Part I - Opening
We are Tragically Disconnected
We live in a culture that is ignorant of the true nature of our hearts and sadly, we’ve been raised to live in a state of disconnection from our human experience.
There’s a story we tell ourselves that Western Culture is fucked up: climate change, consumerism, politics, and prejudice form the pillars of what’s going wrong. But I’m proposing that these are just the visible symptoms and like an iceberg, the larger issues are hidden beneath.
Today, most of us live in a state of disconnection which is unprecedented and unique in the history of humans.
Collectively, we are more disconnected from the Earth than ever before. We’re cut off from experiencing her as our mother, from the cycles of birth and death that her seasons bring, from living in balance with our food and interacting with the living ecosystem that we inhabit.
We are also more disconnected from each other. Sure, with today’s technology we are constantly communicating. But communication through a device and discussing Netflix episodes rarely leaves us feeling connected. We may think that’s connection, but it’s not truly. On a neurological level, discussing facts and opinions doesn’t engage the limbic system in our brain which registers intimacy.
Ninety-nine percent of humans through the ages lived as members of a tribe in intimate co-existence with about 200 people for their entire life. We don’t have community like that today.
But the most significant isolation is the disconnection we have from ourselves. Daily life in our culture is a roller-coaster between stimulants (caffeine, working out) and depressants (alcohol, television), both of which keep us from feeling what’s really here inside.
The information age has us constantly thinking, analyzing, and predicting. Our extreme predilection for discursive thinking keeps us walled off from the fullness of who we are. On a daily basis, we’re lucky to spend five whole minutes simply being in connection with ourselves.
Being disconnected from ourselves means we’re not listening to our inner truths. Most of us are either living the life laid out by our family or are caught up in the performance and productivity race of Capitalism. When we’re following someone else’s agenda for living, we end up feeling unsettled, either depressed or anxious, and deeply unfulfilled – like we’re missing out on something more that we vaguely, yet definitely know is possible.
All of this was me, five years ago. I had a successful career in solar, doing good in the world and making a decent living. I had a great group of friends, avid hobbies, and a meaningful relationship. Everything was going my way, and yet, there was some part of me that longed for something more…
And Then Something Magical Happens…
For some of us, it will be a transformational experience at SoulPlay or Burning Man. For some of us, it will be psychedelics. For others, slowly sinking deeper into depression leads to a desperation for something, anything different – that will literally keep us from killing ourselves. For me, it was stumbling into a week-long Neo-Tantra retreat in Thailand.
The specific avenue is unimportant. The essential experience is that Life starts to happen to us on Life’s terms. And this experience can be so profound that one glimpse is all it takes to change us forever. It’s utterly terrifying and disorienting.
Everything we thought we knew about our lives goes out the window. We now see how fundamentally untenable our life has been, trying to plan it, manage it, and perfect it. Career, relationships, deeply held values, our core identity – all can go *poof* in this horribly irreversible flash.
When I opened to my truth five years ago, I discovered that I’m here to teach sacred sexuality. I quit my corporate job, stopped drinking, became a vegetarian, and signed myself up for a yoga-teacher training. And that was only the beginning of this crazy blossoming of my life. The paradigm shifts of life values, career, relationship - basically paradigm shifts in who I am, just keep on coming.
But along with the terror, comes this sense of aliveness - an incredible vitality that begins flowing through us. And perhaps for the first time in our lives, we know, not as a conceptual thought, but directly in the core of our being that we are now doing something true.
An Experience of the Heart
Where we find our truth is in the heart. Not the anatomical heart and not the energetic heart (ie: anahata chakra), but the heart that is the center of our human being-ness. This is the place where above and below meet, the place where we feel at home, and the place where we know love.
Take a deep breath right into the center of your chest right now and exhale with a sigh.
Our heart knows our truth. Opening to this path means learning to listen to our heart and then finding the courage to follow through on these messages, no matter how insane we think they are.
As we open to this path, we experience our life being so much bigger than we could possibly imagine. And it’s a huge relief that we don’t have to figure it all out or hold it all together – in fact, we can’t possibly do either. However much we may want solid ground, comfort, and security, we start to see that living Life on
Life’s terms doesn’t operate that way. What we think we want can and must become second to Reality. And so, we open ourselves.
With a mixture of stubborn resistance and wide-eyed enthusiasm, we begin living a new way - what we call, the Path of the Heart.
Join me for Part II of this article where I share practices for walking the path now that you’ve found yourself on it.