Spiritual realization, which really means the same as God experience, is not so much of a mental experience as it is a heart experience. This divine experience is within the medium of consciousness, but this consciousness is really in the heart. The heart opens its knowing consciousness. And at each stage of opening there is a greater and greater expansiveness of inner experience. Boundaries dissolve, veils drop, and a great unlimited inner space opens up. The experience is like being the unlimited conscious universe itself. There are no boundaries and the space is endless. As well, in this space there is deep peace, the deep peace of Just Being. And in this space there is only heart, only One Heart, which is the very Being of God. Everything is included in this Universal Heart Space. Even the little ego-self, and even the personal thoughts and feelings, all of which will eventually re-emerge yet to some degree transformed; this too is included in this great Heart Space of Being.
In spiritual realization, all of life including oneself, is seen as immersed in the One Ocean of Being, the One Heart, the One Love. Nothing is really outside of this Ocean; for the medium of all reality is this Ocean. We are all in God. We are all in Love. Yet until this is realized, or better yet experienced, the thinking mind will live in an illusion of separation and un-connectiveness. Then, since action follows thought and belief, our relations with each other and the world become mixed up and often messed up. But let us not dwell on such negative matters. Instead, let us go deep into the Ocean and dissolve all ego-ness into this infinite expanse of Being. Abandon all worry, all attachment, and all self-identification; and let go completely into this Great Ocean of Being, the Ocean of Love.
Be in the heart centre. We have seven major centres, so we can choose which one to be in consciously. Find the heart centre. This is freedom. It is also the centre from which self-transformation occurs. Also, when we are in the heart centre the world transforms. We become healers and emissaries of enlightened Love. The unique quality of the heart centre is love, inclusiveness, and compassion.
From within the heart, our sense of space and other people is different. For there is now a heartful inclusiveness of others. The space and others around us are no longer separate from us.
Now, we can go inward into our heart centre, and this is very good. For there is a heart consciousness that is primarily inward, where the qualities of one’s soul are found. But what is meant here by 'heart consciousness' is an openness of the heart that includes everyone as well as the inwardness of oneself. This is not just about one’s own heart centre, nor is it about being just inward.
Right now, we are speaking about a more expanded sense of the heart centre, called heart consciousness. It means consciously being in the heart, and then, outwardly coming from the heart. This is not just about myself or what is in my own heart. This heart is a shared heart. We are getting to the realization that there is really just One heart centre. So when I meet someone, from my heart centre, I am with their heart centre as well. We meet in our shared heart.
The ordinary ego perspective is that I am here and you all are over there. I am here in this little space and you folks are over there in that bit of space. So in this kind of experience there is an obvious separation between me and everyone else. And in this, there is often a struggle between myself and others, or at least there is a sense of being like balls bouncing off one another. In this perspective, we are living in a Newtonian kind of world -- where people, like particles, bounce into one another, sometimes in a nice way and sometimes not, or else the particles do not interact at all and thus seem completely irrelevant. Most people seem to live in this Newtonian kind of truth. All that mostly matters is what one immediately bumps into, or whatever oneself bumps into, and everything else seems irrelevant and insignificant in one’s life. This is also a kind of myopic, contracted consciousness. There is no bigger picture and no sensitivity to what is outside of one’s sphere of immediate influences.
Heart Consciousness is a very different experience. Heart consciousness is inclusive, rather than separative. This means that others around us, in the space around us, are included in our heart consciousness. They are included in a very beingness. This then translates into empathy and compassion. Yet even deeper in the experience is the unity of Being, whereby all people and all life are experienced as having the same Being and in the same Heart. This is both my heart and God’s Heart.
The heart experience is a sharing, a shared experience of being. We are sharing the same beingness. So there is no separativeness between us. The whole space we are in is contiguous and in unity. There is no distance. There is no me sending you this, or you sending me that. Rather, there is an instantaneous SHARING of being and heart. We are with each other. I am with you, and you are with me. We are in the same heart space of beingness, where there is no separation or distance. We are sharing in the same heart and consciousness, simultaneously, at the same time.
At first, being in this heart consciousness requires a decision, perseverance, and practice; because one has to make a shift from the usual patterns of personality and ego. But once inside the heart consciousness, it seems like home. It seems like one’s natural place of being. In fact, this is the rightful place of consciousness for the human kingdom. Yet we are just getting here.
Humanity in general is still predominantly in animal consciousness, which corresponds to the third centre from the bottom, related to self-assertiveness and mastery in the local environment. The three lower centres are important, of course, but there are other steps.
The real next evolutionary step for human beings is living in and from the heart centre. This is no small step. It is very profound step. Even for those embarked on a spiritual path, or for those in a religious path, few ever seem to arrive to live in the heart centre.
Perhaps there are two reasons for this. One is that the ego tendency is so great, and is so supported by world culture, that it is too hard to find the real heart centre and maintain consciousness there. Two is that there is so many other “distractions” in most religions and spiritual teachings – so many ideas or so many rules – that the most important Idea gets lost, which is that the heart is home and the place to return. This is what Jesus was trying to tell us – simply that love is essential and home is in the heart. The whole world will be transformed when more and more people come to live in the heart centre and express themselves from the heart.
Love and appreciation are the opposite and the antidote of being judgmental. Judgment has a usefulness in life, in the sense of having discernment and knowing what could be better (or a next step). But if we get stuck into a judgmental mode, either about others or about our own self, then we are just creating more problems - since judgment will never heal anyone, nor will judgment bring one into the next better step. Only love heals. Only love solves things and makes them better. At the same time, we should not become naive about what is wrong or not working. So we do need to have discernment between what is functional and dysfunctional, or between what is healing/smart vs. harmful/stupid.
So can we see some good in everyone and everything? This is not to mean that everyone and everything is all good, but since there is some good everywhere and in everyone, it follows that we could see the good rather than the bad.
There may be some negative stuff. There probably is. It’s easy to find faults. It’s also easy to find something to complain about. But maybe we decide to experience life in a different way. Go ahead and acknowledge the bad, the negative, the ugly, the faults. But let us move on very quickly from this fault-finding. A few seconds is enough. What a drag it is to dwell on this anymore.
Instead, move on to the positive, to the good. Find something positive and good to focus on, and also to nurture. Appreciate the good, the love, the subtle beauty of anyone or any place. And instead of putting focus and discussion on what is wrong about someone else, acknowledge whatever we can find that is good, then give them credit and positive feedback for this.
Heart-consciousness accepts all, but only creates good. We can find fault with someone for their poor choices or for their self-centered actions, but all they can do is to make better next time – so might as well concentrate on giving them the ideas and encouragement to make better next time.