Insight from Michael Brown’s Alchemy of the Heart
In life we are asked to grow up. The physical aspect comes naturally, as does the mental maturation to a large degree.
The emotional growing up we need to do comes only partly naturally, the rest requiring self-confrontation.
We are asked to face up to our emotional immaturity and move beyond childish reactivity into constructive response to the people and situations that provoke us.
Spiritual paths, whether a religion or otherwise, ought to be an aid to growing up. Too often they are just the opposite: they reduce us to a new childish dependence on someone other than ourselves.
Instead of learning to rely on ourselves, we can easily be lured into looking to a pastor, a leader, a guru. Or we may look to an external God as if that God were a parent and we a young child expecting our needs to be met by a kind of fairy godmother.
A great deal of spirituality instead of growing us up causes us to revert to childish dependence.
Alchemy of the Heart is about becoming responsible for ourselves, moving beyond dependent behavior so we no longer look to something outside ourselves to meet our needs.
We are asked to learn how to meet our own needs from the resources within. That's because our essential being is an aspect of the divine nature, since we are offspring of God.
To become responsible is to gradually reawaken our heart awareness, which has been shut down but needs to be recaptured as our guide in life. As Michael Brown explains on page 31 of Alchemy:
We have our heart awareness shut down between the ages of seven and fourteen. Because of this it would be impossible and quite intolerable for us, as we are now, to function efficiently in our lives if we instantly activated full-blown felt-perception within the adult world as we experience it.
Life asks us to move beyond childish dependence. Little by little, we are asked to integrate our unresolved emotions from our early years. This stuck energy then becomes the insight we need to live from felt-perception, which enables us to make responsible choices that benefit not only ourselves but everyone in our life.
As we shall see in the days ahead, life is a wise guide, opening us up to our heart awareness at just the right pace—if we but trust it.
*Editor's note: The Compassionate Eye appears several days a week. Eckhart Tolle's second books The Power of Now, Stillness Speaks, and A New Earth speak about being “present” in our life. Now Michael Brown, author of The Presence Process (in book form, downloadable audio, and as a downloadable ebook) shows us precisely how to become present in Alchemy of the Heart. To go more deeply into living in the present moment in an ongoing state of consciousness, especially as it relates to being true to ourselves in our relationships with others, also join us in the daily blog Consciousness Rising.