There are some things in life that are undeniably facts. We are all born and we all die. We all need food and water. We all suffer and we all want to feel good. Everything in between seems to be unique to us and no one else. And yet why is it that sometimes, when watching a good movie or reading a good book, we are able to recognize so much of ourselves and our life in its characters?
Perhaps it is because, more than anything, we are equalized by the questions we are faced with and by the choices we have to make in response.
When someone betrays us, we have to decide if we are going to avenge or practice courage and let go.
When we experience a loss, we have to decide if we are going to live in fear of more losses coming our way or find the strength to accept loss as a part of life.
When we hurt someone, we have to decide if we are going to take responsibility for the pain we caused or keep a list of reasons why we think we are right.
In all of these cases, we have someone on the other side of the equation, and we have to choose the way we are going to treat them. Sometimes our choice is expressed in action towards this person, other times – in the way we feel about them. Action or feeling, it is an internal choice we make.
Choices we make and how we feel about them live in our heart. Although connected to our minds, our hearts exist in a different dimension than our minds. Hearts don’t think, they feel and they are neutral. Our hearts feel whatever we’ve decided.
When we hold on to a painful experience and choose to not let go of it, we continue to house our feelings about this experience in our heart. If we hold on to a lot of painful feelings, in self-defense, we might inadvertently close our heart because the pain becomes too heavy to carry.
Unfortunately, while closing our heart numbs our pain, it also makes it impossible to feel joy. A life with no pain or joy might feel safer than the constant and guaranteed ups and downs but provides no peace or satisfaction.
Interestingly, when we make choices that are what we call “the high road”, i.e., forgiving those who’ve betrayed us, making things right with those whom we’ve hurt, accepting things that we can’t control, eventually our feelings of pain leave, and our heart is able to stay free and open. Thus, leaving plenty of room for feelings of joy and peace.
At times, taking the high road seems to be completely unattainable. This might be the perfect time to ask ourselves whose side we are on – numbness and resignation of a closed heart or freedom and peace of an open heart. The choice is always ours.