Post 7 of 36
Heart is the emotional desire to crave joy through love. As we grow in heart, we experience different realms of heart.
Children’s Realm of Heart
The love children receive from their parents influence the children’s realm of heart. Infants gradually increase how much love they can give depending on how much love surrounds them. Their parents and other significant people around children set the example of love for them to emulate. Children come into this world like a blank slate and what they experience in their families and society affect the people they become.
We have several grandchildren. It is amazing how each one develops their own character and each of our children’s families becomes a unique expression of love. One family may be more easy-going with time than the others while another follows a regular schedule. Some may put emphasis on eating and exercise habits while others stress emotions and security. What’s most important is how much unconditional love children receive.
Writing this book has been a journey. I needed to decide what the main purpose of the writing was (big picture) as well as the details of each chapter. In the same way, our life is a journey. Whenever we make big decisions, our choices are based on our ideals and goals. Then, in our day-to-day life, we have a variety of options that we need to prioritize.
For instance, my husband and I recently decided to share a house with our son, our daughter in law, and their three children. We tried to look ahead and plan for different situations that might come up. One of our priorities was to create a loving environment for our grandchildren. In the past, we never had trouble with patience or irritation with them. We could just go home if we got tired or needed to do something.
However, as you can imagine, now that we live together, our nerves are tested, and our emotions flare up occasionally. At those times, we must decide how we are going to act and what kinds of words will we use. It’s not easy. We have limitations despite our mighty aspirations. Are we going to think of our family’s well-being or about our fleeting self-absorbed feelings? Sounds like an easy decision, right? It isn’t now but the more aware we are of our spiritual values, the better choices we will make when the going gets tough.
The more wholesome family life children have growing up, the easier and more natural it is to create a nourishing environment for their own family. Heart multiplies. However, some situations require us to make extra effort to reach a resolution depending on our personal upbringing.
Sibling’s Realm of Heart
The realm of heart of love between siblings, cousins, and classmates grows among brothers and sisters, peers, and young relatives stimulated by the parent’s vertical love and the horizontal inductive effect of love.
One of the most endearing aspects we see in our grandchildren is the connection siblings have with each other. From the moment a tiny baby comes into the home, it seems like he or she can catch the heart of his or her siblings. Despite any jealousy, the siblings learn the characteristics of each other and are often amused in love with one another. It the most enjoyable thing to see siblings, cousins, friends, etc. enjoying, cooperating, and appreciating one another.
However, naturally, upheavals of emotion or stubbornness is bound to happen because youngsters must learn the effects their actions have toward their relationships. With time and experience our hope is they will expand their hearts.
Spouse’s Realm of Heart
As this giving and receiving of love matures, young people become engaged, marry, and participate in the realm of heart of love between husband and wife.
After 38 years of marriage, we’ve had so many experiences – the good, the bad, and the ugly! Even though we should have perfected our heart, we’re still in the process of growth of heart. My intention going into marriage and starting a family was to create the perfect combination of giving and receiving of love that Hollywood never saw the likes of. It would be heaven on earth.
The reality was much different! How easily I could get stubborn, annoyed, or impatient. I’ll have to say though, because of my strong ideals going into the marriage, I could do better than had I just stumbled into it. Most all areas of personal conflict can be solved through respect, humility, and a desire to give. The giving up of one’s point of view is probably one of the least practiced keys to peace. So many times, I found myself stuck in my own head!
As soon as I remembered there is a higher purpose, I could weave myself back to creating the loving relationship I desired. For instance, realizing that my husband and I were connected to the living God made me think beyond my own view. What did the God inside my deepest heart feel about this situation? How did this deep heart of God inside my bosom feel about my husband? Usually it was much more love and care than my irritated temporary feelings!
Parental Realm of Heart
Finally, husband and wife have children and experience the realm of heart of parental love. When our children were young, I had to come to terms with how my siblings were raising their children. They were all good parents but how they related to their children, what they valued, and how they taught them, was different than mine. For whatever reason, it often irked me. It was hard to see from their perspective but when I did, that feeling of conflict would disappear and I’d be at peace internally.
It’s easy to judge other parents but we usually don’t know all the dynamics of their familial relationships. In those situations, I didn’t ask enough questions and probe enough into their perspective before allowing myself to be annoyed. I didn’t like the feeling of conflict, not only with whoever was involved, but the struggle I had in my heart. After jumping to conclusions or causing a minor rift a few too many times time, I learned that if I slow down my judgements, and practice humility and forgiveness, it brought a type of inner peace more valuable than being right!
Now, I see my children going through a similar experience with their siblings. Each of our children and their spouses are making their own environments and doing the best they can based on their own experiences and relationships.
The hope for all our relationships in all the realms of heart is joy. It is through fulfilling relationships on all levels that we experience inner peace. A culture of peace consists of each person embodying inner peace along with the circular inter-connectedness between the four realms of heart.
What experiences stand out for you from your childhood?
How did your parents influence your heart?
What experiences did you have with siblings, cousins, or peers that raised your understanding of relationships?
What relationships had the most effect on your heart?
How can you strengthen a culture of peace?
Who has made the greatest impact on you to grow your heart?
What have you learned from frustrating situations that were or weren't resolved?