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Washing Clean the Heart

Washing Clean the Heart

 

The Waterfall Writes

The waterfall is beautiful
flooding the mountain side
like tears of all the empty;
like verses long denied.
Rushing violent waters
stampede through the rocks
bringing thoughts so quickly
my mind is tied in knots,
blending at the surface
of a lagoon so clear and blue,
enmeshing with the memories
of dreams I shared with you;
creating hope for future;
washing clean the heart.
The waterfall is lovely.
I wonder where it starts.

 

by Joyce Carol Gibson

 

My Take:

This is the second time I read that line “washing clean the heart”. The other time was by Rumi. Very powerful line. What does it take to wash the heart clean? What does it mean? Why is it so powerful? I got to thinking about time flowing like a waterfall. Time just falling, passing like water, rushing by, never stopping. Where does all the time go? And what are we doing with our time in this life?

I was working out at the gym today reading  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow while I was on the elliptical. I wanted to remember how the state of flow comes about. Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus. How can we attain this beautiful state of flow? Surely you must have experienced it, yes? Like the time you were painting and lost track of time fully engrossed in the activity. Or it might have been when you were making a very special dish. Pure creation. Very little separation between creator and creation.

According to Csikszentmihalyi “We must learn to achieve mastery over consciousness itself.” [To find flow and happiness]. Is that right? Is that how we achieve happiness? Mastery over our thoughts? I really don’t know that for sure. What is your opinion on this subject of happiness and thought?

But here is the paragraph that stopped me dead in my tracks. Hit me like a sledge hammer.

“Each of us has a picture of what we would like to accomplish before we die. How close we get to attaining this goal becomes the measure for the quality of our lives. If it remains beyond reach, we grow resentful or resigned. If it is at least in part achieved, we experience a sense of happiness and satisfaction.”

I started thinking I am wasting so much time and energy in my business and work. But what about our life’s accomplishment. Personally I spend way too little time on what matters to me most, spiritual attainment.  Some call it enlightenment. Is the statement above correct? Do we experience happiness and satisfaction if we achieve in part our life’s accomplishment? Is this true? I invite your comments. Because myself? I am really not sure.

I titled today’s post “Washing Clean the Heart” because I want to know what washes us clean? Is it freedom from thought? Is it beauty? Love? What does it for you? Is it spiritual attachments? Meditation? Flow experiences? If not, what?

 

Feature Photo Credit: Waterfall in Iceland by Liese Mahieu purchased at Dreamstime.com

Iceland:

Iceland is a mountainous island nation in the north Atlantic Ocean, located between Europe and North America. Though not part of the continental mainland, the country is considered European. The name of the country – Iceland – may not be that appropriate: although 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers, it has a surprisingly mild climate and countless geothermal hot-spots.

Iceland was first inhabited by Nordic and Irish people in the 9th century AD – tradition says that the first permanent settler was Ingólfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking who made his home where Reykjavik now stands. It is thought that Irish monks had temporarily inhabited the island some years prior to this. The Icelanders still basically speak the language of the Vikings.

Despite its name, Iceland has surprisingly mild winters for a country at that latitude owing to the warming effect of the Atlantic Gulf Stream, especially when put into comparison with the Russian one. Iceland enjoys a maritime temperate climate and the winters are often compared with those of New England (though the winds in winter can be bitter). However the rapidly changing weather has given rise to the local saying: ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes!’

It’s the kind of place where it’s not unusual to get rained on and sunburned at the same time – some Icelandic people also believe that if the winter is hard and long then the summer will be good and warm. The summers are usually cooler and
more temperate than elsewhere at the same.

 

11 Comments

  1. I found your take extremely engaging and wrought with many more questions than I have answers for. What, indeed, does “washing clean the heart” mean? It sounds like purity and authenticity to me. But it could just as well have said “washing clean the mind” and been every bit as powerful. For heart and head work together – sometimes reinforcing each other in ways that don’t serve us – but rather enslave us. Is happiness a letting go? Is it a deeply engaging, focused activity? Must happiness be tied to some thing, some condition, some activity? Or can truly unconditional happiness be lived on a moment-by-moment basis? Conditions that make us happy, that’s great. Happiness on its own – with no reliance on condition – that’s miraculous. And that’s the kind of everyday miracle I like to believe in.

