A Heart as Wide as the World

To have a heart as wide as the world—a phrase I first heard from meditation teacher and author Sharon Salzberg—is my aspiration.  In Buddhist psychology the heart is not separate from the mind, which is known as citta in Sanskrit.  This heart-mind of mine would be wise, compassionate, equanimous, grounded, joyful, receptive, active—you get the picture.

When I place my awareness (my mind) in the center of my heart with that loving intention, I can feel how connected I am, to myself and to the entire universe and all it contains.  Sometimes the image comes to me that my heart is bigger than my body and that I am held within it.

I have to be careful when I play with that energy, however.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming and I find myself with a familiar feeling of spacing out rather than connecting.  I’ve been given the nickname in the past of “Space Cadet,” which can be fun if it’s purposeful but not so much when I’m just drifting.  That’s when I need to get grounded, sometimes with the touch of a hand in yoga or a massage, a good long walk, or time spent with loving and wise friends.  Then I come back to earth to do the everyday work of living with an open heart.

In this last photo, I am grounding my little cut-out self on a rock which I found on retreat at Lake Tahoe soon after walking on sacred Mt. Kailash in Tibet.

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