open up your heart

Can we open a flower in each other’s heart? Can we remove every thorn embedded therein? Yes, a thousand times yes, when we come to this deep authentic realization: Why be hard and cruel when we know how to be soft and tender. Why put a glowering distance when we know how to stay lovingly near. Why curse when we know how to bless. Why bend under the burdened grudge when we know how to forgive and be in light. We know. And we must put this wise knowing to work. A rose does not know, yet, when you crush it, it gives out a beautiful fragrance. We can do exactly the same knowingly. When ‘crushed, our softness, tenderness, loving proximity, blessing, forgiveness is the fragrance we give out.

Peace-realisation must go deep into the mind consciousness, deep into the body subconscious. To sow peace in every thought, in every cell, in every drop of blood, the best practice is meditation. The two most beautiful meditations are The Breath of Surrender and The Tunnel Meditation.

In The Breath of Surrender, you become an inward traveler with the breath as your guide. The average mind is in a familiar little garden landscaped by years of thought. In The Breath of Surrender, you allow your breath to guide you out of this limited garden into a higher limitless field inside you. This field is infinitely spacious, has a greater order, a still sacredness, a wonderful quietude.

To do this meditation, sit in a comfortable, supported position. Close your eyes gently. Silence the chattering mind by saying repeatedly, “Shh! This too shall pass.” You find your breath slowing down, deepening, as the mind quietens. Now, begin to breathe consciously. Count to eight each time you breathe in, feeling your breath flow into your nostrils. Each time you breathe out, surrender completely to the Divine; thank the Divine for the present, past, future; thank the Divine for accepting your emotions and problems. Breathe in, breathe out until you feel peace steal into you, your body stills, a silent awareness floats inside of you. Stay in this infinite field as long as you can.

This practice gently guides the egoistic mindto surrender its morbid, destructive reactions—doubt, cynicism, criticism, skepticism, argumentativeness, fear, false superiority… The mind needs to surrender, otherwise, each explosion of anger, each outburst of hostility, each overflow of bitterness makes you weaker, sicker, more fragile, more drained of life. The mind needs to surrender because it tends to egoistically equate “my way” as “the only right way” and causes destructive friction with loved ones. To surrender is constructive as each time you surrender your negativeness, you create one more chance, one more step to move into cheer, into happiness. The mind needs to surrender to enable you to ignore the ego that puts contradictions and doubts in the way of any loving act you plan. The mind needs to surrender to enable you to put your energy with sincere certainty into thinking forgiving, loving thoughts without expectation, without fear of being outdone or snubbed, without internal calculating, without bargaining. When all your energy is channeled so lovingly, so open-heartedly, then only the very best happens to you.

Please understand, the mind that refuses to surrender is an egoistic mind that prides itself as clever, superior, as one who knows all, as one who cannot be fooled, as one who must be served and obeyed by all. Ah no! Listen to the wisdom of the great sage Chandra Swami. “Throw away your cleverness and have bewilderment,” he commands. “Cleverness is perverted opinion; bewilderment is the ecstasy of innocence.” It takes a courageous mind to dare to be bewildered! Several experiences of The Breath of Surrender are required to smoothen mental distortions and convince the mind to drop the ego and wholly accept [not judge or criticize] those you love, those you interact with, those you think about.

Another excellent practice is The Tunnel Meditation. Here, too, you sit comfortably. Bend your elbows, raise your hands in blessing with palms facing outward. Now, think of yourself as an instrument for peace, love, forgiveness. Think of yourself as an empty tunnel, like a hollow flute. Imagine that the Divine is pouring through your crown great quantities of peace, love, forgiveness. They flow through your entire body—head, face, neck, shoulders, arms, torso, legs, feet—as golden liquid light. Gradually, this golden liquid light of peace, love, forgiveness collects in your heart as a pool, then becomes an overflowing lake. This overflow spills into your arms, rises to your hands and radiates through your palms to those that you think about. Feel a deep compassionate wish to resolve their suffering. Feel a deep compassionate wish not to contribute to their stress and tension. Say slowly, “May every moment of my life and the life of my loved ones be full of peace, full of joy, full of health, full of happiness, full of love.”

You will be amazed at how The Tunnel Meditation dissolves impurities like anger, stubbornness, resentment, disgust, bitterness from your system. Now, you must allow this new cleansed, loving, divine feeling to be a way of being. It must reflect in your thoughts, in your behaviour toward your near and dear ones. No judging, no criticizing, no condemning, no demanding. There is a danger that when the effect of meditation fades in the course of the day, the mind will attempt to revert to its old tricky, non-divine ways. That’s why it is important to be mindful, to be watchful. Tread softly for you tread on your loved ones’ mental, spiritual, living space through your behaviour. For joyous peace to endure, you must be willing to give up expectations, selfish ways and desires, the egoistic idea of ‘I am always right’. Remember this: when anger explodes, joyous peace is instantly aborted; when egoism, pride, possessiveness [the ‘my’ syndrome] rises, joyous peace is quickly smothered. Realise: it is better to be loving than to be right; it is better to be loving than to be perfect. The beautiful flower, the perfect flower was created not from an egoistic , self-important sense of perfection, but from the greatness of love and reverence, from a great divine heart.

Give appreciation instead of criticism and see how your mind relaxes, how the faces of your loved ones flow—like flowers turning their faces to the sun. Be good-natured instead of vile-tempered and see how your heart and home radiate a tranquil joy. Find sweet contentment in small things instead of sour dissatisfaction in no-things [things that don’t matter] and see how genuine fulfillment overflows in every living moment, how sunburstingly beautiful and divine everything appears.

In your interactive life, continue to think of yourself as an empty tunnel, a hollow flute. When air flows through you, when thoughts glide through you, what comes out as your breath, your words, your actions is melodious, healing music. You are the flute through which the Divine [as depicted by Krishna] plays the song of life. You have seven chakras as does Krishna’s flute have seven apertures. These seven chakras are gifted by the Divine to enable you to give a creative melodious response to life, to celebrate life as an art by living with the harmonious skills of love and care. This is your purpose—to bless yourself and your loved ones with the symphony of peace, of joy, every single living day.