You do want to open your heart. Without it, life is cold and heartless.
Much of the world’s conflict comes from a heavy, closed heart. By opening your heart, and keeping it expansive, you will help yourself, others and the world to be a more loving place.
To help, here then are five practical suggestions …
1. See unity in diversity.
The world is made of different races and nationalities. People have taken the distinct differences between groups to artificially divide themselves based on fear and prejudice.
Yet our multi-cultural, multi-international world is a tremendous resource. Just as each person is unique, each race and culture is special too.
Being more inclusive means being open and respectful, even to those who disagree with you.
By interacting and learning from others, we can value everyone more, including ourselves. Throughout our rich diversity and history, we all share the same planet together.
Heart-Opening Question: How can I help myself and others and learn from those who have different backgrounds from me?
2. Finding your core values.
This statement can be overlooked with a quick answer of “Yes, of course I have values.” We all have many values, and there are many worthwhile values to have. But you can only prioritize and act on a handful.
To gain clarity, it’s good to know your top values: spirituality? honesty? authenticity? beauty? fairness? contribution? boldness? creativity? Or other ones?
All good, but which ones catch your eye? Yes sometimes certain circumstances bring out different values. One situation may test your honesty, another one your courage and another calls for your authenticity.
When you prioritize your values, life becomes more valuable. You find and create meaning more often.
Heart-Opening Questions: What do you stand for? What motivates and inspires you? What causes you to take action?
3. Find common ground with others.
In the first suggestion, you find ways to appreciate the differences in others. The second suggestion has you prioritize what you value. That leads the way for an open heart to find common ground with others.
On a physical level, researchers have discovered there is no such thing as racial purity. Each person’s DNA has a mixture of different races.
Also, we all have similar needs: safety, belonging and creativity. We all want to be happy and prosper.
And those of us who want to self-actualize and self-transcend, have even more motivation to connect with others. By suspending judgments, we can see that we often have more that connects us than separates us.
Find a way to make a connection. It’s easy to talk past each other, so start by listening. There’s a good chance if you listen, the other person will listen to you.
Heart-Opening Question: How can I help others meet their needs while meeting my own? How can I live together with others? How can I listen to others?
4. Find hope.
Yes. we all experience dark times, sometimes before the dawn (which can seemingly take a long time to appear).
Hope rises from the heart. It finds compassion and insights to stay positive amidst the troubles you face. Hope comes from helping others who are sick, and those who are victims of natural disasters, oppression and crime.
Heart-Opening Questions: What is the good that will come out of this? There must be a light here to show me the way?
5. Be neutral and detached.
The heart experiences a wide range of emotions from fear to love. In our heart of hearts, we can embrace it all and see the bigger picture. An open heart needs space. When we calm our active brain of opinions, we can breather and free ourselves of self-imposed limits.
Labels disappear and we are with what is. We can experience life more freely without reacting and judging.
Heart-Opening Questions: How can I allow this experience to happen, without judging? How can I learn from it and just be with it?
We have been discussing the emotional and spiritual dimensions of the heart. By following the above five suggestions, you might find your physical heart benefiting as well. You may allay stress, have a stronger immune system, gain more energy and better psychological balance.
Beyond left and right, good and bad, white and black, resides our heart – filled with love and guiding us to do what is right for ourselves and all concerned.
To see the How to Open Your Heart Video that accompanies this article plus other holistic resources go to http://gettingthru.org/holistic