    Perhaps after all, Csikszentmihalyi’s “mastery over consciousness itself” is the “washing clean”. It’s the standing in the NOW of the waterfall. Water comes and goes – the past and the future. But we stand in the FLOW, experiencing the only part of the waterfall that can be experienced – the purity of the NOW of the waterfall, our metaphor for life.

    • Hi Michele! I enjoyed your reply Michele very much, thank you. I believe in the miracle of happiness too. Letting go. Being in the moment. Unconditional happiness based on what’s inside, that’s the only way happiness could really happen. If we base out happiness on external conditions, we will constantly be disappointed, trying to get the world to conform to our wishes? Futile. Training our mind. Cultivating kinds. Generosity. Love for others and acceptance of self. That’s the path that leads to unconditional happiness. We can have mastery over the infinite waterfall of our thoughts, it’s only a matter of time and practice. I agree with your wonderful comments. Thanks you. 🙂

      • Hello Michelle & Andrew!

        Leave you this song… love the lyrics 🙂

        “Finally” http://soundcloud.com/kashykeegan/finally

        “…Step by step
        And one day at a time
        I’m gonna live my life
        With an open mind
        I’m gonna give myself
        The freedom to fall
        And the right to be wrong…”

      • Sorry… I’ve just misspelt your name, Michele.

      • Great lyrics Julie. I like the song too. I really like that the lyrics are forgiving. We are sometimes so hard on ourselves. So self critical. Freedom to fall. Nice. Thank you for the beautiful song and lyrics share. By the way, is Kashy Keegan a well known artist in Spain? I am not familiar with him, but he’s good.

      • Hello!

        You are welcome 🙂

        Kashy Keegan is a singer/songwriter from the UK I met through myspace some years ago. Love his music. He definitely writes from the heart, you can feel that in every song…

        Leave you this link so you and Michele can enjoy some of his amazing songs http://soundcloud.com/kashykeegan

        🙂

  2. Hello!

    Great post, Andrew!

    When I read: “washing clean the heart”, I immediately think of this famous phrase from “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint Exupéry: ‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’ Don’t you think it gives sense to ‘washing clean the heart’? If we do not want to miss the essential things in life… we must take time to see and feel all the beautiful things that surround us.

    What’s more… most of the essential things in life are FREE, isn’t that amazing?! Completely available to those who dare to see through the heart… day and night, night and day…

    I see happiness not as a continuous line in our lives but as “chunks of happiness” (happy moments here, happy thoughts there, happy something everywhere) we all collect while we are alive. Life is a roller coaster… sometimes we win, sometimes we lose… and I do believe that we can be happy even if we do not achieve our goals, even if our dreams don’t come true. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s all about attitude, a good attitude helps us cope with all the frustrations, obstacles, sorrows, all the things that will try to make us bitter… a good attitude helps us accept things quicker and helps us realize that once we got the basic needs (food, water, clothes, shelter) covered plus good health anything else is just an extra blessing…

    I mean… and I really say this from the bottom of my heart (although it hurts): If I don’t get the chance to ride horses again… I’ll be OK… I’ll accept it and I’ll be grateful to enjoy them from a distance… if that’s the way it has to be…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkGrkNu6mDg

    “…But the truth is
    Hard work doesn’t always pay
    And no matter how bad you want something
    It doesn’t always come your way
    You see – it’s hard to fail
    But it’s worse to never try
    So do it anyway and do it with pride…” “At least you try” by Kashy Keegan

    “Like a roller in the ocean, life is motion
    Move on
    Like a wind that’s always blowing, life is flowing
    Move on
    Like the sunrise in the morning, life is dawning
    Move on
    How I treasure every minute
    Being part of it, being in it
    With the urge to move on…” “Move on” – ABBA

    Don’t worry, be happy, right? 🙂

    WOW, those landscapes…!! Love Iceland… Hope I can go there some day… Did you know that Icelandic horses are unique not only because they have 5 gaits, tötl is the most characteristic, but because it’s the only breed of horses that is allowed to live in Iceland?

