08 Jan, 2017

Matters of the Heart: Keeping your heart open

08 Jan, 2017

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For exactly 5 days now I have been on the road traveling again in beautiful Morocco. And somehow it seems as though it has been longer than that because of the amount of incredible experiences and impressions I have already been able to collect in this amazing and fascinating country. Impressions I can hardly even put into words. In the past few days though there has been one thing that I have realized. Something that, especially when traveling, really sticks out and that I have been thinking about a lot since. It is the way our heart opens and closes depending on events that occur. A very interesting topic and for sure one that anyone can identify with in their own way.

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Matters of the heart: The Henna-Lady

To show you what I mean I want to tell you a story about something that occurred to me on my second day in Morocco. My boyfriend and I were wandering the picturesque streets of Marrakesh until we arrived at the large market square. From afar a small, sweet-looking lady called over to us to get our attention. I signaled with a wave of my hand that we weren’t interested, because I knew that she just wanted to sell us something. She would not have been the first that day. We still had a quick chat with her and she seemed very friendly. She showed me her catalogue of Henna tattoos and again I stated that I wasn’t interested. Still, this didn’t keep her from suddenly just grabbing my hand and beginning to draw on it with Henna. I thought that she would for sure just quickly draw something small and we could then say thank you and then continue walking. This of course was not the case.

She decorated my entire hand and every time I asked her to stop and tried pulling my hand away, she’d grab on tighter. At the end she of course demanded to be paid. After some discussion we decided to just give her 50 Dirhams (which comes out to about 5 €) and that with that we’d be done with the whole thing. To our surprise she began to complain loudly and voiced that 50 DH weren’t enough, as a Henna tattoo normally cost 300 DH (so 30 €)! She was trying to press her luck, but after a few more No’s from us, she finally took off.

You might be able to imagine how I felt after this incident. I was so upset, not because of the money we’d wasted but about myself and how I’d let someone jerk me around like that, but especially about the ungratefulness and audacity the lady had. For many hours after and whenever I looked at my hand, my thoughts kept circling back to this incident and I got angry every time I did. I noticed how my heart, that I had opened widely for this country and its people, was now closed again because of one stupid lady, which made me sad because this made it all the more difficult to appreciate the rest of the day with all its amazing impressions.




Matters of the heart: Our Consciousness

I thought about this incident for the next few days and wondered why it was so hard for me to open my heart again. And then, a few days later, I read something that made the whole thing very clear to me. Because normally our consciousness works as follows: We see something, for example a tree, a house or anything else. Our brain receives a signal which then afterward gets processed with the help of existing, subjective experience patterns. After that the impression passes through and disappears from our consciousness. This way we can constantly process new impressions coming into our systems.

What happens though in many cases is that we see or experience something that triggers an emotion in us. We prevent the signal that comes in from the outside from passing through and exiting our consciousness because we subjectively connect something with this impression and we suddenly feel an emotion triggered by that impression. You probably know this feeling: You smell a certain scent and you automatically think of a certain person. This might be an ex- boy- or girlfriend. now you suddenly have this strange feeling in the pit of your stomach and your mind circles back again and again to that person. And in some cases you might not even know why and where that feeling came from.

Because the instance that our subjective feeling refers to is an „archive of feelings“, that in the yoga philosophy is called „Samskara“, which is formed over the course of our entire lives. So in just that moment we are so occupied with that feeling that has been set off, that we are no longer aware of other things around us and cannot live consciously in the Here and Now. Our heart is suddenly blocked from being able to take in new experiences and impressions.

„Samskara is an unconscious spiritual impression from our current our past lives, that continues to have an effect in the present. „Sam“ means together or combined; „Kara“ means action, cause or doing- so Samskara is the entirety of causes, underlying our behavior.“

–  http://wiki.yoga-vidya.de **



Because only with an open heart are we able to encounter each new moment time after time and absorb all the amazing, new experiences and impressions.


In conclusion and referring back to my incident here in Morocco, some emotions might have gotten triggered from a very similar experience I had on my very first trip to Spain by myself where I felt very small and as though I might not be strong or smart enough to be traveling on my own. So after my incident a few days ago I shut my heart and the impressions I could have had could not pass through for the next few hours, because my mind kept circling back to the incident.


Matters of the heart: Letting go

In my mind, it is so important to learn to become sensitive to these types of things and to recognize when and why our heart closes (especially towards people that are close to our hearts!) and to be able to just as quickly let go of those feelings so we can always go back to living in the moment. Because only with an open heart are we able to encounter each new moment time after time and absorb all the amazing, new experiences and impressions. I for my part was able to open my heart again the day after the incident and was able to open myself up again to this amazing country and its wonderful people and I will keep doing so (and I have hopefully learned from the experience on a mental aspect) 😉


For more infos on this topic I can really recommend the book „The Untethered Soul***“ by Michael Singer.


Do you know this feeling when your heart closes towards certain people or even the entire world? In which cases has this happened to you?


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*** This is an affiliate link. This simply means that when you click on one of these links, you can view the product on Amazon. If you then buy something within 24 hours – no matter what kind of product it is – I will receive a small commission. The great thing? You don’t pay a cent more for what you buy! You can trust that I only recommend products that I am 100% convinced of!


  • Shaly January 08, 2017

    Yes, this has happened to me a few years ago in Rome. I found the rudeness of a lady at the airport very disturbing. I began to harbour the impression that all Italians must be rude but I realised this was not true. I allowed other positive experiences override my first negative experience of this city.

    Like you said, the trick is to open your mind to better experiences. There is beauty in every culture. Sometimes it’s easily found. Sometimes we have to go looking for it.

    Enjoyed reading your article Denise. You write well


    • Denise January 08, 2017

      I absolutely agree, Shaly! At first it really shakes our belief in that culture or place, but we definitely learn that it’s not the culture or the city at all, these are just incidents that occur along the way 🙂 Thanks so much for the kind words and the comment 🙂 Lots of love from Morocco!


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