Kadi Kütt Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you walked the path of your heart, following the call of your heart? Would you dare to open your heart to all the people walking in either the same or opposite direction with you? Living in harmony with your heart is a worthwhile skill! I believe that every journey, be it finding a new job, building a home, starting a family, raising a child, or developing ourselves spiritually, should start from the heart. The heart tells you which direction is right. But we do not know how to listen to our hearts. And so we keep making the wrong choices in life, we dive into the wrong relationships and go past ourselves. What does living in harmony with the heart really mean? Is this another slogan of new spirituality? How do you listen to the heart? What kind of mind should I develop here: to sharpen my hearing, to improve vision, to tune my touch to be more sensitive? And what if I’m really in touch with my heart – how do I recognize it? I am going to try to answer all of these questions.
I don’t have any problems!
The curriculum for holistic regression therapists includes a heart module that covers everything related to the heart, including gratitude, forgiveness, compassion, trust, love and living with an open heart. I clearly remember how I told my course mates before this module, “Anything else I could have a problem with but not with opening my heart and loving! I have forgiven everyone I needed to forgive. I am in a happy relationship, which means I can love well enough.” After four days of study, I vomited for the next four days and my body burned with a high fever. Over time, it became increasingly clear that I didn’t really know what forgiveness meant, I don’t dare to let other people close to me, most of the time my heart is locked and, instead of loving, I control and manipulate. And with all this, I am mercilessly critical of myself.
Experience is important.
Our everyday language is full of all sorts of expressions about the heart: we describe someone kind as a ‘big-hearted’ person; whoever mistreats us is ‘heartless’; when we feel joy our heart is beating like a rabbit’s; when a loved one deceives us, our heart is broken; when we feel sadness for someone, our heart bleeds. This is how we speak. But for the most part, we have no idea how our hearts really feel. When speaking only from one’s heart there is a danger of remaining superficial, of using ‘flowery language’ . If you want to be genuinely in touch with your heart, to share in its wisdom, you have to experience and practise every day. Words are not enough in this case. In Holistic Regression Therapy, in addition to the conversation, the session includes a journey; the client is lying down, eyes closed and ‘travelling’ in an altered state of consciousness in their inner world. Lying down and eyes closed, because then the brain works more slowly, it is easier for us to slip out of the rational mind and work with the subconscious. Why is the subconscious needed here? When exploring your own deep layers, the mind is not a very good helper – it tends to stick to the familiar and safe. If we have already failed at something, or if a situation has hurt us, then the mind thinks that experiencing that situation again would be an idiotic idea. We get scared, we act the same way we have done so far or was easier. Or we give up. By working with the subconsciousness and the heart, we can explore ourselves much more deeply and from different angles. What have I learned about the heart with my clients?
The heart is so lifeless?!
To begin, I ask the client to imagine that they are standing in front of their heart and just observing it. Sometimes one glance is enough to understand: the owner has forgotten the heart; it is torn and empty of energy. The subconscious communicates with us through symbolic images. In such cases it shows a heart that is shrivelled like a rotten apple, on which there are bleeding wounds, or that is wrapped in iron wicker or barbed wire. The same people who talk about listening to the voice of the heart and following the call of the heart, while sitting in an armchair during a conversation, now want to escape because the sight is disappointing. “My heart is so lifeless!” “It is not my heart – I don’t want to get any closer to it. Let’s get out of here!” “This is your heart,” I have to tell my client. “If you leave now, you leave your heart in trouble. No one else can help your heart.” How can a torn and energy-poor heart guide us? How can we hear its guidance if we don’t even dare to face our heart? Of course, there are other kinds of journeys where the client’s heart is beautiful, alive, full of strength and energy and ‘works like clockwork’. From such a heart, we can confidently embark an expedition of any depth.
We talk to the heart and pat it.
The rapidly developing field of energetic cardiology says that the heart has its own nerve centre, thanks to which the heart can receive information from the outside, interpret information, learn new things and remember. There have been several experiments around the world that prove that the heart really hears when we talk to it. It responds to our words. It is known that the heart emits electromagnetic waves and the quality of these waves also depends, among other things, on how we treat ourselves and our hearts – whether we pay loving attention or criticise and offend it. “Dear heart, now, I see you. I’m sorry I couldn’t take care of you. I am very grateful to you for serving me so well for so long.” I believe these are the words our hearts want to hear. Of course, it is disappointing when it turns out that you have forgotten your heart. But no one has taught us to communicate with the heart! Maybe your heart has experienced rejection or betrayal, perhaps you have dreams, in the dark grooves of your heart, that have never seen the light of day, but now it is possible to change it. Then don’t be critical of yourself, be affectionate and show compassion (your heart hears you!). On the journey, we pat the heart, blow on the sore spot, apply a healing ointment to the wounds and promise the heart that we will take better care of it and listen to it in the future. It is a start.
