When you picture your own heart or that of someone else, what do you envision? Do you see the typical valentine heart with two symmetrical bumps in a shade of red or pink? Maybe you picture a more biological heart like a bulbous fist? Maybe you see one of those hard resin models used in anatomy classes.

I came across an amazing video the other day opened my heart imaginations to new realms. It was posted on the website of Gil Hedley, who is a Rolfer and creator of Integral Anatmony. If you can stand the science of dissection, there are actually several interesting videos available. While my initial reaction is always a gag reflex, fascination soon takes over. The video that changed my life was called “Beautiful Fluid Human Heart”. In it, Hedley palpates a human heart to show that it is not a rigid structure, but more akin to a soft little bean bag. We all know the heart is a very strong muscle, and when it is living and engorged with blood, pumping away, then yes, it is a firm, tensile organ, but with no life left in it, it is a truly tender thing.

I actually cried as I watched the video because it totally shot my perception of the heart to pieces and in so many ways. You see, my mother suffered congestive heart failure, and I’ve often wondered if I would endure the same fate. I always had this idea in my head of a guarded heart, one struggling to push on. Throughout my life, my head has been filled with notions of “a hardened heart”, “broken” hearts and closed-off hearts afraid to love. I even adopted spiritual practices to “open my heart” and clear the heart chakra because I was told, and believed, that there was something wrong with mine. I practiced the work, but in my mind, there was always this association of having to change the state of my heart and overcome its failings. I think what hit me most when I watched the video was that it is a physical reality that our hearts are soft little sacs. It’s the physical truth…before any work, spiritual or otherwise, be done.

With this newfound appreciation of my heart’s tenderness, I have a different relationship with not only my own heart, but that of others. This idea of a hard heart…it simply isn’t the truth. Underneath it all, we are all soft-hearted by our very nature. Compassion and Universal Love are our birthright. We simply need to remove all the mistaken impressions that keep us from this realization.

And if the heart only becomes tensile with life in it, then that tension is part of life. It too is natural. Constriction and softening are two sides of that same force required to give life. One is not better than the other. They work together. When there is only one and not the other, the physical heart cannot live on.

In June of 2018, I discovered the contemplative work of The Gene Keys by Richard Rudd. If you are familar with that work, then you likely already see the connection this insight has the potential to give. This video has blessed me with a profound understanding of not only Gene Key 25 (Constriction/Acceptance/Universal Love) as described above, but it has also helped me deepen my relationship to the 29th (Half-heartedness/Commitment/Devotion). I realized that half-heartedness was living in fear of the natural contraction/expansion dance of life. To live with a full heart is to accept both and let the veil of duality drop. The commitment is to all of life…a full life…and both states of a living heart.