The Heart – Opening vs Breaking Open

The Heart – Opening vs Breaking Open

In the past, I’ve written about styles of awakening or Self Realization. There can, for example, be a quiet, gradual shift or a sudden, high contrast change. The roughest style is an ego collapse such as Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie went through.

With a decent spiritual practice that connects you with source and cleanses the layers between, you’re far more likely to have something in the smoother part of the spectrum. A distinctive shift can help with initial doubts but mature seekers may have a very gentle shift.

In an ideal path, the stage after awakening is to open the “high heart.” This stage is God Consciousness (GC) and is a little less common in the west. Many have very protected hearts so they pass by this stage, perhaps until later.

God Consciousness is dominated by refined perception and an awakening heart. Here, we’re not talking about anahata, the heart chakra. That opens (theoretically) during the earlier rise of Kundalini Shakti before awakening. When Shakti rises to the crown and joins Shiva, the support is there for the awakening. (Though this is not the causal process. Awakening happens from much deeper than energy.)

After awakening, the two then descend together to the heart, gut and root: GC, Unity, and Brahman. This higher octave heart is called hridaya. The heart area often has a dark energetic crust to protect it. But after we’re grounded in Being, we can shed the crust and open the heart to Divine love and compassion.

This can be quite profound, to say the least. Just as bliss can amp up exponentially, so too can love.

However, like awakening, there can also be a shattering. Life circumstances like loss or death can cause our heart to break open. If we’re mature enough on the journey, this painful process can be healed without closing up again. If we’re not yet awake, it will be deeply challenging, especially in our culture. But this can lead to profound growth.

The ideal path is a wonderful thing but we’re each distinctive combinations of emphasis that can make some things more prominent and other things more muted. This is in our nature and is thus reflected in our unfolding. And that’s just fine.

Enlightenment is all about living in the space we’ve been given.


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  1. Joseph Weaver

    After the initial ascent of the kundalini to the crown, what causes it to go back down to the heart and gut? Because many teachings only talk of the ascent to the crown, it seems the process may terminate at the crown for some.

    Are there certain practices that make the descent back down more likely to occur?

    1. Hi Joseph
      As mentioned in the article, it’s important not to see the kundalini Shakti process as causal. It is seen this way in some traditions but enlightenment is not an energy process. There are many energy changes that take place to embody the process but that’s not what drives it.

      Some kundalini traditions speak only of the kundalini rise. Others, the rise and descent. Others speak only of clearing, then a descent. This is primarily driven by the subjective experience of a few people. Common understand lacks a great deal.

      The process after awakening is driven by consciousness itself. Simply experiencing life and opening progressively more to itself drives the process forward. If we’re also supporting the shift towards sattva and refinement of perception, then the heart process flowers. I have another post coming in a few days on the topic, somewhat related to the Different Divinities article.

      There are some people who mature in place at Self Realization. Reasons for that can vary. They may not have the support to deepen or need more clearing before greater depth can open. They may get identified with the stage or resist it changing. This seems more common if they begin teaching then. And so on.

      This is part of what motivates my writing and presentations – to make it clear there is more. In the 7th mandala of the Rig Veda, the great sage Vasishtha spoke of the importance of desiring Unity (after Self Realization). But we cannot desire it if we don’t know it’s there. Many traditions stop short of our potential. It’s far vaster than most realize.

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