The heart is a muscle of great importance for the body as it pumps nutrient rich blood throughout the blood vessels, reaching locations by repeated and rhythmic contraction. The heart is located in the chest cavity, slightly left of center. It beats, on average, 72 times per minute, and according to Wikipedia will beat approximately 2.5 billion – that’s – BILLION – times during an average 66 year lifespan (which we hope is less than our actual lifespan). Remarkable.
But, what is the heart?
- all of the above
As a young person dealing with circumstances beyond my control or liking, I opted for logic. I preferred (as best I was capable) to dissect, analyze and reason my way through situations because it felt stronger than riding the wave of emotion which could render me blubbery and defeated. Of course, if the wave crashed upon me, as it inevitably did, I was rendered whatever I was, anyway.
I was a full grown adult as waves of heart consciously insisted their way into my being. Coming from the heart did not always feel weak, sometimes I felt calm in the face of crisis, I felt connection and compassion, I did not feel fear. In yoga, we are asked to bring our hands to our heart center. Why? To open the muscle, to clear the debris years of life stash before it, to consciously bring it front and center (which also happens to be where it is).
The heart. The heart holds logistics and memory. The heart is powerfully strong and break-ably fragile. Without the heart we would not have physical, emotional or spiritual life. There is a Jewish saying that goes like this: God is closest to those with broken hearts. Can you see why?
Because there is an opening. In great pain and sadness we must see outside ourselves. There is no relief otherwise. We will play an endless loop, the same loop, one could go mad. Reaching out beyond ourselves brings comfort, meaning and a connection back to life and the extraordinary ordinary. But there is more. The way we sometimes come to our present, full of the past’s baggage, may render the present unattainable. What a shame, we live in the loop anyway, even as each new moment spans before us, ready to be lived, experienced, felt. As it is. With newness, curiosity, and splendor. Even the sad and difficult. A person who knew only happy, would be a boring specimen indeed; vapid, monotonous, devoid of depth.
How strikingly poetic that to truly live, and be in life, the experience of a broken heart is mandatory.
Used with permission under Creative Commons license.