As a child I marvelled at how electricity travelled through wires into my house, and powered my Atari Game System. Yes, I am dating myself -but have you ever stopped to ponder how electricity goes through a fuse box in your house and power miraculously finds its way to all of the outlets? I remember a time where I plugged in a kettle while the dishwasher was on and everything suddenly came to a stop. I yelled for my dad, scared to death thinking I did something wrong, when all that happened was a fuse blew.
Have you ever had the experience of plugging something into an outlet and seeing it spark, or receiving a small shock? When my son was a baby, we fitted the outlets with plastic covers to ensure he wouldn’t shove something in them and get electrocuted. Because even with all the toys in the world;pots, pans, Tupperware, and anything he could shove in a socket was his idea of a good time.
The heart is a vital organ that pumps blood through our circulatory system so our body can receive oxygen rich blood for the entirety of our lives. . It works without us even consciously thinking about it. Every second of every hour, day, month, and year our hearts are working so that we can enjoy this physical existence. This symbol of love is what keeps us alive, and if we maintain it properly with good food and exercise, it will last us years.
Many masters have said that we live in a world of duality: hot and cold, up and down, love and hate. Our journey through life provides us with many experiences in which our heart feels both joy and pain. When we feel immense joy, like falling in love, we describe this feeling by saying our heart flutters or beats faster. When we feel deep pain from a break up, or the grief of losing someone we love, we describe this feeling by saying that our heart is broken or aching.
What do you do when your heart feels broken?
How do you deal with experiences that weigh heavy on your heart?
And what does your heart have to do with electricity?
I am far from an electrician; in fact, I am not very handy at all. What I have come to understand is that when an outlet is not working, the electrician will come in, take the plate cover off of the outlet, and check to see if everything is ok with the wiring. If it is, then they go to the fuse box to see if a breaker has tripped.
When we experience something that causes our heart to ache, many people resort to a variety of activities to help hide or numb the pain. We self soothe through things like:
- Emotional Eating (aka fast food therapy)
- Alcohol and drugs (aka numbing therapy)
- Emotional Shopping (aka retail therapy)
- Meaningless sex or internet porn
Dr. William Glasser says that all we do is “behave” from the moment we are born till the moment we die. We behave in a way that puts us in either more or less effective control. When we resort to the above-mentioned activities, it is often because this behaviour gives us some comfort. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it pacifies us enough to continue our daily routines.
What if we stopped and looked for the reason why something is bothering us, in the same way an electrician follows the line back to the fuse box? Our heart is the fuse box of our being. If we took the time to understand, accept, and even forgive a situation instead of numbing and resisting our feelings, we would get to the root of the problems.
We are humans: spiritual and emotional beings. We need to remember it is ok to feel. It’s ok to have emotions before, during, and after a situation. But then the question remains: how long are we willing to carry and hold on to those emotions, allowing them to weigh heavily on our minds and hearts?
The Parable of the Monks
To help illustrate what I mean by this I would like to share a story that I first heard years ago.
The head of a monastery asks a senior monk to take a junior monk out for a walk in the forest for a day. He then states that the only rule they most follow is to not have any direct contact with women.
So, the two monks set out for a walk into the forest. A few hours in, they notice a woman up ahead carrying what looks to be a heavy basket, trying to cross a stream. As the monks approach the woman, the senior monk takes the basket, hands it to the junior monk , picks up the woman, and carries her to the other side of the stream. The junior monk hands the basket back to the woman, and the two monks continue on their walk.
The junior monk is beside himself; he can’t understand why the senior monk did what he did. The rules were clear, there is to be no direct contact with women.
A mile down the path the junior monk is still filled with confusion. He really wants to ask the senior monk why he did what he did, but he doesn’t have the courage.
A mile and a half, and the junior monk cannot stop thinking about the situation.
Finally, at 2 miles, he turns to the senior monk and asks, “ senior monk, why did you do what you did back there? We were specifically told not to come in contact with women. I really don’t understand.” The senior monk turns to look at the junior monk and says, “ junior monk, I put down the woman two miles ago, and you are still carrying her.”
There is no doubt that, as we go through this journey called life, we will have interactions that leave us confused and hurting. Whether it is the break up of your first love, the loss of a family member, or an argument with a friend. We will always have feelings and emotions that we carry with us. As time passes we accumulate a lot of these emotions until one day we simply can’t anymore. All of these past experiences pile on, the weight becomes crippling, and we can’t keep carrying them.
Most of us make changes when something traumatic happens to us. I have always used the example of a son that quits smoking because his father dies of lung cancer. Or the person that goes to the doctor after a bout of chest pain and finds out that they need to make some health changes or they will likely have a heart attack.
However you deal with pain and suffering is your personal way, but know that overtime it will inevitably manifest physically in some way if we continue to placate and comfort ourselves instead of getting to the root of the problem. We must follow the line back to the fuse box of our lives: the heart. We must begin to unravel, understand, and heal why we are feeling pain and where the pain is coming from; rather than numbing it with McDonalds and Pornhub.
I want you to know, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to family, reach out to friends, get involved in some kind of therapy, or get yourself a coach. Either way, be the electrician of your own life, and always follow the line back to your heart.