Sw Asokananda said that having a wide open heart is not painful, what’s painful is when you start to close it (and he’s right). When my heart is wide open I am happy. But we, as a culture, don’t know what a wide open heart looks like. We misunderstand it. It makes us uncomfortable. I am constantly being required to compartmentalize my relationships. You fit here (and you fit there). This is the label that goes here. This is what I want (this is what I don’t want). Well, you know what? I’m calling bullshit on that.
I don’t have space for labels and compartmentalizing (and I am terrible at it, anyway).
I like you (I love you, but I realize that’s probably too much info at this point). I want to tell you that because I hope it will make you happy (and I like you, so I want to make you happy). Maybe I like you all the time. Maybe I only like you right now. Either way, if I am being nice to you it is because of a genuine affection for you that is not possessive or sexual.
You probably don’t believe me (no one believes me) and one of us is gonna end up getting hurt.
When it comes from me it’s usually much simpler than anyone wants to make (take) it. I like you (I love you), no caveats, no strings attached. Plain and simple, I can see and value the gloriousness of your existence. Maybe you have inspired me or intrigued me. Maybe you made my day or simply made me smile. For that I am thrilled that you are here in this physical manifestation we call reality.
and therein lies the problem.
I am an enthusiastic person. I really do thrill to think that people exist. I get so excited about new people and old people and remembering how much I love people that it gets overwhelming. Have you ever been so overwhelmed with affection for someone that you just had to tell them? (Not just your significant other, best friends, or kids… I mean, the waitress who remembered your favorite drink or the parking lot attendant who is wearing a tour tshirt for your favorite obscure band)
I know you do.
Things happen every day that remind us that we, inherently, love each other. But the question is, do you let yourself love? Or do you shrug it off and go on with your day? The programmed response is to walk away. We are rarely genuinely and selflessly honest enough that we tell another person how great they are without wanting anything back other than their happiness. I think too often we find that being nice and supportive and loving leaves us vulnerable. My problem is that I don’t realize it until it is too late. I never realize that I have made myself vulnerable. I don’t realize that a majority of the people I interact with (even the ones I know so well) don’t understand what it means to love for the sake of loving. They don’t recognize a wide open heart. and sometimes it hurts them because they want a different kind of love than the simple kind I know how to give. or it hurts me because they think my love implies some kind of possessiveness or demand for reciprocity. It is rarely allowed to be what it is. All I can think (hope) is that eventually we each find someone that we can love easily. We each find someone who trusts us and lets us love them the way we love them.
As for now, I am in a relationship with my practice. I love my practice. I love it so much it hurts.
Sometimes I cry I am so overwhelmed with my enthusiasm for it (and we have already addressed my enthusiastic nature). My practice never leaves me vulnerable. It teaches me lessons and demands that I grow and change. It goes with me every step of every day, every continent and country. It doesn’t get upset if I bail for however long. It’s right there when I am ready. and through my practice I know that I am loved. I know that I am profoundly loved. Through my practice I become so aware of and overwhelmed by the sheer quantity and power of this love that I have to give it away. I have to share it with others.
So you know what? It’s not me, it’s you (maybe not you, the reader, since you are, after all, reading). I have a wide open heart. So wide open that I am constantly getting hurt. Constantly loving people so much that I can’t stand it and I eventually realize I have to stay away from them because they can’t stand it either. But I am not going to close my heart to match yours. I am sure that that will hurt more. Maybe one day I will meet someone who will let me have my wide open heart, no caveats, no strings attached, but until that day, I have the practice and all the love that I can imagine.
I have been concerned lately that I was slipping a bit away from the living and breathing yoga that I was once more consciously aware of. But I don’t think so. Maybe my approach has shifted, but yoga is still there with each breath.