How do we drop what we are holding on to, if we refuse to look at our hands that grasp so tightly?
Have you ever noticed that you have more than one side? And, depending on the situation, how you oscillate between the two?
One side is cautious as it constantly concerns itself with outcomes. It frets, keeps you up at night, it doesn’t rest easily. It runs a figure 8, going around and around obsessing over every detail of unknowable outcomes. It’s relentless in its adaptability, jumping from one story to the next. This is your mind unchecked. The mind when it’s disconnected from the heart.
The majority of us fall into the trap of the dominating mind. But there is another side of you, a gift we all possess, that will from time to time slip past the guard of the mind and take over with its unlimited spirit. This part does not tremor, it acts like water that reflects light. This is your heart-centered self. The version of you that is unapologetically you.
There was a time we naturally tapped into this version of the self, but our mind learned long ago that it needed to protect the heart. It remembers the scars the heart bore when it was exposed to traumas of abuse, betrayal, or abandonment. The mind works tirelessly to guard the heart to keep us from feeling, from hurt, from love.
And the price we pay is disconnection.
When we feel vulnerable, the mind immediately intervenes. It conjures up thoughts to deny the experience, constantly whispering in your ear “hey, don’t feel, remember when you felt before? Remember how much it hurt?” The mind is so cautious, it robs us of joy to ensure that the pleasure doesn’t last too long. Until we can learn how the mind ineffectively guards the mind, we will live in a cycle of self-rejection.
For some, we reject ourself loudly with a drink, an unsafe person, or with self pain. Others are more private, cutting themselves off from the things they want the most as a means to avoid failure. The mind is so creative it will convince you that you are unloveable and powerless as a means to avoid facing pain. The mind disconnected from the heart keeps you stuck in a fearful mind that repeats self-destruction.
In order to do this, we have to actively recognize the minds attempt to guard the heart. We have to slow down and open up to the heart. We have to soften our self judgments and acknowledges our humanity with all its imperfections. We are not trying to split the heart and mind, we are trying to reunite them in harmony.
When you have conflict, remember you mind attaches to the problem and collects evidence to support its case. The hurt remains unresolved leaving behind a fissure. The mind wins, and the heart of both people are defeated.
But think to yourself what your heart wants? Let’s say we choose to calm yourself and tune in to what you need. You look in their eyes and intently listen. You choose compassion and deep listening. You don’t try to make them wrong, but seek understanding. You speak the feelings of your heart, that you are hurt, but you don’t blame.
We grow together in the sacred place of vulnerability and love. The relationship deepens.
And when your mind is anxious, creating stories of fearful thoughts and you feel like you have no grounding. You try to escape the feeling to numb the pain. But what did you just do? You ignored your heart, for the false promise of temporary distraction. And the next time it happens, you continue the cycle. Your heart is empty and neglected.
Now what would happen if you intentionally faced the pain. You dimmed the lights, took a deep breath, and joined your anxiety as a companion. You create space for it to express itself. You’ll find that the feeling slowly subsides and your mind learns a new route. It learns it can be resilient.
The inner struggle is a part of each and everyone of us. It’s incredibly hard to choose peace. Because choosing peace isn’t just saying it. It’s feeling it. But in feeling it, is a sacred place of self-acceptance that gently holds the discomforts of life.
Believing in yourself shows that you follow your heart. Accepting yourself shows that you’re effectively using your mind.