensitivity to the negative states of others will change into positive mystical experiences.
Enjoy your practice of the Radiance and the Mist. A knower of the heart becomes free!
What does my Heart — my sense of self know of life and reality?
I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey.
Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty: The Mysteries of the Heart.
“Let my heart be wise. It is the gods’ best gift,” is the way Euripides put it in his play, Medea (431 BC, Tr. Rex Warner).
Your heart makes you or breaks you, in most aspects of life. In mysticism, too, your heart enables your success or disqualifies you.
But don’t worry. Much can be done for a contracted heart. Prisoners don’t like to be in jail; they’d rather come out. The imprisoned heart loves to come forth and expand, too, when it knows how.
We turn to the Key Points of the Fifth Mystery.
- In most of us, the Heart is like a prisoner — confined, contracted, and separated.
- Mystics are ex-convicts. They broke out of the body prison to live free in spiritual light.
- Mystics break out of mind and body bondage through expansions of consciousness.
- Your Heart is your sense of self.
- Mystics term the struggling, conflicted, ambitious, worried sense of self — i.e., the normal heart — the ego.
- What is the mystical way out of ego’s life sentence? The Heart must expand.
Contemplate the state of your heart. What do you feel this minute? What do you feel about your life, yourself, and other people?
Contemplate also: What has been the journey of my heart? How far have I traveled since I was born? What has brought me here?
Farewell, ‘til next time, dear friend.
Why did I so earnestly
Enter this jail
And lock the door?
Have you any questions for me?