I will give you a heart of flesh for your heart of stone
This particular quote from Ezekiel has great meaning for me. I used it when I made first vows as a Houston Dominican back in 1979.
It has been coming up again in various ways. This past weekend it came up as I was participating in a program called the Venus Sequence of Gene Keys. This program is about relationships.
I don't know anyone who hasn't shut their heart down at least a bit after being hurt in a relationship. You take a chance, I take a chance, in relationship and then get blasted. This could begin in childhood, teen years or as an adult.
What I was reflecting on, and what I want to share with you, are the ramifications of shutting down your heart. According to Ezekiel, this would be the process of turning our heart of flesh into stone.
I believe we were born with an open heart ready to love. I remember when Don, my brother-in-law, talked about meeting his daughter for the first time. She was minutes old and he was holding her as she was bathed in the warm water. I may have the exact story wrong, she now has 4 kids of her own ages 14-7, so it's been a while. I remember Don saying their eyes locked for a good while. She was, of course, immediately locked into his heart. He was ready to love and she was ready to be loved.
When your heart has been hardened by the cares of the world, that willingness to love and be loved is tempered by the fear of the pain of being hurt again. The stone replaces the vulnerable flesh of the heart.
I was reflecting upon what happens when I've hardened my heart. I was rather surprised, and deeply moved, by what came up.
I've always thought of a stone heart as being solid. In my meditation, I didn't see the stony heart as solid. I saw the stone wrapped around the fleshy heart and, well, killing it. The flesh then putrefied and crumbles. The stony heart was an empty heart.
A stony heart prevents love from entering into you, into me. (I so want me in this discussion, and you as well.) The flesh of the heart needs love to survive. If I, you, surround our hearts with hardness for myself, yourself and for others, love from others and from God can't gain entry. Love is deflected. We can't absorb it because it can't get through the cold stone of pain.
We have to be willing to take a heart of flesh
Transforming a heart of stone into a heart of flesh is a dynamic process consisting of awareness, openness, healing, and receiving.
First be aware that you have closed yourself off to love. This is where I've been the last year or so. I thought I'd passed through this part, but am discovering I haven't been fully aware. I've chiseled a small hole in that heart or stone so a little love is getting in, but I need to open my heart so much more.
As I've become aware of being closed off from allowing myself to be open to the love of others, and I'm not talking about romantic partners here, I keep myself separate from others. I laugh with them, give words of support and listen to their words, but I haven't been truly accepting their laughter and words of support into my heart. I haven't accepted the love and care behind those words.
Think about yourself, how much do you allow someone's words of affirmation for you become part of you? Do you assume everyone has an agenda because there is no way someone would mean those words "for you?" If you say, "but everyone around me does have an agenda and doesn't really mean what they say," then it is time to risk and find new people. Find one, two, or three open and honest people.
Second, you must be willing to take the risk to be open to people who can love you. You're not going to find a human being who can love you perfectly. No human can have unconditional love for you all the time. You can't for others. Finding one or two who can accept you as you are, yet challenge you to be more, is a true gift. I have found those type of people in my Gene Keys Venus group as well as my "regular" Gene Keys group.
Find a group of people committed to growing and developing with honesty and commitment. There are a number of personal development groups you can investigate. Mine is spiritually focused. If spirituality isn't your thing, look for others which will fit your needs. When you find a group, don't sit back with a stony heart which closes you off from the risk and amazement of love. Take risks to share yourself with others. Be open to listening and to being listened to.
This journey has moved me even deeper into asking for healing. I use Encodements and the Soul Healing Prayer most of the time. (You can learn more about Encodements by going here. You can learn more about the Soul Healing Prayer by going here. ) Whatever is your favorite healing tool, use it. Really, don't wait around. Use it every time you feel pain. If you don't have a quick healing tool, check out Encodements and Soul Healing.
The more you heal, the more willing you are to take those risks to be open. The more you heal, the more you chip away at the heart of stone.
The happier you become. The freer you become. Peace becomes a part of your life, as well as laughter and joy.
The more you heal, the more open your heart is and the more you can receive. Receiving is a choice. It's not something that just happens. You have to extend your hands outward to receive a gift. To receive love, you must open your heart. You must be willing to experience pain. No matter how close the relationship, there will be pain. That's what happens when you put two imperfect people together. The clearer you both are, the less pain there will be. The less pain, the more the two of you can experience those moments of unconditional love.
Gradually, you chip through that heart of stone and the heart of flesh resurrects within you. The heart of flesh you were born with becomes, "re-hydrated" by the love which is now able to make it through the cracks of your crumbling heart of stone. Yes, the flesh is much more vulnerable than the stone; however, the flesh experiences Joy where the stony heart cannot.
A Daily Healing Program
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