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- Bill Gaum
Devotion is all about opening our hearts, and nothing opens our hearts quite as much as gratitude! Why is it important to open our hearts? Our heart area is the site of the most important of all our spiritual energy centers or "chakras". It is through our heart that our Mother-Father GOD (the Infinite Buddha Nature, the Divine Mother, the Great Spirit, or whatever is our favorite term for "GOD") bestows it's principle grace on us. It is through our heart center that the Holy Spirit flows so easily. Our heart chakra is literally the center of our being. If we live from our heart chakra, then all our other chakras will come into balance naturally and effortlessly. It's that simple!
Also, all the loving kindness that we share with others is actually our Mother-Father GOD's love pouring through us to those we care about. So it's really important to have our heart open so we can share a lot of loving kindness with those around us.
It's really quite easy. Our hearts close down when we're focusing on the hurries and worries of life. Or when we're selfishly living from the fear-based lower self (ego). So it's pretty easy to temporarily get our hearts closed down. But fortunately, it's also just as easy to open them back up again! And it's crucial that we consciously open our hearts at least once a day because GOD "spiritually feeds" us by pouring light and love into us through our hearts. And it is this nurturing Divine Life Force that soothes us, inspires us, brings us joy, carries us through the day and makes life worth living.
There are two principal ways to open our hearts: 1) Pouring a feeling of deep loving devotion to our Mother-Father GOD; and 2) Feeling deep gratitude to our Mother-Father GOD. In a sense, they are two aspects of the same thing. But usually we will find our hearts opening wider when we include and emphasize the feeling of gratitude. This is sometimes referred to as having an "attitude of gratitude". It is sometimes helpful to increase this feeling of devotion and gratitude by repeating a little phrase or mantra to ourselves that emphasizes this meaning. For instance, we can stop for a moment during the day and turn our attention within to our heart area and gently and lovingly repeat one of the following phrases:
"I love you GOD, I love you GOD, I love you GOD, . . . . "
"Thank you GOD, Thank you GOD, Thank you GOD, . . . . "
Or something similar. It doesn't really matter what words we use as long as we feel the feeling of loving gratitude to our Mother-Father GOD. It's also helpful to repeat a little phrase like this during part of our prayer time and meditation time.
In a sense, opening our heart is the single most important thing we can do to ensure our success on the spiritual path. There is almost nothing we can't attain with sincerity and an open heart. So, let's do it!
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