“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
Grief stole most of November. The sorrow from the sudden loss of my younger brother, two months earlier, became unbearable. When I saw this quote from Gibran I realized it was true; I was weeping for the loss of what had been my delight.
My brother and I had a special relationship. We were both aspiring writers and November held special meaning. In the past, we participated in the Nanowrimo (National Novel Writers Month) challenge; write a 50,000-word novel in November. He was “Bubba Gator” on the Nano boards and we enjoyed tracking each other’s progress online. This year his Nano board word count remained at zero. I cried every time I logged in and saw his profile picture, my handsome Bubba Gator.
In past years, at Thanksgiving, we would entertain our extended family with talk of our characters, plots, and imaginary worlds. My brother was three chapters from finishing a novel he’d been working on for years. He planned to finish this year. His teenage children have vowed to finish his book. I promised to help.
Life goes on. We heal. We grow. We keep an open heart.
Part of my healing process includes this review of Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul. As I prepared this week’s post I knew it was a timely reminder not to let grief close my heart.
Singer explains that at some point in our lives, we all feel the joy of love and the sorrow of loss. Our journey through life brings happiness and suffering. In his chapter on the spiritual heart, he helps us understand why our hearts close and what we can do to stay open.
Singer points out that much of what we experience in life gets stuck inside our hearts and our hearts tend to close to protect us from future suffering. Our heart’s energy flow becomes blocked because we either resist the negative experiences as they surface, or we cling to the positive memories.
“When you are unable to allow life’s events to pass through you, they stay inside and become a problem. These patterns may be held within you for a very long time….that unfinished energy pattern is called a ‘samskara’. This is a Sanskrit word meaning impression, and in the yogic teachings, it is considered one of the most important influences affecting your life. A samskara is a blockage, an impression from the past. It’s an unfinished energy pattern that ends up running your life.” ~ Michael Singer
Over the course of our lifetime, we can store up many samskaras resulting in a closed, hardened heart. Our past samskaras can make us hypersensitive with a tendency to over-react when we find ourselves in similar situations or feel our heart is at risk. The pain of the past comes flooding back and we close our heart and are blocked from moving forward.
So how do we move forward? Singer advises us to stay open and when the old energy patterns emerge let them pass through. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel the pain or pleasure, you do, and then you let it go. This, he says, is the heart’s purification process.
“Learn to be centered enough to watch the energy patterns come up. Once you can sit deeply enough inside and stop fighting the stored energy patterns, they’ll come up and pass right through you. Your heart will become accustomed to the process of releasing and cleansing. Just keep letting go.” ~ Michael Singer
Take time this week to watch for old energy patterns and practice letting them go. Awareness of your own samskaras is a sign of progress. Try not to linger on them, notice them coming to the surface of your heart, feel whatever energy they bring and then release.
Living with an open heart allows you to be open to new experiences and move forward – maybe even write a book!
Until next week ~Namaste