Cultivating the Heart

A couple of years ago, I became aware that I had an issue with trust.  I had recently become a HeartMath Practitioner and had begun utilizing their protocols personally and in my psychotherapy practice to intentionally cultivate positive emotions such as ease, care, and appreciation.

One day I was working with a client on her difficulties with trust and my attention was drawn to how my arm rested on the chair.  I just allowed it to rest there, and you know what, it felt like a somatic experience of trust.  To just let things be, trusting the support that is there.  

This may seem too simple but we trust little things all the time.  Rather than leaping into a big idea of trust, when to do it, when not, it is possible to cultivate a feeling or a quality in our bodies and hearts, creating a cascade of change throughout our entire being.  I decided to start working with trust in my HeartMath and Mindfulness practices.

HeartMath has been researching the science of the heart and the impact of emotions on overall health and well-being for over twenty years.  The heart has neural pathways and it remembers, just like the brain.  It can also develop new neural pathways, again, just like the brain.  The heart could be compared to the conductor of an orchestra.  Its rhythmic patterns are extremely important to how we experience ourselves in any given moment, influencing all our bodily systems, and having a profound impact on our ability to be resilient, flexible and creative, improving physical, emotional, and mental health.

As a Social Two, the fact that I had difficulty trusting was buried in my unconscious.  Knowing the Enneagram, I was often aware of the motivations of others and the general nature of their reactivity, giving me a sense of capacity to navigate the world.  I understood and had compassion.  I was trusting.

Yet I was also aware of my tendency to tinker, tend, and manage my sphere of influence, but had not made the connection that it was a lack of trust.  It never ceases to amaze me how many times I can rediscover an aspect of my type concerns as if it’s the first time. 

After grounding in my deep belly, I would practice with that original, somatic experience of trust. I allowed myself to feel my hands rest in my lap and then allowed my mind to settle in that same way, in my heart.  Every now and then, I would repeat the word trust silently.  A soft smile would often arise in response as I gently slid into an overall feeling of trust.

I practiced daily for six months and noticed the tendency to tinker and manage diminish.  I would sometimes watch the old desire to “help” arise and then watch it dissipate as I rested in a deeper quality of trust.  Another layer of my Two type strategies have eased.  I know there is more to come and await the next discovery of self/Self that comes in the continuing journey of my life, my type, and the mystery of it all.  I look forward to sharing more deeply at the Conference on the capacity to cultivate our hearts.