In Pema Chodron’s books, she often talks about the awakened heart or the Bodhichitta. The awakened heart is the space in the heart where compassion, kindness, and honesty reside. It is the soft spot you feel when love and joy are so intense. It is also the soft wounded spot that can be touched when we care about someone and get hurt. The thing is, this spot is a tremendous asset to us. It allows us to love, comfort, and care for one another. When we allow the soft spot to remain after being hurt, it teaches us empathy and compassion. Since we know what it feels like to be hurt, we become more mindful to not hurt others in the same way. The soft spot can be triggered by wonderful, life changing events or by grief and sorrow. I have even felt the soft spot of Bodhichitta when dancing wildly in the living room with my kids. The most important thing is that we stop and really feel the feelings that arise so we can lean into the joys and lean into the discomforts as much as possible.
The problem that happens in our society is that as soon as we feel that raw, vulnerable space we cover it up as quickly as we can. We numb both the good and the bad. The other day I saw this list about ways we numb ourselves and thought it would be best to share with each of you. Here is the list, some may surprise you:
- staying busy
- constant change
- the Internet
None of us are “immune to numbing” according to researcher Brene Brown. She says the only difference between someone living wholeheartedly and the rest of us is that the wholehearted are aware of the tendency to numb and they develop a way to feel through the discomfort. Being aware of this has changed my view of so many things. Let some light shine on your modes of covering up and see what lies beneath. Maybe it will begin your path to fully embrace your awakened heart and your authentic Self.