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Woman in a Red Coat among Trees

The heart is contained in four ways: first by the physical body, next by the emotional armor we all carry, next by the physical heart itself, and finally, at the very center of everything, is the inner heart, the heart within the heart: Ananda Khanda. This is what desires to be cracked open to the world.

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Heart opening is a symptom of personal growth. We might call this emotional opening, or psychological breakthrough. But if we use the lens of spirituality, of soul growth, and we accept the idea that the heart is where the soul resides, what then?

What do we mean then, when we talk about heart’s opening?

Obviously, we’re not talking about a physical opening in the heart; it’s energetic, just as all things are energetic.

Heart’s opening isn’t a one-time thing, either. Instead, it’s a progressive opening, a series of passages from one state of consciousness to another. And it doesn’t happen all at once—that would be too much, too fast, a shock to the system.

Instead, our heart opens slowly, when we are ready. We move through each passage as part of our soul growth, in Divine time.

Some folks bust their hearts open at a young age, determined from the get-go to live life at full throttle—to accept what life brings without hesitation, and to live their days in love and light regardless of situation.

This is a great way to live!

Others of us take longer, opening our hearts slowly as we they move through our lessons of soul growth, as our experiences on earth teach us the lessons of wisdom.

Still others stay stuck for years, even decades, entombed in anger, sadness and shame.

You will find yourself in one of these places, now.

Right now, you’ve either got a heart that’s fully open, partly open, or mostly shut.

If your heart is fully open, congratulations. It is lovely to be here.

If your heart is partly open, you can learn to open it further.

If your heart is mostly shut, you may feel quite vulnerable as you explore the idea of opening, and consider what might happen if you dared to open your heart to the light.

The four passages

The heart does not open at random. Instead, it opens in four sequential and progressive stages, each expansion building on the next.

These four passages are:

  • Heart of pain
  • Heart of compassion
  • Heart of connection
  • Heart of love

Depending on where you find yourself on your own personal journey of soul growth, you’ll be in the midst of or embarking upon one of these passages right now.

Let’s take a look at what each passage means, and how it might show up in your life:

If you are in heart of pain, the first passage, you are becoming aware; you’re becoming a conscious person. This is a good thing! But at this first stage, you’re examining your own unhappiness. For the first time, you are considering the idea of facing pain directly, rather than avoiding it, numbing out or blaming others for your troubles.

For most people, heart of pain is the most difficult passage. Entering this passage signifies the clear desire to change your life from the inside out, and to become awake after years or decades of living life asleep.

If you are in heart of compassion, the second passage, you have moved completely through pain, and are ready to hold compassion for others and for yourself.

It doesn’t mean you never feel pain again. It means you have a new way to think about pain, as something that is universal to the human condition. This passage allows you to understand that we are all, at our core, the same—Divine beings in human bodies, facing human challenges. At this stage, you are becoming more conscious.

If you are in heart of connection, the third passage, you have become conscious. You have expanded your awareness to a level in which you recognize yourself as one of One. You see yourself first as a spiritual being. Earthly concerns fade, as you connect yourself to the Oneness that surrounds us and is us. Spiritual and/or intuitive awakening are the hallmarks of this passage.

If you are in heart of love, the fourth passage, you will be in a state of nirvana, bliss, true healing, fulfillment, peace and happiness—if not all of the time, then most of the time.

This is the state of Ananda Khanda, loosely translated as the high heart, the spiritual heart, the heart within the heart. It is the opening of the deepest heart within all your hearts, the innermost hearts under all of your layerings, armors, resistances and distractions, into the state of pure love.

It is a state of transcendence, and of transmutation into grace.

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The heart opens over and over again, until the heart within the heart, the Ananda Khanda, finally is able to become illuminated and infused with light. These openings happen in the most ordinary moments of every lifetime. When the inner heart opens fully, this is known as bliss, transcendence, nirvana. There is no going back from this opening; the inner heart, once opened, always remains open. If this happens to you, your life will be forever changed.

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In this fourth passage, in this state of pure love, you are fully conscious; the most conscious a human can be. There is nothing withheld; you are conscious of everything, in all moments.

Many of us can access these higher states some of the time; we can go to this state of love momentarily, or even for longer. Yet in true heart of love, you live there all the time, in every moment of your existence. At this point in time, very few people on earth have the ability to remain in this passage all the time—only the saints, the holy ones, the ascended masters. Thus, most of us might expect to learn how to go into heart of love; but the journey to stay there, to reside in that place, will be a journey of all lifetimes.

Have patience with yourself, on your journey of soul growth.

Please know that your understanding will unfold in correct timing; there is no hurry or concern for the pace of your awakening. Simply begin, and trust in the journey and know that every person on the planet, also walks the same path.

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Sara Wiseman is a Nautilus award-winning author and visionary teacher of spiritual intuition. She has reached tens of thousands of students worldwide via her books, courses, podcasts, blog and music. Sara is the founder of Intuition University, hosts the popular podcasts Ask Sara and Spiritual Psychic with over 1.6 million listeners, writes the Daily Divine blog and is top contributor to DailyOM. She has produced four award-winning music albums with her band Martyrs of Sound. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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