Article 4 of 4-Part series
By Ed Rubenstein, Ph.D.,
As we begin the final article of this 4-part series, let’s review the four most common misperceptions that participants raise in Open Heart Meditation and Open Heart for Everyone workshops:
1. I will get hurt if I open my heart.
2. If I open my heart, I won’t be able to say “no.” Others will take advantage of me.
3. I will pick up other people’s negative energy if my heart opens.
4. If my heart really opens, I may lose control of who I am.
It is important to reiterate that if we believe any of these misperceptions, then a part of us is guarding and inhibiting our willingness to experience all of the benefits that come from living a heart-centered life. These beliefs also limit our natural ability to access and experience our heart’s innate wisdom.
Again, it bears repeating that opening our heart and living a heart-centered life is the key to a joyful and fulfilled existence and the key to experiencing being unconditionally loved.
Overcoming Misperception Number 4: If My heart really opens, I will not lose control of who I am.
The fear of losing control, or being controlled, is something we have most likely all faced at some point in our lives. We often feel safe with our familiar old ways, even if they create mental discomfort, separation and emotional pain. We may have a fear of letting go of familiar habits because we don’t know what will happen if we do. It is important to realize that holding on to a need to be in control with a dominant mind as the CEO is not a path that leads to our ultimate happiness. Yet, when we begin to allow our heart to open, we limit the opening because of concerns of the unknown.
Our mind may think, “If I let go completely, I will cease to exist.” We allow our mind to hold on tightly because we have a fear of losing control. From the perspective of our dominant mind, we must strive to maintain control; however, from the perspective of our heart, the need to control is an illusion that keeps us separated from our deepest connection with the core of our being.
guarding an illusion that we convinced ourselves is a treasure
We hold onto the idea of control because we have convinced ourselves that this is how we remain free to be “who we are.” But what we are protecting through this false sense of control is not who we really are, but a limited understanding that we created. It’s like spending our life, guarding and defending a treasure and then finding out it’s not really a treasure but something we just thought had great value. Only then do we realize that this is holding us back from experiencing the greatest treasure of all—our heart—because our heart is the key to true happiness, joy and fulfillment.
Once the illusion is unveiled, we can see that by living with a dominant mind, our life experiences lack the depth of fulfillment that we can only experience when our heart is open. This is because a mind that is dominant acts from a place of reactivity with the need to defend its boundaries in order to maintain the false perception of safety. Although the dominant mind may appear “healthy” and have well-developed means of protecting itself, the more it defends its boundaries, the more out of control it really is. Yet we don’t realize this, because it appears so normal and this is all that we have ever known.
When our mind is dominant, it prevents us from realizing the extent to which we live in isolation, alone and disconnected from a truly safe and intimate experience with life itself.
Trading Your Burdens for a Much More Peaceful LIfe
If you are still concerned about what will happen if your mind becomes less dominant and your heart plays a larger role, remember that you will be trading your burdens and distress for a much more peaceful and joyful life. You will not feel as if you lost yourself, rather you will feel that you have lost the heaviness of your problems and baggage. It will feel comforting as if you are coming home to who you truly are!
Rather than living with a dominant mind in charge, you will enjoy living a life guided by the intelligence and wisdom of your heart. Your mind then becomes an ally as you function in your daily life. Your brain/mind becomes a wonderful support system with all its positive qualities, instead of engaging in various types of sabotage or conflicting battles with itself. When our heart and mind work together as a team, we see life through very different eyes. The deeper levels of peace, joy, fulfillment, and gratitude we experience in our daily lives become our norm.
So if you had any concerns about opening your heart and living a heart-centered life, I hope they have been addressed in this series! Learn more by exploring Open Heart Meditation and experiencing free Open Heart for Everyone online sessions.