The path to the heart space is full of obstacles.
Many religions and spiritual practices talk about a secret chamber in the human heart; there is a sacred space of the heart, in which we store all experiences and memories. This holy room has been studied for millennia during the ceremonies to purify and heal internally under the guidance of a priest or shaman. We will also undertake this expedition in our sessions. Often the journey to the sacred space of the heart is full of obstacles: it is pitch black inside, it smells strange, sometimes the floor underneath disappears, or the staircase leading to the heart falls apart. These are also messages sent by the subconsciousness. One of my clients recently summed up the journey: “It’s like a horror movie where I can get stuck!” I admire the courage of people to explore their deepest layers and darkest corners still, despite the fear and emerging obstacles. It would be much easier to give up and live the old way. That’s what happens: before I can say anything encouraging, the client is out of his heart, sitting on the bed and happy to escape. “Please, don’t leave!” I ask him. ‘This is your heart; only you can change something. If you don’t do something here and now, in an imagination where anything is possible, how can you make a difference in your daily life?” Belgian writer and filmmaker Baptist de Pape has aptly said, “The journey from head to heart is neither short nor easy, but it will lead you to your destiny in the end.”
People believe that all pain and suffering, all hurt and disappointments are in the heart. The heart is the one that aches from longing and bursts with pain. This makes the expedition to the sacred space of the heart frightening. It is not easy to face the pain of the past and the deeply hidden emotions! We are used to denying and hiding our feelings because showing feelings makes us vulnerable and so we look weak. In Western countries, the primary cause of death is a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, which in the language of energy is called an energy explosion. We gather fear and pain in our hearts, also frustration and resentment due to unmet needs and we grow a high barrier around it to protect our troubled heart even just a little. But this barrier does not allow the energy of love to flow. But love is the food of the heart. If the energy of love cannot flow freely, too much tension will build up in the heart, the heart will no longer take it at some point and it may “explode”. Suppose you type the keywords “heart health” on the Internet. In that case, you get plenty of advice on nutrition and supplements, as well as warnings about the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and cholesterol. Still, there is no word on the fact that suppressed and hidden emotions affect your heart. If we really want to understand the causes of heart disease and prevent it, we must understand what is it that prevents love from flowing in our hearts. We have no choice but to face our fears and past pains and release our emotions. Because if we do not dare to do so, we will not have access to love.
Changing the heart space.
Now that we have reached the heart space, the question is, “What does your heart need to feel better?” Mostly, your heart needs space and air first. The client pushes the walls of his heart space further (in the imagination everything is possible!) and opens the windows to get fresh air. Then they furnish their secret room so that they could feel safe, secure and comfortable there. Every person needs a place where they can relax, where they do not have to wrestle with day-to-day responsibilities and other people’s expectations. Heart space could be such a place, right? There have been clients to see me, for whom their heart is the only place in the world, which they can call their own place, where they can be on their own and do what they want. What else have the hearts of my clients been waiting for? Definitely more rest (this isn’t probably news to anyone), silence, being alone, enjoying nature, more joy, lightness, play, inspiration, passion, creation. What are you doing today to provide your heart with what it needs for its well-being and health?
What do you really want?
