Being Present
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The Aztec fire serpent Xiuhcoatl, guardian of the celestial sun and an aspect of the ‘refining fire’ that purifies and enlivens the emotional centre
The Aztec fire serpent Xiuhcoatl, guardian of the celestial sun and an aspect of the ‘refining fire’ that purifies and enlivens the emotional centre. Copyright © 2008, FOF.
May 2008

Emotional Fire

Stillness is a quality of the heart. We must not expect to find it among the doubts of the mind.

Rodney Collin

As one awakens, the heart becomes a rarefied, sensitive organ of perception. With the higher energy of consciousness, the heart expands invisibly. Instead of a crude receptacle for negative emotions, the heart becomes a subtle instrument that both apprehends the challenge in awakening and encourages one in the struggle. Without heart in one’s efforts, one will not awaken. Even when efforts are scientific, planned and consistent—the beat of a prayer, the rhythm of breath—it is the heart that chooses to awaken, understands the necessity of effort and lives for the moment.

Even as a function, the emotional centre works under different laws. Compared to the moving, instinctive and intellectual functions that operate through instruction and command, the emotional centre, specifically that part that is interested in awakening, works by example. In some cases, this example may be the verification of a higher influence, or through the understanding that selflessness allows higher centres to emerge. Understanding the emotional centre and the way it brings energy to one’s work is an essential study.

‘Bring heart to head’, Ouspensky told his students, helping them understand their efforts to be present. Efforts simply from the intellectual centre are not enough. When one perceives the depth of one’s sleep, or one sees the manifold depth of stars above and questions existence, or when a situation of suffering makes one realise that ordinary faith in god is insufficient, at these times, the emotional centre ignites and becomes a torch for awakening.

But aside from huge and life-changing experiences, how does one evoke this emotional energy? How does one fit the expansive heart into an aim small enough, as Ouspensky says, ‘for one’s pocket’? The creativity of the heart finds the solutions. A pebble in one’s shoe reminds one to wake up. Refusing the habitual judgement of others. Cultivating an eye for the beauty of ordinary moments. Above all, finding ways to not complain, since Higher Centres, the immortal, sleepless, perpetual aspect of one’s being, do not complain of their existence within one. In these and other small ways, one’s heart is cleansed of negativity and begins to burn with the fuel of presence.