Excerpt from the Chapter: The Heart of the Matter, from Being Centered by Roman Oleh Yaworsky
Being Centered, Published SpiritUnleashed TM Miami 2007. Copyright 2007 by Roman Oleh Yaworsky all rights reserved.
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In each challenging event of our lives, we are presented with two things. The first is very familiar: the problem, the challenge, and the situation that makes our life difficult, or disrupts our way of being, and we just wish it would go away.
The second is a gift, an opportunity to make a shift forward towards growth. This part is often not very familiar to most of us. It asks us to go beyond our limitations and fears, and become someone greater than when we started.
It is always our choice whether we ride each event in our lives towards our hearts or away from our hearts. This is truly the choice we have in life. Our real freedom is in this choice. At each moment, with each event, we have the gift of the experience and also the consequence of avoiding the gift.
It is because many of us have become so accustomed to living away from our core that we tend to over focus on problems and issues. Instead of residing in our hearts, we spend too much time being blocked from our hearts by all of the accumulated negative emotions and hurtful experiences that form a crust around our hearts.
Because we spend so much time in this crust of emotions, problems, disappointments, expectations and self judgments, they begin to matter to us, out of proportion to their value in our lives. If we have gotten used to being un-centered, very removed from the moment and not in our own hearts, we tend to perceive the world in the same way. As a result, we begin to identify with our crust, or what matters to us according to our own limitations. It is our own personal crust, our own personal materializing of the issues that we continually experience.
In this manner, we encounter our disappointments and our frustrations. We encounter the crust in life that we identify with and that we have gotten used to. As a result, we may even wonder why we are so unlucky! We may wonder why the world is treating us so unfairly! In that state, we do not notice that we are interacting with the world from our crust, not our hearts, and so we get crust in return!
What we tend to miss are the gifts hiding in those experiences. Because we are avoiding being open in our own heart, we also avoid being open to the gifts that come our way.
We did not start out this way. At first, because there may have been only several instances of this crust, we are able to re-connect to the heart. The crust only hid some of our heart from us. This is like the child that is sad one moment and happy again a few moments later.
After a time, there is an accumulation of hurts and pain around our hearts that we hold on to and do not release, and we tend to identify with these accumulated negative experiences, as if this is who we are.
We have expressions such as “what’s the matter?” or “what matters to me is” or we say things like “it doesn’t matter” when it does. Of course, the ‘matter’ that we are referring to is the material we have difficulty letting go of that accumulates around us, around our joy and our aliveness. As it accumulates around us, it stifles us.
What begins to matter to us is protecting that crust around our hearts more than protecting our own hearts. We learn to avoid the pain when that crust is touched, pushed or stepped on. Our sensitivity and identification with our crust, and thus what matters to us, extends to the world around us. Ultimately, the situation develops when access to the heart, to our center of being, is blocked by that crust.
When we can not reconnect with our own hearts and to our own core, we are prone to centering on other things: our issues, our difficult memories, external objects, ideals, hopes and fears. We also try to center on the core of others. Because we are not in our hearts, it is our disowned and still hurting experiences that reach out to other people. In this way, we blame others and make them responsible for holding or taking care of our own issues.
What can save us from continuing to move further and further from our hearts and joy, are the experiences that challenge our crust, that challenge what we have come to believe matters to us.
Often, when we experience a difficult situation, the tendency is to be angry and blame someone else, someone close to us, or the universe. We tend to run from having any responsibility or part in our process. We tend to choose to play the role of the victim – “Why has this happened to me?”
Why do we act this way? It is because we are not responding with our hearts. Instead, our response is fueled by the encrusting of emotions and negative experiences that is far removed from our heart. In this crust are buried all the angers we have not released; the rage we deny, our frustrations and confusion. From this place we react with an emotional charge, with the same denial, rage or confusion. We say things like “This can’t be happening,” or “If there is a creator, how could they let this happen?”
However, that same difficult or challenging experience can also bring attention to what really matters. During these times, people have the opportunity to break the crust of their pride, arrogance, conceit, self-delusion or avoidance. They have an opportunity to break through to their humility, their honest feelings, their courage, their self-honesty and integrity. Often, at such times, people finally call out for help. Challenges can help us break through the crust so we can re-connect to our hearts and to our will and take responsibility for the moment.
The gift in each challenging event in our lives is that it can re-connect us to our own hearts and to the hearts of others. Extraordinary events can do so extraordinarily, if we let them. They wake us up and can free us from the pile of stuff we have let accumulate around us and around our hearts, letting in the light of feeling and aliveness.
The gift of the heart ‘in the matter,’ the gift at the core of each challenging opportunity, is that it can reconnect us to our own hearts, by helping us break through the stuff we have allowed to cover who we truly are.
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