April 20

Today's quotation:

The heart of one person moves another's.  If one's own heart is closed then the doors of other people's hearts will also shut tight.  On the other hand, someone who makes all those around him or her into allies, bathing them in the sunlight of spring, will be treasured by all.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day

Today's Meditation:

I would like my heart to be full of love and compassion, so that I can spread both the love and the compassion to others.  My heart is one of the most important elements of my body--both the physical heart that pumps the blood that keeps me alive and the spiritual/emotional/loving heart that keeps my spirit alive.  My heart is a messenger, and if I keep it open to love, I can have a loving heart that will help me to spread the light of love all the time.

Sometimes we close off our hearts because of the fear of getting hurt.  When we do this, we close off our whole lives to the influences of caring and loving people.  And while we may think that we're protecting ourselves, we're actually hurting ourselves both by keeping out wonderful things and not being able to share and pass on those wonderful things to others.

We need to do what we can to nourish our hearts so that they can be healthy enough to allow us to pass on love and compassion.  We need to allow our hearts to feel, even though sometimes those feelings may hurt; pain is sometimes a necessary part of these lives that we're living.  We need to trust our hearts and the messages they send us about our own conditions, about other people, and about how we're doing in this world right here and right now.

I sincerely want my heart to be loving and caring--I don't want it to become hard, to judge others, to be pessimistic about life in general.  If I want to make the world a better place, I can do so in my own little corner of the world by having a heart that cares, and that shares that caring with the living beings all around me.  My heart can be the key to this sharing, if I make sure that it doesn't harden in defense.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many of us go through life with hardened hearts, trying to defend ourselves from everything?

How might you make sure that your heart is open to love and compassion?

Does your heart help you to spread light, or darkness?

For further thought:

What we hold in our hearts for others is the way we'll act toward them.  A hard heart makes for hard judgments; a compassionate heart understands the humanity of the one we presume to judge.

Joan Chittister
Seeing with Our Souls
  

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