Heart Melting, the Pinnacle Spiritual Practice
Heart Melting transforms moments of stress, self-deprecation, and fear, into experiences of love, healing, and creativity. I spontaneously experienced the Heart Melting practice in the middle of a retreat I led a few years ago in the high cascades of Oregon with a group of courageous people who came to study with me to learn to be better healers.
We were working through an exercise focused on healing painful relationships. One of the participants began sharing about unresolved anger with her mother. Her faced flushed red as she spoke with anger, “My mother never expressed kindness to me as a child. She wanted my sibling and me to always look good and behave properly in public. At home she yelled at us, and pitted my sister and I against each other by comparing our grades, boyfriends, and achievements.” I stopped her at that last line by bringing my hand up palm faced out. “Hang on, take a breath and feel what you’re feeling right there.” A few seconds passed. The room was still with bated breath. A tinge of panic ran up from my abdomen to my chest. My heart began to beat feverishly. I thought, Shit this is my worst nightmare, I don’t know what to say. The next thought was extraordinary, Luke you’re ok, you don’t have to be perfect. I love you! I relaxed, took a breath and said to the participant. “Good. Now tell that little girl inside, you are safe, I’m here for you, I love you.” The participant’s voice trembled as she repeated after me, tears flowing throughout the room.
Her courage was inspiring, but even more astonishing to me was the voice of love that arose out of my feelings of panic. Nowhere in my conscious mind did I perceive I could take my panic and turn it into compassion. It just showed up spontaneously. When I gave myself compassion in a moment of fear, I was able to offer it to my retreat participant.
I noticed in all the places in my life that I was afraid, I also held rigid standards for myself to keep fear at bay, like no junk food a week before a retreat. When I inevitably failed to live up my standards, I became angry with myself. So I applied the heart melting practice. First, I let myself feel and express my disappointment. Damn it! Arrgghhh! Why is this happening again! Then I’d take few breaths Luke, it’s ok, it’s not about getting it right. I love you. You’re doing great. A few deep breaths later, I had traded in my self-recrimination for self-love.
The Heart Melting practice is not an affirmation of positive thinking. It’s creating a new self by redirecting the energy of unworthiness towards love in the present moment. Here’s how it works.
Chinese medicine says anger, hate, fear, anxiety, worry, dread, depression and their derivations arise from the organ systems beneath the diaphragm—the liver, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys and bladder. The diaphragm can physically and energetically seal off the heart from feeling these emotions by restricting the lungs from breathing deeply. Without the deep breath, these emotions stagnate and churn until they explode or implode. This physical response occurs when we suppress feeling and expressing emotions. If the above emotions are left to fester, they create an environment of inflammation—ripe for disease. The heart—being the organ that feels all emotions—is unable to process these feelings when the diaphragm becomes rigid.
Take the intensity of anger and willfully add love to it. You get a powerful expression of love with a purpose. Anger and love become passion or courage. Fear and love become compassion and tenderness. Worry and love become blessings.
The seed of all negative emotions is fear, which resides in the kidneys. Willpower is also linked to the kidneys. Heart Melting uses the will of the kidneys to move the energy of fear up to the heart, mixing in love, and transmuting the fear into a more powerful form of love that heals. The body relaxes, and the present moment flows forward, rather than freezing the fear into your muscles, which strengthens and perpetuates the pattern of stress.
Anger, hate, fear, anxiety, worry, dread, depression are symptoms of blame towards others and ultimately self. Heart Melting lets you off the hook for your imperfections. It’s a practice in loving the parts of you that you’d rather ignore, or that you punish yourself for having in the first place. Healing self-hatred is an act of free will. When you love yourself in the moments of stress and unworthiness, your capacity to hold love increases.
The Brain, Trauma, and Love
The brain experiences the most physical changes during any intense experience, negative or positive. Post Traumatic Stress is the result of traumatic experiences that physically strengthen the neuron (nerve) pathways in the brain. As traumatic experiences accumulate, your tolerance to them decreases. Your stress resilience weakens, and a flight or flight state of anxiety sets in, eventually leading to depression.
Heart Melting is an alchemical process that turns stress into a blessing. Mix love with any form of resistance—to the present moment—to get life to flow again. Mix love with stress and you get ease. Heart Melting rewires neuron pathways of anxiety and depression into brain pathways of healing and compassion. You take the intensity of negativity and use it to heal. It’s like learning to surf big waves. If you don’t know how to harness the energy of the wave, it will toss you like a rag doll. If you learn to cooperate with the wave, you can experience the thrill of your life.
The Heart Melting practice is where the rubber meets the road with healing and transformation. Meditation and Breathwork support the Heart Melting practice because they cleanse the heart and mind to create more awareness about how we become stuck in life. They’re not magic. You still must choose to change a negative pattern in your life.
Heart Melting is the pinnacle practice when it comes spiritual evolution. Spirituality isn’t measured by the stillness you experience when you meditate. Spiritual growth occurs by the love you choose when you are most afraid, enraged, and forlorn. The choices in these moments reflect your growth as a spiritual being. They also have a lot to do with enhancing and maintaining physical vitality.
Healing is innate. Your body and soul want to heal. In the moments of your greatest struggle are the greatest opportunities to progress your healing and spiritual journeys. Let’s practice.
Identify an area of your life where you experience stress, fatigue, or fear.
Without censoring, write down everything that bothers you about the situation. Really generate the feelings you have about the issue. Example: I really hate it when I don’t speak my truth around people. I feel weak and impotent. I’m afraid of hurting their feelings. I’m so pissed off at myself!
When you’ve created the feeling of fear or frustration in your body, apply the Heart Melting method. Be sure to include your name and speak out load. Example: Luke, you are so compassionate. You love people so much. Luke, you do speak your truth with compassion and clarity and you’re getting better at it. You are a great teacher. I love you.
Breathe the words into the lungs, mixing this new energetic pattern into your heart. Feel the sensitivity of Universal Love in center of your chest. It feels tender and vulnerable. This is the place where Universal Love resides within you.
The words you use are less important than the feelings of love, acceptance, tenderness, and compassion flowing through your being.
Heart Melting is not about making the negative feelings go away. It’s a practice that allows love to flow with the stress, and mix with it to create an experience of love that moves you into action. You are not affirming something positive to negate how you feel. Feel the tough feelings of stress, sadness and anger. Honor how you feel; only then can you direct your power to love towards yourself.
Heart Melting is how you ask for help from the Universe to transform your darkest of fears. You can practice Heart Melting using the above steps. Ultimately it is a practice that you enact in the moment. Heart Melting is an awareness and a commitment to healing and bringing love into the world. You are not alone, despite how it may feel. The Universe wants you to have so much Love in your life. You are born to heal. Love is the medicine and you are the healer. The choice is yours.