What is the connection between the energy of Love and Fear? Can we experience both at the same time? Simona answers reader questions...
This article is reprodruced with permission from a contributor, a spiritual seeker, Laura. The article contains Laura's description of her challenge with conflicting emotions and subsequent closing of the heart in response to fear. My response to her is also included.
I was thinking about love and the energy of fear. It is so true that in our bodies we can only feel one at a time. Fear constructs and tenses us up, whereas love is relaxed and literally open feeling, more circulation of breath and blood.
I do feel like I can experience love and fear around the same experience however. For example, I can have a friend, whom I love and admire but still feel hesitant and afraid at times, to be put off guard. So I suppose I am alternating between love and fear. In my body I may only feel one or the other at a given instant, but it is possible to flip from one to the other, particularly to fear.
I also wonder about the value of fear. I desire to be open and loving but often there may be a reason for fear, safety, caution. Perhaps it is over sensitive and tends to take hold and never let go but that doesn't mean it is always wrong or shouldn't be present.
Finally, as I pay attention more and more to my heart and staying open, I notice other people being closed off. I notice more or at least I notice this behavior in the context of the heart chakra, whereas before I might notice but didn't have the same concept and I find this idea illustrates quite well what happens in terms of connecting the mind and body and describing the overall experience. So I notice it in other people too.
And when I notice other people close off, I want so much that they can be open and free, almost desperately so. I mean I would trade my own openness for them to experience openness in that moment. Well at least sometimes I feel that way. What can I do?
Thank you for your message full of wisdom and insights. I sense your pain and that it is difficult for you when your heart is open and other people's hearts are closed.
We cannot change other people's feelings. We can be loving, kind, and compassionate. We can share our pain and through this we may create connection and awaken love in others. What do you love about these people? Share that with them too.
Our challenges in relationships help us to get in touch with deeper parts of ourselves.
You are open and loving, the energy of your heart chakra is flowing, and other people are closed. This is hard for you. You would like them to be open.
There is something within us that needs attention. Once we understand ourselves and our pain, we can share it with others. To understand our pain and to get in touch with the deeper parts of ourselves, we need to quiet down, be present in the moment and inquire within the pain.
What is so hard about it?
Where is the pain?
What do I feel in my heart when I am open and loving and other people are not?
What do I feel when I realize that I cannot change other people's feelings?
What do I feel when I see people suffering?
I'd been thinking about what you said and planning to write back to you. I've done some meditating on the questions you raised, and although I haven't any articulate insights, it feels like a strong, beneficial practice. I intend to continue with it and see where it takes me.
The main thought that I have in response to the email, though is that all of this really makes me wonder, whether or not I am open and loving at all. As I pay attention to the feeling of openness and the heart chakra and become more aware of it, I think I can open and feel more connected and that sense of bliss. Not that it is a new feeling in and of itself, but something that using this idea of the heart chakra, I can access more easily and as and when I desire.
Nonetheless, sometimes I feel I can be so sensitive that I just close off to other people. It's like a protective response. This is not a new thing, but in trying what it is like to be open and enjoying that, it saddens me to close up like that. In particular, it reminds me of certain patterns that I developed as a young teenager. and have stayed with me to an extent for a long time. That at that time, when my sense of openness wasn't reciprocated by someone else, at least not how I expected it to be, then I just closed off. I was always really shy as a kid, even a little kid, but I didn't really close off in the same way until I got older. As a kid of was shy, but not self-consciously so and once I "forgot" about how shy I was and had been integrated into the (new) environment/people, then I would be totally open. When I am older though, it became harder for me to completely transition out of the shyness. I did develop strategies of my own over time that helped with this. Not to delve too far off tract with all of that though.
So when I come to this concept and practice with the heart chakra and I allow myself a feeling of love and openness and receptiveness, then when I sense another person's pain I wish I were a PacMan that could just gobble it up and make it go away. You talk about sharing yourself and your feelings as a way of connecting with people and creating intimacy. So as I allow myself to be open with people, I experience a lot of fear in even the idea of doing that.
I suppose it is the fear of being judged. Or of not being understood. Perhaps a fear of being rejected, but the fact is that I am rejected either way. At the moment it is myself who is doing the rejecting. In the other scenario, it is the other person, whom I give the opportunity to reject me. And actually by putting it in the other person's hands is the only scenario that creates an opportunity for openness. And what I just said about rejection, really holds too for judgment. I am judging myself or the other person but not sharing. Judging myself by judging what I would share and judging the other person by assuming their reaction would be judgmental. I suppose it is hard because so many people are so judgmental. I can include myself in that, although I try not to always be so. It ends up just being a reaction in me sometimes. I guess the real question just comes back to understanding. How can I communicate to another person in such a way that they understand?
To be honest, I don't really like feelings and talking about them that much, but perhaps the real problem is that I just don't even have a particularly good language to use. For example, you ask "what do you love about these people?" and a lot of the time that is so hard to articulate. I mean especially the people I love the most in this world, my friends and family, it becomes really difficult to describe. I can say I love to go on walks with my mother and getting to talk with her. Why? I don't know. Maybe because she loves it so much and then it is something that we can share together and the routine is very comforting as well. And then when you are getting to know someone new, whom you haven't known long or don't know too well yet, but you like them and think that they are funny or smart or something like that, but maybe that's about all you can really say at that point.
