There is spiritual theory, and then there is spiritual reality.
In order to have theory become reality there must be direct experience. A spiritual concept will live in the head and have no real impact. When life in some way pushes a theory will fail you. Every time.
When life is pushing and the theory fails, in that failure is a glint of possibility. Depending on what you do with that failure it will either be buried in denial or integrated via direct experience. Leaning away the lesson is left to be recycled. Leaning in, a vague theory becomes a felt-reality. What you suspected to be true becomes a living truth. It becomes real and vital and sustainable. Every time.
For over twenty years I have talked about and deeply practiced the supremacy of the open heart. I know it to be the portal through which Source flows and our Souls flower. When spiritual theory is literally dropped down into the heart-center that theory becomes, via direct and intimate experience, a living reality. It is no longer a theory. It is a certainty.
Perhaps the most challenging part of developing the capacity to live with an open heart is that is requires a deep and consistent level of defenseless and vulnerability. Much like the rhythm of the physical organ every closure of the sacred heart is but an invitation for reopening. Sustained energetic closure will prevent the openness needed for the spiritual flowering to occur. The heart becomes congested and emergence becomes stifled.
What prevents a persistent level of heart-openness is unresolved emotional wounding. The fear of repeated hurt results in defensiveness and closure. This wounding is largely precognitive and is not integrated by repeated story telling or increased theory. This woundedness is healed and integrated in one way: it is felt.
This feeling process takes courage and it takes patience. It requires a level of simple staying presence that is uncommon in our culture today. This is not a cognitive process. You cannot integrate what is precognitive by repeatedly talking about it. This is pure, felt-sense, compassionate exploration. This exploration becomes the direct experience in which spiritual theory becomes spiritual reality. Like it or not, our spiritual reality is just on the far side of emotional fluency.
This is not accomplished with the head. This is indeed an adventure of the heart.
Which brings me back to the supremacy of the heart.
One of my chief spiritual practices for many years now has been to remain keenly aware of my heart center and to the degree of openness or closure that is happening in my present moments. Heart-centering has radically transformed my experience of prayer and of relationship. These practices have taken me deeply into my interior. I have faced the pain and darkness of a lifetime. While it has been far from comfortable it has been remarkedly rewarding and liberating. I have learned what leads me to closure and I have been led to courageously choose reopening. I am a different person as a result of this work. It is the foundation of my life and of my ministry.
And now life is taking me even more deeply into the adventure of wholeheartedness.
Contained within the portal of my mostly open spiritual heart is an organ that is increasingly and dangerously malfunctioning. In order to restore my physical heart, I will soon face the reality of open-heart surgery. Part of what the surgeon will be doing is replacing the aortic valve, restoring the natural flow of blood in and out of my heart.
While this is relatively new information the effects of the disorder have been increasingly difficult to deal with for quite some time. I cannot with any level of authenticity say that I am okay with what is about to happen. I am not. Yet.
I am approaching this with the same level of heart-devotion that I have been practicing for all these years. I am staying attentive and non-attached to how others are reacting. I am leaning into all the nuances that are moving within me. I am asking deep and personal questions of myself. I am not interested in why this happening. I am only interested in the fact that it is happening. I am committed to learning everything I can about myself in this process. I am devoted to gleaning every bit of good from this adventure. I am dedicated to being more on the other side of it. To living and loving and serving more. To being even more of a heart-troubadour. This will be an expansion of my platform and my ministry.
The success rate of these procedures is high. And it is not 100%. I am taking time these days to lean into that possibility. If these were to be the final days and weeks of this lifetime how will I choose to show up in them? What am I most called to express? What is it that would be left undone, ungiven? Who would it be hardest to say good-bye to? What have I yet to forgive? What do I want my legacy to be?
What do I want my legacy to be?
This process is leaving me to feel incredibly sensitive and vulnerable. I go through weepy moments. I feel even more open than usual. I am grateful for that, and I am employing nothing that would deaden or disengage me. I am truly pondering all these things in my heart. It may be physically leaky, but it is spiritually engaged, open, and perfect.
There isn’t a lot of theory left for me. God has become a living reality. It is for sure a direct experience. I live It imperfectly for sure. Sometimes there is a slush-back of my attempts to flow forth as love. Sometimes my closure is more prolonged than at other times. But reopen I do.
Reopen I do.
With every heartbeat that is remaining, I devote myself to being the reality of love. Being anything else is just too painful.