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Lesson 228 -
Heart Opening and Service (Audio)
Date: Sat Aug 21, 2004 5:25pm
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: On the heart chakra matter, as my understanding is (I am a pranic healer,
and in our school the first meditation we are taught addresses the heart
chakra...), heart chakra difficulties stem from one of man's most primary
tendencies -- that of receiving and not giving, be it of love, money,
emotion, time, what have you.
We are comfortable taking things, but not so much in giving. The best way to
open up the heart, our guru tells us, is to serve other sentient beings, be
they human, animal or even subtle beings.
We do this by healing, in western countries I am sure there must be many
opportunities of community service. It does not matter whether the receiver
is appreciative of our gesture, so long as we are "giving from the heart",
so to say.
Of course, the flip side -- all giving and no receiving -- is not good
either... there needs to be a healthy balance.
Aside from that, from my understanding of chakras, it would not be just the
heart chakra which needs a bit of cleansing, but also the accompanying solar
plexus chakra, which is where we tend to store our emotions. And bastrika
pranayama and nauli are excellent to get the solar going.
In my experience, it is also a good idea to invoke the divine for protection
before embarking on the day's practises. A small point, but one that seems
to be omitted astonishingly often.
A: Thank you for your feedback on opening the heart chakra.
It is a chicken and egg thing - service and heart opening. Which comes
first, service or heart opening? Service is both cause and effect of heart
opening. Heart opening is both cause and effect of service. I lean toward
beginning with the latter, using advanced yoga practices to purify and open
the heart (and the entire nervous system), and service comes up naturally
with the resulting inner silence and ecstatic conductivity. Service then
plays an important role in marrying silence with ecstasy into an endless
fountain of divine love pouring out and merging with everything everywhere,
and that is enlightenment. Service is encouraged in the lessons to promote
this process, i.e., meditate, and then go out and help someone in need.
Under "Service" in the topic
the web site, there are links to a few of the lessons where it is discussed.
What I am reluctant to do is beat people over the head with codes of
conduct, including the "service imperative." I think everyone will find
their service tendency naturally. All it takes is some good yoga and an
occasional reminder. Service lives within us all. It is called karma yoga,
and comes up naturally through the connectedness of yoga that we have
discussed previously in the lessons.
Going inward first is the approach to yama and niyama (codes of conduct) in
the lessons - purify and open first, and then let's go share our bubbling
bliss with the world. That kind of service never burns out. Enforced service
behavior does burn out, because it has a limited spiritual foundation
That is why the practices come first in the lessons - first build a
foundation of inner silence, and then build the house of living generously
with our energy in the world. Practices and service go together. One without
the other leads to stagnation. A foundation without a house is pretty
boring, and a house without a foundation can't last (and can lead to heart
problems). So both are needed at the same time, and it really doesn't matter
much which one we start with, as long as we end up with both. This is how
the heart can be opened with great effectiveness. It is a formula for good
health all the way around -- spiritual and physical.
I agree that starting our practices and daily activity with remembrance of
our chosen ideal is very good. In fact, a continuing hunger for our chosen
ideal (ishta) is a blessing. This is bhakti. Cultivating our desire for the
divine to a fever pitch is the greatest yoga practice of them all. With
that, all of yoga and its fruits come quickly.
The guru is in you.
Related Lessons Topic Path
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Note: For detailed
discussion on the role of service on our path, see the
AYP Bhakti and Karma Yoga book,
and AYP Plus.
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