Clearly I've over thought all of this. Everyone knows what love feels like, well hopefully. I underestimate myself and in particular other people when I worry about that; that I can't communicate a feeling in a way that can be understood. Sometimes I just feel so foreign. In particular, with people who are new to me, and even if I like the person quite well, I just don't really say that ever. Maybe that's all it comes down to. Just telling people that you appreciate them.
So those questions you asked, the ones you suggested meditating on, when I sense other people's pain and them being closed off, this email is making me realize that maybe I am just sensing myself in that person. That sense of desire to feel something and yet fear of the feeling as well. There is something so strong about the heart chakra that it feels like it could overpower you and you just have to close it down in order for it to not overtake you. The world is an awfully big place and to allow it all in could easily feel overwhelming. Granted my sense of feeling their pain must be me sensing myself, for by the true nature of these things, my feelings are always from within me.
I welcome your response and insights in return.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. You have had some very deep insights into your own experience.
Your original email was about your pain of other people being closed. As you thought about it more, you came to many insights, and shifted your focus to your own experience. Other people provide us a mirror, they are a reflection, that something is going on for us. And you have realized this.
You began to wonder whether or not you are open and loving. You realized that sometimes, in order to protect yourself, you respond by closing off to other people. And that this was a pattern that you developed as a young teenager, when openness was not reciprocated the way you expected it to be, you closed off. You also talked a little bit about being shy as a kid and having developed strategies that helped you to as you are older now.
You then write that when you allow yourself a feeling of love, openness and receptiveness, when you sense other people's pain, you would like to make it go away (gobble it up like a PacMan). Towards the end of the email, you realize that maybe you are sensing yourself in that person. The sense of desire to feel something and yet fear of the feeling as well. You sense the power of the heart chakra and that it feels like it can overpower you if you let the world into your heart. And again, you return to noting that feeling the pain of others, is sensing yourself, as our feelings always arise from within.
It takes a lot of courage to open yourself and allow yourself to bring this to your awareness!
Perhaps the fear of the power of the heart chakra and that it can overpower us if we let the world into our heart, is the fear to get in touch with our own deep pain.
You also talked about fear of allowing yourself being open with people; even just thinking about it can bring out fear. There were three main fears for you: fear of being judged, not being understood, and being rejected. Your insights about rejection and judgments were tremendous. You realized that you are judging yourself what you would share and judging the other person how they would react.
This brought you to a question: How can I communicate to another person in such a way that they understand? In my experience, Laura, for deep sharing and communication, we must find quiet time so that we can be truly in the present moment. Slowing down, really sensing ourselves in the present moment, sensing the presence of the other person and giving them quiet time so that they also can be in the present moment and sense themselves. That creates the basis for communicating our feelings.
Truth is only in the “here and now”, in the present moment. When you can slow down enough, the natural expression will unfold itself. And my experiences tell me, that when we share our deepest pain and our deepest fears during such quiet moments, when both people are present, we will not be judged by the other person. Rather, whatever is shared in those moments, will open them up, will help them to get in touch with their own pain and their own fears. They will most likely feel connection, love, compassion, kindness. It is an act of courage, trust, and an act of love towards the other person to share yourself.
A friend of mine once shared some personal fear with me. He was risking that I would be triggered and potentially would never want to see him again. Or that I would be angry and raging. But, he trusted me enough, he wanted to shared this with me, that he took the risk. It was a quiet moment when he shared that and I did have a reaction. I did go to some childhood stuff and cried. He remained present while I was crying and we were able to talk about it more. I calmed down and understood him. And I no longer felt triggered. What he did was a gift to me. He showed me that he trusted me enough to share this, that he was willing to risk standing in the middle of fire or being left alone, to share himself with me. That was very meaningful for me. And I felt very connected to him then.
Yes, sharing ourselves is risky. We are being vulnerable. And we do not know how the other person will react or if they will remain present to us. We can only stay in the present moment for ourselves and for the other person. Even if they have a reaction that we wanted to avoid. When they do have a reaction, try to remain present, in your body, in the present moment and simply ask, with a kind, caring tone of voice: “What’s going on for you right now?” They will likely share what they are feeling and that will create an opportunity for explanation of what you meant in what you said. The key is to be present enough, that if they have a reaction, that you can gently ask about what is going on for them. This will help them to see that they are having a reaction (a trigger from the past) and it is not about you. And the door of communication will remain open.
You also mention having a hard time communicating feelings, because they can be confusing and you may not have a good language for them. Yes, feelings can be confusing and conflicting at times. It is part of being human to have conflicting feelings. Our experiences occur on different levels of our beings and they can be therefore complex and conflicting. Being aware and accepting this conflict, being kind and compassionate with yourself, is a way to integrate these conflicting feelings into your being. The following website has helped me with my feeling vocabulary: http://www.psychpage.com/learning/library/assess/feelings.html
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