To Blow the Heart Wide Open

OFTEN WE FEEL as though we’re confined inside our own minds, where on trying days, thoughts fly by like cars on a highway; like listless clouds on the days we’d like to hold on to and stay a while.

Our inner world and outer world seek congruence as one shapes the other, as our thoughts project what we see, and what we see becomes our reality.

And sometimes it feels that our thoughts have felt like cars flying by for too long. Like we can’t grab a hold of anything, not a second to stop and think, not a moment to reflect instead of always moving.

Perhaps we have to stay moving in an effort not to think for too long.

We might not want to know what’s really there, what those cars signify that continue to blow past. But if we had the chance to watch the clouds move, what would we see?

If we had a second to observe the world, what might we discover?

It can be that the world is trying to tell us something.

Show us something, in the ways the clouds move and in the way the waves break, in the way the light changes as it falls beyond the mountains. It may be telling us what we need in the sound of the wind blowing.

With our attention averted, one day the signs might become too much — a gale wind will knock us off our feet, ask us to stop and look up.

And then we might realize that what we’d been seeking, the answers to the pain and the well of boundless life, were in front of us all along.

That when we stop trying to see, stop trying to find and just watch for a second, the subtleties of existence would share their secrets.

The Irish poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney portrays this moment of awakening in his poem, Postscript.

“And some time make the time to drive out west

Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,

In September or October, when the wind

And the light are working off each other

So that the ocean on one side is wild

With foam and glitter, and inland among stones

The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit

By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans;”

To me, emersion into a moment in nature provides just what we need when when our mind, our body and soul need healing. That moment of existence is unaware of our presence, and that’s the key.

When our mind needs quieting, or body restoration and our soul seeks the light again, a talk with a friend helps unburden a heavy heart; but to get out into the world and watch it move as it does without our knowing provides a sense of separation from ourself and a recalibration with reality.

Heaney writes:

“You are neither here nor there,

A hurry through which known and strange things pass

As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways

And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.”

Neither here nor there — here: in our own mind, in our own body, with two feet planted firmly on the ground. There: engaged with the world, seeing life move, reality from our own two eyes.

Until something catches our attention. We’re moved, shaken. A sign comes from an unknown source to “catch the heart off guard and blow it open.”

That line. Is there a better way to describe the beauty of life, the pain, the suffering, the questioning, the awakening, the gift of living.

We wake up when rocked by a novel thought that comes like lightning. We find that there’s a chance to live again, anew; there’s a reason we’ve endured and fought our way through the darkness.

Because the light waiting on the other side is unlike anything we’ve experienced before.

That the reason we’re here is to feel the power of the heart, to feel what it’s like to have it hurt and to use that hurt for our ultimate revival.

The world will tell us, it will send signs from an unknown place and for a long time we won’t know what it means.

Until one day on an unexpected drive along a lake or the ocean or under the shadow of a mountain, we will.

No Comments

I'd love to hear your thoughts!