Monday, February 6, 2017

Mission VI: Open the Heart

For Reflection:
Before moving on to Mission #6, take a moment to reflect on yesterday's mission. How did it feel to have such a mindful, intimate experience with your meal? Have you ever thought about food being such an expression of values, or even a spiritual experience? How might you bring more mindfulness into your experience of eating everyday? If you haven't done so, post your reflections and experiences on the Compassion Report Map to amplify your compassionate action!

I attended a very special Tea Time at a local church yesterday.  Divers-Tea is now in its second year and the first year.  Divers-tea had 100 women from diverse faiths gathered for an art activity and conversation in its first year.  In its second year, 200 women gathered for a deep listening and sharing time.  The art activity was secondary.  I was mindful about the tea when I savored it after I poured tea to the ladies at table 19 from my mother's tea pots.  Two of the nine women at my table participated by listening.  The others shared their thoughts to questions provided by the organizers about the meaning and challenges of diversity in our times.  We all shared one thing in common, we drank the tea that came from my ancestors tea pot without walls, fears, or divisions.  My mother's tea pots unify us with something warm, comforting, and connecting.  We all wanted more tea, be it with sugar, cream, or plain!  Tea was Peace! Tea was human dignity connected!
“The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart." 
The Teaching of a Sioux Legend

Today’s sixth mission, Agents, is to heed the call of our hearts by opening its secrets to someone we love.
Too often, our experiences in life lead us to believe that having an open heart is a form of weakness, a way for others to hurt us. In response, we learn to build great barriers around our hearts so that we can protect ourselves from pain. Sadly as a result, the way to our heart becomes overgrown with thorns, brambles, and the path is nearly forgotten.

Yet the heart needs no map, for it always calls to us to return to it. We know - from decades of research and thousands of years of teachings from wisdom traditions - that an open and loving heart is central to our happiness and well-being. When we express the deepest parts of ourselves to others who care for us, not only are we more joyful as a result, but those we care for are happier, as well.
It takes courage to open one’s heart, but to live an authentic life, one must be willing to take those risks to transcend our fears and find peace within ourselves. By doing so, we inspire others to share themselves as well, and together with open hearts, we can find our way to a more peaceful and loving world.
Today’s mission, Agents, is to share something that is close to your heart with someone you care about. It may be opening up about something you need help with but were too afraid to ask. It could be sharing how you feel for this person, or how much you care about them. Identify within yourself a meaningful way to open your heart to another, and see what effect it has on yourself and on them.
As you fulfill your mission, share your experiences on the Compassion Report Map to amplify its power! Check out all of the inspiring reports posted on the map so far!

Going Deeper:

Want to take this Mission a bit further? Dr. James Doty, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and champion of compassion, developed an mnemonic alphabet of the heart to deepen the practice of opening the heart every day. Read the alphabet of the heart here, and use it to guide and support your journey in opening your heart to another for today’s mission.

Inspiration for Mission #6:

Inspiration for this mission comes from the teachings and lifelong commitment of His Holiness the 16th Dalai Lama, who says, “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.”

Additional Resources:

Review Past Missions!

Missed any of the previous missions or want to review them? View them here!