I went to a group this evening that surrounds the theme of “Love and Forgiveness.” It’s a very open group, and someone shared part of herself that describes many men and women and what they struggle with today. She just got out of a relationship a few weeks ago and *all* she wants is another one. She can’t stand being by herself because she wants the affection and emotional intimacy of a romantic relationship. Everyone has told her and she knows in her mind that she needs to be single for a while and get to know herself, but her heart refuses and seems out of control, in need of a relationship. What do you do about this?
The surface of this proposal is simple: don’t get in a relationship, but stay single! Easier said than done – how exactly can someone DO that? The common saying is in order to change the world (say, your behavior – stop dating for a while), you gotta change yourself first (change in heart). After all, things are how you perceive them, and most of your perceptions come from yourself through your heart and mind. However, the heart and the mind are not yourself, but extensions of yourself.
However, the first step is to change your mind (decide you want to be single) and be aware of the need to change your heart. If you haven’t decided this, then your mind will do whatever it wants to do, with the deception your broken heart to support it, and there will be no change in behavior. Also, perceptions largely determine what things are. Since you perceive things through your mind and heart, changing them can change your world and your behavior.
Practicing meditation gets me in touch with my essence that drives everything else, and helps with the process of a change in heart. While meditating, I recognize what it feels like for my heart to start to run away with something, which pulls on my mind and tries to convince me to do things I don’t truly want to do. Regular meditation leads to greater understanding of the self, mind, heart, and how they feel and relate to each other. It also brings the heart and mind closer to the self, and keeps them from going awry with time.
I’ve learned more about what drives me, what my passions are, and my place in this world after finding myself and getting to know myself. It may sound selfish, but it’s a necessary and beautiful thing to do for the sake of myself and other people.
After a change in heart, be ready to practice civil disobedience with your old ways. Civil disobedience is the idea from Thoreau in that revolutions start with very small, subtle changes. Specifically, an idea in someone’s head that goes completely against the system that needs to happen, which he or she talks about with the next, then spreads till it actually happens.
The idea of needing to remain single, say, has been planted in her mind and it needs nurturing to grow. It may grow in the easier parts of her life (though difficult in and of themselves), such as simply saying, “No,” to guys when they want to start a romantic thing. This requires a small change in heart. As time goes on and the heart becomes stronger, more independent, and healthier, the seed will sprout and grow roots in her heart from the mind. The heart begins to cooperate more with the idea in the mind.
She will start to feel less desperate to be in a relationship, and the seed will begin to grow further and produce fruit in her behavior, thoughts, deeds, and feelings. Hopefully, she will reach the point where she loves who she is, and though perhaps a little sad to be on her own, she will be able to do it on her own and live as a single for a while. This change in heart is traumatic, as is any big change. The first step is always the hardest.
I’m working on a chart purging project, and there are old charts in the downstairs cage that need to be sent to storage, along with sorting through 10+ years’ worth of old billing records. Upstairs, there are newer charts that need to go where the old charts are now downstairs, so they can add something new to the office where the new charts are currently. The cage is an absolute disaster, and change needs to happen. It’s inevitable. I had to take apart everything, and the mess was of epic proportions – there were boxes, papers, shredding bins, charts, boxes everywhere, even in the hallways! I had a hard time figuring out where to put everything when I started this project.
However, slowly but surely, things get sorted out, put away, carted away, and organized and catalogued. Now, it’s looking much more manageable, instead of an insurmountable mess. I believe change in heart is like this, too. Through meditation and exploring your heart, you can find a starting point to work from. After the starting point, a rhythm begins and it’s easier to move forward. You will know what to do from there.
A parting thought: Things will happen the way they should, not the way you want. I believe life has a way of working things out, sometimes in the harshest and most beautiful of ways. It also teaches me lessons I need to learn, when I need them most. Looking back, I am now thankful for the atrocities and their impeccable timing.