What would you rather be? Smart or good? I bet your answer is “both”.
Although we say we want both, we may be spending more time trying to be smart than being good. For instance, we spend a fair amount of time taking in information through the Internet and various other media on a daily basis. But, how much time are we taking to cultivate goodness?
It’s far easier to be smart than to be good. Cultivating goodness requires us to live what we know, and not simply to know it. For example, you may be aware that you need to be more patient and loving, but you will have to actually be patient and loving over a long period of time before those good qualities actually become a part of your character.
Feeding only the head builds a big ego. Like two wings of a bird, the head and heart both need to be equally developed to be a balanced personality.
There are many ways to develop the heart. Here are three simple ways.
Being grateful is the fastest and easiest way to open your heart. It breaks you out of thinking only about your small, selfish concerns, and makes you look at life in a more objective way. This puts things in their proper perspective. Opening the heart brings you closer to people and things around you.
You can start by being grateful for the things that you take for granted right in front of you: The fact that you are able to use your eyes to read this sentence, have a mind to understand, a computer to read it from, electricity or batteries that make it work, a chair to sit on, a roof over your head…. you get the idea.
Even when things appear to be going against your desires or expectations, know that focusing on what is good and working right takes you out of your head into your heart.
Here’s a funny story about this.
A Guru wanted to test to see if his disciple had learnt the lessons well and was ready to go out into the cities and teach people there.
The Guru asked his disciple, “What if you went to speak to an audience, and they fell asleep?”
Disciple: “I’d continue. At least they didn’t walk out.”
Guru: “What if they walked out?”
Disciple: “At least they didn’t abuse me.”
Guru: ‘What if they abused you?”
Disciple: “At least they didn’t throw eggs or tomatoes at me.”
Guru: “What if they threw eggs at you?”
Disciple: “At least they didn’t kill me.”
Guru: ‘And what if they killed you?”
Disciple: “So what? We all have to die some day!”
The Guru happily gave his blessings and sent him on his way.
Nothing is totally bad; there’s always something good you can find and focus on.
Give Happiness to Others
Here’s an interesting thing – when we focus on what we have and feel grateful for it, a desire to give back and be of service to others comes to the mind. It’s something that just happens naturally and spontaneously. Why?
This happens because when we feel gratitude, our heart expands. When the heart expands, we become happy. And, when we are happy, we can’t sit still; we want to express it by sharing that happiness with others. The easiest way is to share what you have, or do something good for others.
Genuine giving comes not for happiness, but from happiness. This is the highest form of giving that opens the hearts of both the giver and the receiver.
What an easy way to grow and be happy in life!
The ego, whose domain is the head, doesn’t like to give up control. It tells you can do everything yourself; that there’s no higher power other than you. It tells you that have all the resources and skills to get you what you want.
While this seems like the symptoms healthy self-confidence, the truth of the fact is, your life can change in an instant due to factors out of your control. When you are overwhelmed by a life-altering accident, sudden loss or setback that leaves you feeling weak and vulnerable, where do you turn? No one person, place or situation can be your complete and permanent refuge. God or the higher power alone can provide real solace, solutions and be your true refuge.
Open your heart by relinquishing your clinging attachments to wrong ideas, things, situations and people to this Source, All-That-Is, the Universe or Nature. The idea is to get out of the head and open your heart to something larger than yourself.
The next time you feel the hunger to connect to something deeper within yourself, sincerely pray. There is nothing more transformational.
Being grateful, serving others and sincerely praying are three simple, yet, powerful ways to open the heart. The rewards are great – inner and outer peace, spiritual growth and integrity of character. A person who has developed both head and heart is loved, respected and admired by all.
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