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Having the heart of a Lion

Having the heart of a Lion

We often associate our heart with being receptive.  In astrology, it is the Moon and Venus, both rather feminine , receiving energies – very yin, if you prefer chinese concepts. We take things into our heart, we feel vulnerable in the heart, fearing invasion.

The modern world is, on the other hand, very yang – perhaps it always has been. It is Mars, it is fire and air, of getting out there and making your presence felt. Women have become emancipated but this often seems to require them to be almost more Yang, more Mars than men, in order to compete in that world.

This can be intoxicating, exciting and empowering. Your morning ‘coffee high’ may be just what you need to accelerate yourself into a stressful, challenging day where you give your all to whatever enterprise you are involved in. In compensation, though, all this competition can feel very unbalancing in our lives. We ache to let go, to allow, to receive, but at the same time, we are can get somewhat suspicious of our heart, we worry it may get broken, or we will be susceptible to wounds received if we allow ourselves to weaken and receive through our hearts.

How about thinking of it like this: Think Richard the Lionheart, ‘Couer de Lion’, the heart of a lion, bold proud and confident (we will ignore the atrocities of the 11th century Crusaders here – we’re only interested in the symbolism!). Here the heart is pushed outwards, boldly and undefended. We have no need to cover ourselves in shields or armour (emotional and literal!) because we have no fear.

Physically, we inhale, we expand the rib cage sideways, our shoulders drop, we open, we inhale the pranic energy we need. In breathing in that energy we replenish our energetic resources, we become so strong that we can be unstoppable, we can feel bigger than before, more vibrant. And when you feel that rush of inner confidence, you may not need so many of those coffees to keep you going!  In yoga it is called pranayama, the art of increasing your inner energy resources.

So the irony is that we have to inhale into our most vulnerable areas to become strong. But then, this just one more of those paradoxes that enable us to find balance.


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