    Keeping the faith alive! 🙂

    • Hi Julie!

      Thank you! I wrote this post from the heart. It was very important material for me. Essential material. What is our life’s purpose? What makes us happy? Really happy. Huge questions. For a while, no one accepted the challenge to think and answer about these things. I was very depressed. Then you and Michele responded, how wonderful! Fabulous responses by both of you. Yes, yes, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly”. Agree big time. It’s the mind, with it’s eternal monkey quality of jumping from one thing to another, never getting relief, that’s a problem. 100% agree that the most essentially things are free. Yes. Nailed it. Thank you!

      Life does seem like a rollercoaster. But attitude is the key, YES!!!! Wow, I love this outlook. You hit that one out of the park! You even communicated truth using The Rolling Stones and Abba. Nice. Fabulous comments. I am blown away. And no, I didn’t know about the horses in Iceland. How beautiful. Great detail. How wonderful to connect with you (and Michele). You will probably never know how important and meaningful your comments were to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart 🙂

  3. Hello again!

    Don’t get depressed, my friend!! 🙂

    In Ethics class, back in my high school years, the teacher made us read the book: “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl so we could then discussed in class what our life’s purpose was… and we all came to the conclusion that it was, well it is the pursuit of HAPPINESS…

    I love this Michael Jackson’s quote because it is true that everything in life has its counterpart… and sometimes we just can’t avoid the feelings of hopelessness… “In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.”

    It’s up to us to choose a side… life isn’t easy but we can, we must try to do our best and leave footprints that will not change the whole world but will make a difference in our life and in the people and the environment that surround us… just like the experience in Japan you told on your recent post… Unknown people touched your heart… how powerful and beautiful is that?!

    What makes us happy? It’s up to each one of us to know what makes us happy… In my case… lots of things make me happy… from simple things like cotton candy to the fact that I’m alive… I love and I feel loved… my faith, to think of my family, my friends, horses, rainbows, fairies, birds, music, skipping along, autumn colours, starry nights, sky, smiles, green grass, kindness, to laugh without cause, the sun, the moon, chocolate, ice cream, a cup of tea, I could go on and on… I really mean that…there are plenty of sources that bring happiness to my life… and I’m keen to gather as many chunks of happiness as possible…

    “I am often accused of being childish. I prefer to interpret that as child-like. I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things. I tend to exaggerate and fantasize and embellish. I still listen to instinctual urges. I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind. I never water my garden without soaking myself.” – Leo F.

    Life itself is a miracle… so it’s up to us to make the most of this journey…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iyQAxfoQbU

    Oh boy… our mind tends to overthink and overanalize everything…I don’t like that… it can drive me crazy!!!!!!!!!! Pirate Julie says: Aaaaargh!!

    Greetings 🙂

    • WOW!!! What a fabulous comment. The comment is way too good to just leave stuck in comment land. May I make a post of it on the blog with full credit to your name??? Please say yes?? I love the passion in this share.

      Yes, yes, the meaning in life is certainly the pursuit of happiness. But as you point out, what really makes us happy? essential question. For me that question is tough to answer, but you went and did it in the most upbeat enthusiastic way. I love this entire comment you left.

      Your description of what you love – “cotton candy, feeling loved, faith, family, friends, birds, music, kindness …”. Beautiful! For me it’s the smell of ucalyptus, or fresh cut grass, ocean waves, the laughter of Michele, when two hearts connect, the swish sound of wind over my plane’s wings, the smell of Italian food, a wide smile.

      The music was great too. In the Ordinary Miracle video my favorite image was the rabbit and the dear touching noses. Let me know if I can use this comment as a post? Great job of writing! Thank you!

      • Hello again!

        Yes, you can use it, my friend 😀

        When two hearts connect… what a blessing!!

        How important it is to have people with whom we can share this journey called LIFE: ‘Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow’ Swedish proverb

        Oh I couldn’t find the clip from the movie where Julie Andrews sing it… but I just have to leave you this song… I simply LOVE IT!!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33o32C0ogVM

        “…When the dog bites
        When the bee stings
        When I’m feeling sad
        I simply remember my favorite things
        And then I don’t feel so bad…”

        Happy weekend 😀

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