10 Practices For Lifting Frequency, Transforming Suffering and Opening The HeartBy Mark Lersch
May 10, 2016
Our deepest natural desire is one of yielding to our innate loving - to attune to the radiance and love bubbling up from the core of our being, and allowing it to express in us and through us into this world. More than anything else, at the very core of our being, we ache to love. And not just to receive love, but to radiate it, to creatively express it and be love. When we don't allow ourselves to be that which is our most innate and powerful essence we suffer tremendously.
Our deepest spiritual desire
Our deepest natural desire is one of yielding to our innate loving—to attune to the radiance and love bubbling up from the core of our being, and allowing it to express in us and through us into this world. More than anything else, at the very core of our being, weache to love. And not just to receive love, but to radiate it, to creatively express it and be love. When we don’t allow ourselves to be that which is our most innate and powerful essence we suffer tremendously. What this ultimately results in is a world where, because we don’t know how to transform and release our own suffering we create even more of it by trying to fix and control everyone and everything around us (including ourselves). Why does this happen and how can we change it?
Our animal nature and why we create suffering
As human beings when we experience discomfort, be it physical, mental or emotional, our animalistic instinctual reaction is to contract against whatever seems to be causing that discomfort in order to minimize it. If there is a loud noise we cover our ears, if someone attempts to strike us we may curl into a ball, if we take a bite out of rotten food we gag and spit it out. It is not so different from a turtle retreating into its shell or a caterpillar rolling itself up when disturbed. Our survival instinct, just like that of every creature on this Earth, is to contract in the face of discomfort and pain. Whether we go into fight, flight or freeze, we are contracting in order to protect against perceived danger and discomfort.
What might not seem so obvious is that we do the same thing with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. When unloving thoughts arise they are incredibly painful. Our thoughts are experienced through our emotions as feelings. This means that when a shameful thought arises in the mind we feel the emotion of shame and when an angry thought arises we feel the emotion of anger, etc.. One might say there are only two types of thoughts: thoughts that are loving and in alignment with our essence which feel good, and thoughts that are less in alignment and feel painful to varying degrees. When an unloving thought occupies our mind and we experience the resulting pain (be it anger, hate, jealousy, shame, annoyance, etc.), we instinctually contract in order to protect against the pain of it, just like we do with physical discomfort and just like a snail will do when it encounters the unpleasantness of salt. It is this very act of contracting that is a closing of the heart which cuts us off from our loving essence. However, if we don’t pay attention, if we are checked out and disconnected from our bodies and our feelings we won’t even realize what has happened. And this is the painful and dysfunctional state most of us have been taught to tolerate and attempt to navigate the world with—cut off from our loving core, heart closed, living from the thinking mind in an attempt to control life and get some semblance of relief.
Various forms of contraction
The various ways in which we “contract” inside may not always be obvious or even conscious. For instance, when an uncomfortable thought arises we may judge the thought, we may dissociate and pretend its not there, or we may enact countless other control strategies (think any addiction). The crazy thing is that we don’t realize that our feelings are the result of our thoughts and that it is our automatic contraction against the discomfort of those feelings which closes our hearts and cuts us off from our innate spiritual loving nature.
Whether the focus of our control strategies are other people, events or even fixing ourselves, in contracting/protecting we close our hearts and further squeeze ourselves off from our loving core. Feeling the increased agony of being cut off from our loving nature, we contract yet further, thus causing even more suffering and separation. This becomes such a vicious cycle that we eventually feel completely hopeless, helpless and lifeless. An apt analogy is the “Chinese finger trap”, the more we get stuck, instinctually the harder we want to pull our hands apart to free ourselves, which only causes us to become more stuck!
From the “law of attraction" perspective we might say resisting and contracting against life lowers our frequency. When our frequency is low, we feel further cut off from our loving essence and unconsciously create life experiences that reflect that same lower frequency, which we then further contract against, and so on and so forth in a downward negative spiral. This often becomes evident later in life.
When we encounter lower frequency we experience it as unpleasant and automatically contract against it, whether it occurs in the form of another person or arises within our own mind. This is why we need practices to relax our habituated response and raise our frequency in order to reverse the downward spiral, connect with our loving essence and create a more joyful life experience.
