I was in a little car accident a couple of days ago. I was waiting a stop sign when a car ran into the back of me. It was a little fender bender, no injuries thank goodness. I've only had my car since July, and it has been the source of many opportunities for patience in that short time. Someone hit it while it was parked and left a dent and some scrapes but no note. It had a mysterious tire leakage which required changes and 3 diagnostic visits before they could determine the problem. Now there is a cracked bumper and scratches and dents in various places in the back.
When I was reflecting on the series of challenges with the car, the thought did pass through my head to hide the car away. Leave it in the garage and only take it out if absolutely necessary. Avoid the opportunity for any other surprises to find their way to it.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? I bought a car so I can freely get where needed. I live in the suburbs; things are too spread out for me to walk from point to point and public transport is non-existent. But for a moment my logical solution to the unfortunate events that keep surrounding the car was to stop using it.
And yet, how many of us do this exact things with our hearts when we experience misfortune in life? We build up walls, shore up our hearts to protect them from further damage. We experience loss in love, we're hurt by friends, people we trust betray us, and when we are recovering from these heartaches our lessons learned point us to hiding our hearts away so to avoid being hurt again.
But, of course, the blocking and hiding of the heart's love is not the way to move through life if we want to continue to grow. We need to keep the heart open and live from its center to move in an upward direction through life. We need that energy to be fluid and free. Blocking our heart means we are contracting it, but real growth comes from expanding our hearts more and more. What we send is what we receive. By having a big, open heart we are attracting love back to ourselves, so not only do those around us benefit but we ultimately do as well - very much so.
This does not mean that we don't learn from our experiences. We aren't doormats for fear of having our hearts closed. If enduring abuse, for instance, we don't carry on with that relationship to try to keep our hearts from contracting. Abusive relationships are not centered in the heart - they are centered in fear. You need to get out of that situation before you can even begin to work from the heart. Part of moving through life is learning to shed those things that are working against our growth to help us keep our heart's energy clear. When there is a relationship (be it romantic, family, friendship, colleague, etc) that is a negative influence in your life, release yourself from it as much as you can. It is likely that you are both not getting what you truly need from each other, and by separating yourself you are actually releasing both of you.
Once we are released from a situation that caused us pain, that doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bathwater (or keep our heart-cars hidden away in the garage). We learn from our experiences and make adjustments, but we don't go into our next relationship making that partner pay for what we went through in our last relationship. If there were fidelity issues in our past relationship, for instance, we don't unfairly assume our new partner is going out behind our back or remain cold and distant because it's going to fall apart anyway so better not get too attached. We can be careful about who we offer ourselves to in a new relationship, but when we do partner with someone new we do so with an open heart.
So, what does the ongoing trouble with my car tell me? That I'm better off without it? Certainly not. It helps me stay focused on what matters. It can take some dings and some inconveniences. I'd rather not have to deal with them, but then again it is helping me in my practice of accepting what is in spite of my expectations which is the true road to ongoing happiness. I keep traveling on the open road, with an open heart.
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
All Cold Fasting Flu Healing Health Higher Living Meditation Meditation Challenges Meditation Dry Spell Meditation Growth Neti Pot Paramhansa Yogananda Personal Growth Spiritual Growth Spiritual Podcasts Yogic Breathing