Q: I wanted to ask you how can I manage to open my heart when there are a lot of different, unpleasant emotions and two people who are afraid of one another?
John: If you try to diminish unpleasant emotions, you’re feeding them. As soon as it matters to you that you even have unpleasant emotions, you’re feeding them. You’re increasing what matters to you. What you give your awareness to, you make stronger. What you give your awareness to, you’re using and you’re exercising. What you give your awareness to, you put to use. If it matters to you that you have unpleasant emotions, you’re exercising what is unpleasant to you. When you have unpleasant emotions, any energy that you give to it – wishing to change it, wishing that it wasn’t there, wishing that the unpleasant emotion wouldn’t be there, wishing that it would go away, wishing that you could be free of it – all that feeds the unpleasant emotion. The unpleasant emotion gives you much to do. If the unpleasant emotion gives you something to deal with, then that emotion occupies you and keeps you busy. That feeds it.
In the midst of your emotion, the negative emotion, identify what you know the truth of in your heart, not what you know about the emotion but what you know in your heart that has nothing to do with the emotion. It has no connection to it. Identify what you know in your heart and what you love knowing. Identify a subtlety of goodness. Identify what touches your heart, what moves your heart. As your awareness goes to that, you’re feeding that. You’re exercising what you know. You’re exercising a subtlety of goodness. You’re exercising what you know in your heart.
The power that normally goes to your emotions then goes directly to goodness. It goes to you. That makes you grow. You flourish in the midst of your negative emotion, and the negative emotion melts away. It passes away because you’re not giving anything to it. You don’t even have need of it going away. There’s nothing there about your negative emotion that has your attention.
If you’re happily dancing while the sun shines, and when the weather changes and it becomes windy or rainy or cold and you stop dancing because you don’t like the weather, then the power that you’ve given to your dancing goes to the weather and you’re no longer dancing. If you’re happily dancing despite the weather, you have a depth of happiness that isn’t easily affected by something outside of it.
Q: This sounds easy, but this is exactly what I do. I stop dancing when the weather gets cloudy and…
John: It’s not easy. It can be exceedingly difficult but, as difficult as it can be, it is simple. Love the simplicity of it and that removes all unnecessary difficulty. There’ll no longer be the added difficulty of you adding emotion to the difficulty that you have of the emotion. You won’t be stirring up extra difficulty. When you don’t like the difficulty, you increase it. If the difficulty doesn’t distract you from dancing, it diminishes.
What matters most is that you are in what you love of what you know in your heart. That’s the part that makes you dance. The greater the difficulty that you’re in, the deeper within that you dance from. Difficulty calls upon what’s deeper in you. It doesn’t call upon you to distract you. If it does distract you, then you’re using the difficulty as a distraction. Difficulty can’t be a problem. You have deeper resources, within, to draw from, depending on the difficulty that you’re in and the nature of the difficulty.
When you’re in difficulty, your dancing doesn’t stop. It does change. It changes because you’re expressing something that’s deeper. You’re expressing a depth in you that you haven’t expressed before. The greater the difficulty in your life, the deeper the beingness in you that’s being drawn up and that grows.
Difficulty is meant to soften your heart. It’s meant to tenderize your heart. It isn’t meant to close or harden your heart. When you don’t like the difficulty, you harden and you close. When you like what you know, you open and you soften.
Like what you know in your heart while you’re in the midst of unpleasant emotions. The power of not-liking belongs to liking, with the liking having no relationship to the emotion. The relationship of the liking is to what you know in your heart; it’s to what you love. That makes you all-weather love. When you are being fair-weather love, you’re not being all of you.
Not liking something, having reactivity to something, satisfies your nervous system where your nervous system is connected into what is unintegrated in your self. The more you give it, the stronger it becomes. It keeps increasing what is not integrated in your self. When you like and you love what you know, the power that normally goes to your nervous system in what is unintegrated in your self goes to you. It goes to what is really you, enabling an opening of what is really you in the midst of what is not integrated in your self.
That’s the beginning of the integration of your self. Your real presence comes into a part of your self that isn’t like what is really you. That’s the beginning of your self turning; turning to face what you really are. As it faces what you really are, it responds to you. With time it changes.
When you are being the same as what is unintegrated in your self, when you are being the same as an unpleasant emotion, your self faces you and it becomes exactly what you are being in it. You keep teaching it to be the way that it is. Your self follows your example in it. Your self is like a child. You need to raise your child, love your child, teach your child. You are its clarity. There’s no greater power to what is unintegrated as the power of example.
When you are in what you love, difficulty doesn’t stop you. It doesn’t hinder you. It does help you reach even more deeply into what you love. Difficult weather doesn’t discourage the growth of a tree. It directs its energy to its roots and the roots grow deeper. Love being like the tree.
Life isn’t about your personal experience. It’s all about what you know the truth of in your heart in the midst of what you experience in your self, bringing up your beingness into your heart, filling your heart and that infilling overflowing your heart into your self, regardless of what you’re experiencing in it, regardless of the weather in your self. You need every kind of weather for your heart to grow in your self. It works.