Seeing the World Through the Eyes of the Heart

What happens when you stop looking with the ego.

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

It took a long time to accept that I see the world differently. I never quite understood that when I was young.

I always thought I was just missing something or felt confused when I wondered why people behaved the way they did.

The little kids on the playground who wouldn’t play with me, the teachers who didn’t understand me, the parents who couldn’t give me what I needed — they all left their marks, unseen and unhealed, on my tender heart.

As most people do, I looked at myself and wondered what was wrong with me, before pausing to ask why others saw the world the way they did.

For years I didn’t understand that my way of seeing the world, with compassion and openheartedness, wasn’t a flaw. I learned instead to see it as a weakness that could be exploited, so I guarded my heart quite jealously, so much so that I stopped really feeling it.

Competition, success, and being better than others became my measure of worth. I worked hard at it too. I got a Ph.D. and then a J.D.

My heart, weighed down by battles for authority, earned one letter at a time, still yearned to dance and play, to see the world with awe and wonder, not through the lens of right and wrong, or tinged with disappointment.

It took years of inner work to dig my heart out under the layers of protection I’d built up so that I’d feel like I fit in (even though I never quite did).

That process of unearthing my heart was one of painstaking and slow stripping away layers of ego. That process continues, of course. That’s what it means to be human.

What I have learned along the way is that as the ego dissolves, your sense of self doesn’t disappear — it expands.

This isn’t the kind of expansion of the self that wants to dominate, create empires, accumulate wealth and power, and control others. That’s the ego that says, That’s mine. It belongs to me. That’s the story of the self we’ve experienced for millennia.

As the ego dissolves, the self expands to encompass the heart — and starts to see the world through that heart, instead of the eyes clouded by the mind’s whispers of deceit and threats.

When you start to see the world through the eyes of the heart, your sense of what matters and what you are responsible for expands. This is the compassionate ego that looks at the world and says, That’s part of me too, and it’s my responsibility.

The walls we all draw around ourselves, the boundaries that we use to keep certain parts of the world at bay, saying this is me, and this is not, crumble and fall away.

You welcome more of the world to come in, sit down, and call your heart its home.

I know what to do when I don’t see the world through the eyes of my heart. I need to pause. If I look closely enough, I’ll find a small scar asking for attention so that my heart might stretch where it is still tight and tender.

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𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘷𝘶𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 & 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴.

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