Listening to your Heart

By Satyo Cate Sullivan (guest facitiator Womens Tantra Retreat April 23-25 2010)

“The key to discovering the fulfilment that love can give us is to begin to listen to these messages. It is so easy when going about everyday life, managing, coping, and achieving, to either switch off from the heart or stay tuned in on a very surface level. If we do this too much we may find ourselves wondering why we feel dissatisfied, frustrated, restless, bored, and empty. Often this is because we are not listening in to those messages from the heart.

One way to get to know your own heart’s messages is to stop and write down the following sentence and see how you want to finish it. Keep writing this sentence each time, saying it to yourself and, without thinking it out, see what you write. The sentence is “Something my heart enjoys is …..”Just let the simple everyday things come to you as well as anything grandiose. Try not to write what you think your heart should enjoy. One of the joys of this experiment is to let yourself be surprised!!!

If it helps, put your hand on your heart beforehand for a minute to connect with it. Here are some examples I wrote:

“Something my heart enjoys is sitting at the computer writing …. (Now I didn’t expect that!)

“Something my heart enjoys is sensuous playful love making”

“Something my heart enjoys is receiving letters.”

“Something my heart enjoys is partaking in consciousness work.”

“Something my heart enjoys is listening to music by Vivaldi.”

“Something my heart enjoys is being with my goddaughter.”

“Something my heart enjoys is quality time to connect deeply with my lover”

“Something my heart enjoys is creating a beautiful place.”

Some things in life one passionately enjoys and others, just quietly so, but let your mind wander over a wide spectrum of experiences so you become familiar with the many ways your heart can resonate. A variation of this sentence you might like to try is “Something that touches my heart is …..” This can open to other realms of the heart. You can experiment with these sentences again at other times. You will come up with some new heartfelt insights each time. You may also want to consider how much space you are providing for yourself in your everyday life for what resonates with your heart.

There are some simple ways to know when your heart is sending some message to you. It is happening all the time but sometimes we forget how to listen. It is often in the ordinary moments of everyday life that it is happening. A feeling of warmth, an unexpected smile, tears or a sparkle coming to the eyes, an uplifting sense of joy, a wanting to share, often these symptoms are indicators that your heart is saying something, like “Yes, I like this person”, “I feel right in this situation”, “I like walking by the sea right now, I’ll do it a bit longer”, “I love this music, it makes me feel good”, “I am moved by this situation.”, “I need to connect with my friend”. These are the times to listen, not necessarily to act on the messages, but to get to know what your own heart is saying to you and what it feels like to experience it. Sometimes we may want to dismiss messages from the heart because the society we have created is not exactly conducive to some of its feelings. We may feel embarrassed, shy, foolish, scared, even overwhelmed by some of the feelings in the heart, depending on the situation we are in, but if we do not listen to some of its messages we can become cut off, tough, superficial or just end up creating lives that do not give us what we truly need. For example our heart may be sending us messages of attraction towards a person but that person does not fit our head’s ideal of the “right” person for us. We may miss out on a wonderful opportunity!

As you listen to the heart more you realise that it can experience many different states of being. These states can add richness, a fuller dimension to life. The heart knows joy, passion, tenderness, innocence, wonder, yearning, delight, devotion, gratitude, compassion. To taste at least some of these states of being can give a deep sense of fulfilment. Many people, the more they experience love in their lives, say “Oh, this is what life is all about!” When they get caught up and lost in the humdrum of daily living they remember to stop and listen in again to the heart. A way you can do this is to be still, focus on the area of your heart and be aware of one or two feelings that are there in that moment. Sometimes, when doing this, you may become aware of your own needs for the nourishment that a loving heart can give you. And you can provide this for yourself, seeing what your needs are in that moment, running yourself a luxurious bath, asking your lover to caress you, sitting for a while with a cup of tea or ringing a friend for a chat. You may tune in and find your heart feels full to overflowing and want to share that in some way making love, writing a letter, inviting someone over for dinner. You may just want to be present with whatever feeling is in the heart and sit and be with it, maybe lighting a candle or playing some music or you may want to take yourself out and walk somewhere you enjoy.

Sometimes when you listen to the heart there can also be feelings of wistfulness, poignancy, sadness or grief. We all have these feelings. They are part of loving and the longing for love. Allowed to be there, in a situation that feels comfortable for you, and experienced in a state of gentle compassion for yourself, they open another dimension to the love that is in the heart. They bring there own gifts. Listening to the heart is not some gooey, Iovey, dovey state. It can be nitty gritty. It brings height, breadth and depth to our lives and to our interactions with others.

Listening to the heart is enriching to your life whether you have or do not have a lover. Often it feels like we won’t know love and the warmth of the heart until someone comes and loves us. But the more you get to know how to listen to your own heart and discover its qualities the more you see how much love you have inside you already. Love is there in each of us. If you are alone at this time in your life, your sense of wellbeing will be greatly enhanced. If you do meet, or are already with a beloved, you find that, by each being in touch with your own heart you have so much more to share and explore together.