I just finished reading “The Alchemist” (Paulo Coelho,) a quick read, engaging, though of course the story about the shepherd-turned-seeker is not the point of the book. I suppose it is, like so many other spiritually-themed books, meant to open the mind and spirit to greater understanding of universal truths… Not to sound snide or bored, I really do appreciate such writing… but I wanted something totally new; perhaps I feel the message is so familiar because I’ve read so much of it. It is a great story, and a beautifully-written book.
The new idea that stuck with me from this book, though, is that of the heart not as a part or extension of one’s own mind and emotion, but as a separate entity, a unique and actual extension of that universal spirit. The most pure essence of it, in fact, dwelling (coexisting) in this body with one’s own spirit/soul.
And as such, as a pure childlike-yet-wise, innocent being, I imagine it is one’s duty not to “harden one’s heart,” nor to allow callus to grow and “toughen” it, but to protect and cherish it. To indulge, even, as one would a favored child. To feed and nourish, to dote upon, and to enjoy a relationship with one’s heart.
And if the heart is capricious, whimsical, impulsive, if it takes risks in the name of following a dream, it is with joy; and what wonderful lessons and experiences we can be led to. But one (well, we know I’m speaking for myself) but I cannot allow others to misuse my heart, any more than I would stand by and allow someone to abuse or hurt a dear friend, a small child, or a helpless animal.
So. My heart, the small brown bird – and myself it’s wingless companion and protector. The heart will fly free, and sometimes come home frightened or confused, even missing a few feathers; but it is not some inanimate thing that has been “broken.” Hurt can be healed, troubles can be soothed.
I need to learn to listen, to care for, and to adore this little bird. And then it will feel safe to fly out and bring back the most amazing adventures and tales from the wide world.