Warmheartedness on a Cold Day…

 In Reflections

“When someone is warmhearted, they are always completely relaxed. If you live with fear and consider yourself as something special, then automatically, emotionally, you are distanced from others. You then create the basis for feelings of alienation from others and loneliness. So, I never consider, even when giving a talk to a large crowd, that I am something special, I am ‘His Holiness the Dalai Lama, ‘” he said, mocking his venerated status. —The Dalai Lama, as shared by Douglas Abrams in The Book of Joy

Perhaps it is the cold temperatures outside that drew me to the wisdom His Holiness the Dalai Lama shared about how being open and warmhearted keeps loneliness away and welcoming to joy.

But I was struck by the power of his advice to mentally eliminate barriers between us in order to allow heartfelt connections between strangers.

With so many people seeking, even in well-meaning ways, to elevate and separate him, the Dalai Lama intentionally breaks down that barrier to stay connected and consequently offer a greater gift when you are with him.

“I always emphasize that when I meet people, we are all the same human beings. A thousand people—same human being—mentally, emotionally, and physically. Then, you see, no barrier. Then my mind remains completely calm and relaxed. If too much emphasis on myself, and I start to think I’m something special, then more anxiety, more nervousness.” —The Dalai Lama

If you’re isolated at home today or feeling lonely in a crowd, how might envisioning the sameness or connection to others ease the sense of isolation and warm your heart and home? And how might your connecting heart-to-heart in your prayers or meditation with those homeless or cold warm them up or inspire them to seek shelter?

Douglas Abrams shared in this chapter on loneliness (in The Book of Joy) that the research of social psychologists Chen-Bo Zhong and Shira Gabriel shows “when people are feeling lonely or socially rejected, they literally seek warmth, like sipping hot soup.” He goes on to point out that what the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu were saying in the discussion of loneliness as a barrier to joy is that “we can generate that warmth simply by opening our hearts and turning our attention and our concern to other people.” What a beautiful way to stay warm and feel connected this winter!

May you feel your body, mind, and spirit warm, loved, and connected as you open your heart by focusing on the wellbeing of others.

Open Your Heart

“Open your eyes to the beauty around you, open your mind to the wonders of life, open your heart to those who love you, and always be true to yourself.”
—Maya Angelou

One Thing

“I don’t know much about this world, but I do know one thing. When people open their hearts, they find the courage to do remarkable things. So keep your heart open. I wouldn’t worry about anything else.”
―R.M. Drake

Winter’s Cloak

This year I do not want
the dark to leave me.
I need its wrap
of silent stillness,
its cloak
of long lasting embrace.
Too much light
has pulled me away
from the chamber
of gestation.

Let the dawns
come late,
let the sunsets
arrive early,
let the evenings
extend themselves
while I lean into
the abyss of my being.

Let me lie in the cave
of my soul,
for too much light
blinds me,
steals the source
of revelation.

Let me seek solace
in the empty places
of winter’s passage,
those vast dark nights
that never fail to shelter me.

—Joyce Rupp

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