Create the Life You Imagine~July 2018
The Emerald City - Entering the Heart Center
“Awe is What Moves Us Forward.”
~ Joseph Campbell
Dorothy emerges from the early stages of her journey with the Emerald City, home of the Great and Powerful Oz, in full view. Dorothy has joined arms with her three companions – symbolically bringing her physical (Lion), emotional (Tin Man) and mental (Scarecrow) parts with her as she follows her intuition (Toto) to the city of Oz. As Dorothy and her friends near the Emerald City, the awe they feel at the sight of the city draws them forward with renewed excitement and enthusiasm. The city is a glorious, radiant green, and the excitement of nearing what she thinks is the goal of her journey takes hold. She and Toto and her three new companions, the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, become so excited that they begin to run toward the Emerald City.
The Emerald City represents the entrance to our spiritual energy, and we are intuitively drawn toward its power. Campbell tells us it is awe that moves us forward on our path, and we feel its power as our Oz friends energetically approach the Emerald City. The early vision of the Emerald City in all its brilliance is a symbol of the early transcendent experiences we all have in life. When we break out of our lower natures and get a glimpse of our higher self and the possibilities that life holds for us, we are pulled by that excitement with great enthusiasm along our soul’s path.
Upon entering the gates of the Emerald City, our Oz travelers first notice the song of joy and laughter ringing throughout the city. The song rings out:
You’re out of the woods, you’re out of the dark, you’re out of the night.
Step into the light, march into your heart, hold onto your hope.
People who walk the spiritual path often speak of walking through the “dark night of the soul.” For many, the dark night of the soul is the culmination of the inner work of the first three stages of the spiritual journey where we are called to face our fears, illusions and inner demons in what feels like a life-and-death struggle. We can get battle worn struggling against the physical, emotional and mental challenges of life, and it gets hard to find the light of our higher spiritual energy.
But after a period of struggle, it is here in the heart center that we are called to receive all of our weary and wounded parts with great compassion for the hardships of the first stages of the journey. Just as our Oz friends were received in the Emerald City and treated as honored guests, in our heart center we receive all the parts of ourselves that have been wandering around through the difficulties of life, and simply listen quietly to the hardships of the path.
The pathway through the heart center leads us through compassion and forgiveness, to inspiration, and then to gratitude and joy. Next time you are struggling with a difficult life situation, imagine having this conversation with yourself in your heart center:
Compassion: Welcome all the parts of yourself that are struggling, confused, hurt, disappointed, scared, angry or grieving, and just listen to the stories with complete acceptance and compassion. Listen like the most loving and compassionate person you can imagine with no judgement and no need to change the feelings.
Forgiveness: Next ask yourself, “Who would I need to forgive to soften my experience of this situation?” Sometimes we need to forgive others for disappointing us or letting us down. Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves for not meeting our own expectations. Sometimes we need to forgive God for not making life go the way we wanted it to go. But remember that forgiveness simply means releasing our judgment about the situation and softening our need for people or life to meet our expectations. It doesn’t mean condoning hurtful behavior or allowing abusive conditions to continue. It is a process of releasing yourself from the internal struggle so that new possibilities can come forward.
Inspiration: Next spend a few minutes just breathing. Imagine surrounding yourself in a beautiful light of love and compassion. Let yourself breathe deeply into every cell in your body and just be present to your breath in the here and now, letting go of all the experiences of the past. Imagine your body filling with light on every in breath, and releasing struggle and stress with every out breath. Just rest in the rhythm of your breath for a few minutes.
Gratitude: Now ask yourself what lesson you could learn from this situation that would help you move forward on your spiritual path. When we have taken the time to listen compassionately to ourselves, to forgive or to release the emotional charge, and to breathe deeply into all of our parts, we often will intuitively know the lesson that we need to learn in order to emerge from the current struggle with a greater sense of clarity and with the opportunity for healing. Having gained the gift of insight, we can be grateful for the lesson of the experience, even in the face of the hardship or difficulty.
Joy: When we can allow our struggle to be transformed through this pathway of the heart, we are returned to our natural state of joy in the beauty of life. It is the experience of our inner child being set free on the playground. A child laughs and plays, falls down and cries, but gets back up and reengages joyfully in the play. Our heart center reminds us that we are on this playground called life and we will have good days and bad days, but the experience of life can be joyful through it all.
As we enter into the wisdom of our heart center we have entered into our spiritual awareness. If we can begin to orient toward life from this center, then we will find that our experience of life changes. Through the compassion of our heart center we can more gently tend to all of our parts through the hardships of life, while discovering an internal feeling of lightness and joy that comes with having walked through the darkness and entered the light. This is the beginning of enlightenment. We know we have entered this stage when we begin to see the world with awe, wonder and gratitude. And when we get stuck in the struggles of life, we can simply return to the heart and begin again.
Wishing you courage, blessings and light as you continue this journey to create the life you imagine.