How to transform suffering, lift your frequency and reopen the heart
Once we understand the root of the problem, we can begin to work with practices that enable us to meet discomfort and the resulting automatic contraction with increasing kindness so that the heart can reopen, the frequency can lift, and we can reconnect with our innate loving essence.
Besides the Inner Bonding process, there are countless other tools we can use to assist us in releasing ourselves from the “Chinese finger trap”. To my knowledge and experience there is no one right way. The right way is the one that works for each of us individually. I have found that what is important is our understanding and intention behind why we are doing these practices. Here are ten of my favorite possibilities:
1. Mindfulness Meditation: This is one of my favorites because you are actively working the muscle of being aware of and embracing your moment to moment experiences. The skill of mindfulness is best carried into daily activity and not just when sitting in meditation. I once had a Zen teacher tell me that a surprising number of people have become enlightened through mindful eating (Yes! That’s my kind of practice!).
Forgiveness/non-judgement is an essential aspect of Mindfulness: Practice noticing and then letting go of any judgements of self and others. Judgement is a contraction that clutters the mind and closes the heart like no other. Also, when you notice yourself judging your judging, let that go too. I find it helpful to remember that when others are judging me they are suffering, just like I do when I judge.
2. Mindful Movement: Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong all work the muscle of bringing awareness and gentleness to your discomfort and contraction. Remember that your intention when doing these practices is crucial. This isn’t really about just getting a limber or strong body (although that is a nice bonus).
3. Focus on thoughts and activities that lift your vibration: Rather than fixating on and trying to fix the contraction, focus your mind in a direction and attune to thoughts that brings your frequency up and makes you feels good inside. Just be sure you are really letting go and allowing the contraction to “be” instead of secretly pushing against it Focus on your deeper purpose in life and on activities that make you come alive inside.
4. Send out goodwill as prayer or loving kindness meditation: Here you are actively choosing to align with your loving core essence through prayer or loving kindness meditation. This can be like priming the pump where you send out prayer of goodwill in ways that open your heart and get the current of love flowing through you again. Don’t attempt these if it closes your heart further.
5. Tonglen: This Buddhist practice can be very powerful because it not only works the muscle of accepting the uncomfortable, but takes it a step further where you are actively breathing in the discomfort not only of yourself, but also of others! Be careful here that you breathe the suffering of others into your divine core and not into your personal self as you could make yourself sick. Seek out a good teacher if you are interested in this technique.
6. Attuning to spiritual help on the inner realms: If you are a Christian, you can turn over any unloving thoughts or contractions to Jesus and ask him to direct your thoughts. If you are more of a new-ager you can also ask help from your own personal spiritual guides or other beings of great love and wisdom. The caution here is that your intention must be to learn about embracing contraction and loving yourself, not controlling things, otherwise you may find yourself attuning to some lower frequency riffraff.
7. Body Energy awareness practice: One of my favorites, this practice was very popular in the ancient marital arts. It involves dropping your awareness from the head to your lower abdomen and finding your connection with your core there. This energy center is called the “hara” in Japanese and “lower dantien” in Chinese. As an alternative to hara, you might find it helpful to focus on your heart (Heartmath is a great resource for this) or one of your other energy chakras.
8. Creative expression: This can be another way to access your core and release contraction. This can include music, art, dance, movement, cooking, writing or any other way you access and express your core essence. My personal favorite in this category is motorcycle riding, where I consciously incorporate most of the other practices I’ve listed here.
9. Connecting with animals and being out in nature: Hug your dog, gaze into the night sky, dig in your garden. If it allows you to release the contraction and open your heart, go for it!
10. Affirmations/Mantras: One of my favorites comes out of Hawaii from within the Ho’opponopono tradition: “I love you, thank you, please forgive me, I’m sorry”. Again, make sure your intention is clean and you are not using this method to push away unloving thoughts or shame yourself.
You might find it helpful to create your own list so that it is accessible when you feel stuck. Once we are stuck in contraction it is often difficult to remember a practice that might assist us.
Thank you for allowing me to share. May we all become more skillful at transforming our suffering and allowing our loving essence to express itself as we co-create a more joyous and delightful world together!
Please let me know if you have any comments or thoughts.
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