“Crap,” I think.
I am smack in the middle of teaching a 7 week chakra series. I’m also having a fight with one of my best friends, feeling all bitch-on-wheelsy, and not super into getting out of bed. Oh, and what topic am I scheduled to teach on in yoga class this morning? The heart chakra, of course.
Less than inspired, I use one finger to google, “fourth chakra yoga.” Search results include: blah, blah, blah, LOVE, blah, blah, blah UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, blah, blah, blah, LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, blah, blah, blah, HEART OPENERS, blah, blah, blah TURN INSIDE, blah, blah, blah, BACKBENDS, blah, blah, blah, OPEN YOUR HEART.”
I so do not feel like doing this.
Hearts are funny. Where emotions are concerned, science emphasizes brain activity and hormonal response. So how the heck did the heart come to be the seat of emotion, anyway? It’s right up there with classic questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” I mean, it sure feels like we feel with our heart, doesn’t it? Anyone who’s ever broken one can attest.
In the circles I run in there’s a lot of New Agey talk about LOVE and THE HEART. Hearts are supposed to be OPEN not CLOSED! So, if your heart isn’t adequately opened you’ve got yourself a problem. BAD, BAD, CLOSED HEART!
Hey, I know! Why not just do some handstands, sing some kirtan chants, and meditate on LOVE like the latest guru-guy says? He knows what he’s talking about. After all–he’s wearing a John Lennon T-shirt. (Oh, and if you think it’s creepy that he asks for your phone number after class just go ‘head and open your heart some more.)
But I’ve got a class to teach, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to google my way to inspiration. Instead, I lie down on my yoga mat. I close my eyes and place both hands on my chest.
I do not try to open my heart.
I just breathe into it. Sort of.
It’s pure knot today. I feel around for a free end to loosen with my breath but do not find one.
A heart–a genuine heart–is a bloody sort of a thing. It’s all subterranean gristle and muscle and vein.
Here’s what I think: I think we move rhythmically. I think sometimes hearts are more open and sometimes more closed. I think that’s how hearts are designed. I think the relentless pursuit of an ever-opening heart is a bad idea–a shame-inducing scam. Beware of those who tell you to open your heart; they all too often have an agenda of their own.
Sometimes a heart is oh so quiet and hard to hear. Sometimes it roars. Sometimes it is ravenous–a hungry ghost. Then, unexpectedly, it is sated. Sometimes a heart churns with venom; sometimes with nectar.
9:15am. Time to go. I am not going to open my heart this morning.
That’s okay–I would prefer to simply make peace with the gristly thing anyway. I curl to the side, gather up my car keys, and head out the door.
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