People talk about the real Self, but when I ask them what they truly want, what makes them happy, what kind of change they want in their lives, the answer I often get is something superficial, sometimes just a shrug. These questions are tough to answer! The mind wants to hold on to the existing self-image. Who am I when I let go of an old familiar Self? How should I go on with my life? According to self-development guru Anthony Robbins, letting go of the old Self is in a way comparable to dying. It is terrifying! Being on the journey in the heart makes it easier to answer such questions because, in our personal heart space, we can be completely honest with ourselves. “What does your heart need?” – With this question, we go through the layers of protection created by the mind, such as, “I should”, “I shouldn’t”, “It’s not right”, “It’s not done”; and what is really important can come to the surface. With this question, we also open the door to suppressed emotions to finally free them. One of the children’s grief counsellors wrote about how they use the help of a heart in their work. Children are known to learn from adults how to behave in one situation or another. When a loved one dies, one must be strong and resilient at all costs, and one must not show their emotions. The child doesn’t know that this is just a surface, a mask. To get behind this learned mask and let the insane flaming sadness escape, the grief counsellor tells the child, “Dear child, now close your eyes and tell me what your heart wants.” Why do we wear those masks? Because it seems easier, less disturbing, less painful. I will give some examples from my therapy sessions. The client says in the conversation that they do not want to commit to anyone; they want to be free because it is much better to live to be free. This in itself is normal, because everyone has the right to decide how they live. But when I look at this client, their body language expresses everything but freedom. It is also tough for them to express their feelings and needs. The journey reveals the great fear of commitment in the person’s heart, a fear to open their heart to another person and to allow themselves to be loved, because of childhood beliefs such as, “I have no right to be happy”, or “All relationships hurt”; simply do not let them. We may not realise that we are making some decisions out of fear, not love. Or another example: I often hear from people who have experienced emotional or physical violence in childhood, “I have left the past behind, I have forgiven my parents for everything.” – “Good. You are in your heart space right now. Could you invite your mother there too?” – “No! I don’t trust her; she brings too much pain.”… There is still a lot of work to be done to go beyond words and be able to let go and forgive genuinely. There is one lovely expression in the family constellation, the method used to study the influence of the immediate and extended family, “I will give you a place in my heart.” Who else but your parents? How else can we say that we have forgiven and let go? How else can we move on our lives? There is another person who should have a sure place in our hearts: that little girl or boy who remembers well the deprivation and pain of the past, disappointment and fear. This child still lives within us; it is our inner child. Finnish psychotherapist Tommy Hellsten has said that being a child means the right to receive attention, care and love, the right to be weak and vulnerable and to express one’s feelings, the right to be carried in the arms of one’s parents. But few are doing so well. A child who does not experience enough care and love must end one’s childhood early and become an adult quickly. Emotions must be suppressed because there is nothing inside and around the child that would carry their weakness. As an adult, such a person struggles with low self-esteem despite their external strength and ability to cope. On the journey, we make contact with the inner child, find out what they dream of and miss the most, and then we give the child what they need. There can be a lot of sadness and anxiety in these meetings, but there is always some deep beauty, power in them. “I will never leave you alone again,” we promise our inner child. “I promise to take care of you. From now on, you will always have a place in my heart.” By helping and healing this child, we also heal ourselves.
Like we have arrived home.
We have reached the end of our heart journey. “How do you feel now that you have connected with your heart?” I ask clients. “As if he had arrived home.” they say. There are many ways how the heart signals us that we have reached something important: we get caught up in enthusiasm, excitement, the chest warms up, the hands warm up and tingle, the body becomes light. Some clients say that they feel like they have grown wings on their backs. “Oh, I haven’t been able to breathe so deeply in a long time!” “Energy is bubbling in each of my cells.” These are just a few examples of physical change. You may have seen Sufi Spinners, aka ‘Whirling Dervishes’. Despite the incredible momentum of rotation, they remain balanced and they are completely at the centre of themselves. This is how you could feel when you are in touch with your heart. Your feet are firmly on the ground; your back is straight; your spiritual backbone is strong and carries you. This way, you can stay still and calm in any situation, even in the most difficult ones. Whether you are spinning yourself or the world is spinning around you, you are at the centre of yourself and you know for sure that you can trust yourself. This has been my greatest lesson: before I dare to open my heart to other people, forgive them, and love myself, I must first learn to trust myself. Do I know how to do it today? I believe I have learned something important. At least I’m not afraid of my emotions anymore – I dare to cry when something hurts me or get angry when someone shamelessly treads on my toes. In any case, I dare to express my needs. This is important so that I can be sincere and do not have to pretend and constantly adapt to other people’s expectations. Trusting yourself makes it much easier also to trust life and other people. You can approach people with a curious and open heart and believe that life brings good things. Do I dare to trust life without a doubt now? Do I dare to fully open my heart to the people I care about so that love could flow without hindrance? Do I curse myself less now and am I being more compassionate towards myself? I’m still learning all this. I believe that learning such important things lasts a lifetime.
Dear reader, your heart is your good companion. Examine it carefully, talk to it tenderly and compassionately. Ask your heart what it needs to feel even better and thank it for serving you so faithfully. Practise this every day. If you know the path to the heart, you can take any journey in the outside world. Now your goal is clearer, the journey is more meaningful and you are more genuine and confident. This is a precious experience. This article is based on a speech I gave on the 16th of November at the Women’s Seminar ‘Heart Path and Soul Stories’.