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An undefended heart.  We all have one.  A place or a space we experience as being inside – that holds our most tender and raw feelings.  The part that can open a person to the quivering heart of another and to others pain….that part that knows exactly what we need and can say it in words a second grader can understand. That place inside where are deepest secrets reside.  In Vipassana Buddhism I have heard this referred to as the undefended heart and I like the poetics of this language.  

amazin grace

I do not experience my undefended heart in this manner.  I experience it through the eyes, the pain, the wisdom, and the heart of a child.  I call him Lil Bob.  His age varies from my original face before I was born to around 10 or 11.  Lil Bob is the spirit dancing in the images I create, it is through his eyes that the Life around strikes a chord with the Light within and delight arises and curiosity dissolves into wonder.  All held within an undefended space a spacious place  (Hermione’s magical purse) that contains the seeds of  trust, faith, love, curiosity, patience, persistence, playfulness, gratitude, innocence and purity of love that is the birthright and inheritance of everyone of us.

BUT!A sleeperI don’t always listen to Lil Bob.  It’s as if  the adult “me” thinks it knows what is best for the child within and that’s not condescending but true.  All of us grow up with protective shells keeping our hearts safe from hurt and perceived threats largely untested and mostly untrue and many of us (self included) have mistaken the stories for the truth of who we are.  We weave powerful stories that we then find ourselves acting upon and acting out as if they were true (making them so?) and leaving the initial, nascent desire of one’s  Lil Bob’s and of the tender heart pushed away somewhere.  Shoved down into what a Jungian would call the Shadow.  Safe from harms way can also mean hidden from sight and forgotten about……..and that is what I tend to do repeatedly.  Do you too?

A Jungian said:  “we  easily take our worst fears and thoughts to be who we are, and we greatly resist the noble aspects of our selves…..It is more disruptive to find that one has profound nobility of character than to find out you are a bum.”  To see that one has profound nobility of character might demand great changes.  It might call upon one to strive for greatness or it might simply call upon one to walk in faith, trusting in the ultimate goodness of creation, courageously opening one’s heart in compassion and kindness for self – for others – no distinctions – no separations found.

When one speaks from his or her undefended heart the other will quickly arrive there as well because the voice of the undefended heart calls upon our natural goodness and natural compassion.  Paradoxically, being in the undefended heart is often the last place most of us want to go and still the only place where we can truly get what we need.     And!

never let spirit dieIt’s hard to go there.  And sometimes its the only place that one can really start from.

And each time I awake and remember I always resolve not to forget – not to put aside the murmurings of Lil Bob and I vow to remember that going to the place of the undefended heart is a good thing – a very positive relational seed planting thing and for awhile my heart glows and life and love flows back and forth between self and others around and after a few hours or a few days and ever so slowly as other things arise and old things fall back –  I fall back into the stories – I sink back into sleep and I forget…..We forget.   We Forget that……

SymbiosisSeeds planted today might sprout tomorrow and seeds planted many days ago might never blossom.  There is so much we do not know or understand about life, about death, who we are or where we are going and it’s a scary ride at times and we have people of wisdom and insight, and others stories and teachings to draw inspiration from.  Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, Abraham, and the millions who have awakened from sleep long enough to see that when one rests in the undefended heart they rest in God’s heart… in the Dharma… in Life living itself. What else can we do?