I just heard an account of an event that portrayed so perfectly the power of having a change of heart.
A friend was on her way to visit a relative who was, as a rule, very negative and critical. Their encounters were often unpleasant and she was expecting more of the same, going over in her mind previous conversations, imagining what lay ahead. As she was approaching the home she had an insight. “What if I didn’t react but instead saw her with compassion and love? What if I had a change of heart and didn’t do the same old dance?”
What followed was a minor miracle. My friend entered the meeting with her relative with softer eyes and a softer heart. Her voice had a different pitch to it. Her demeanour was one of calm and caring. And, to her complete surprise, the entire dynamic changed. The atmosphere was lighter and, while there may have been the occasional negative remark or critical comment, she remained neutral to it. In that way negativity couldn’t build momentum and just passed. My friend didn’t take the bait or join the dance.
This, however, is a “best case scenario” outcome. There’s no guarantee that when we have a change of heart anyone else will follow suit. What is guaranteed is that we will have a better feeling and our experience will be completely different.
So what is a change of heart exactly? Well in terms of the three principles it’s a change of thinking. It’s letting go of old reactions, or interpretations, or habits that have kept us stuck in some way. It’s seeing the possibility of a new perspective and allowing it to take the place of an old perspective that wasn’t working for us.
A change of heart need not necessarily involve another person or specific event but could be as simple as an insight about our own inner life and the decision to change it. Perhaps we’re bothered a lot or perhaps we are worriers. Maybe we’re shy and fearful of what others think. There are so many opportunities for us to take our thinking seriously and personally. However there’s always an equal opportunity for us to change our minds, to see life impersonally, and to tap into that deep reservoir of wisdom and grace that is our innate gift.
There’s no magic to having a change of heart (though it may, indeed, feel like magic). It’s merely the natural outcome when we recognize that we are the creators of our own experience and that we can choose a different experience. Change of thought, change of heart, change of experience. Simple.