Extending the Kingdom of Your Heart
To feel God, you must extend the territory of heart-felt feeling itself. You feel, at present, only with your own heart. Try every day to feel more and more also with the heart of others. Feel their woes, their struggles, their joys, their fulfillments.
To feel the heart of others means that you must remain not only absorbed in feeling for yourself, but to work also for others as for yourself, to love and protect them with the same interest and enthusiasm as you feel for yourself.
Begin with sensitivity to the needs of one person. Day by day, widen that circle of sensitivity to include more individuals. Let your feelings for them be active, not merely passive and sentimental. Try to love others actively by helping them every day, especially those who love you.
Keep on acting in this spirit until you find yourself able to do so with respect to those who care nothing for you. At last, let the feeling of love, good will, and spontaneous helpfulness go forth to enfold those who don’t know you, and even those who hate you.
This is a real, practical way by which the soul can expand its victories from heart to heart, ever enlarging its boundaries until at last it recovers its rightful kingdom of Divine Consciousness in the hearts of all creatures.
Feel the One Heart of God
Your unceasing love and unselfish readiness to help others without distinction of sex, caste, or creed will make your heart’s feelings broad enough to accommodate all humanity.
Once the love of all human beings and, indeed, all things living is included in your heart feelings, your heart will merge with and become one with the Heart of God. Feeling all hearts as one, you will feel the Cosmic Heart beating behind all hearts.
Going beyond the limitations of individual, selfish love, and feeling rather the same love for all, you will feel the one great love which burns everlastingly and forever as a pure white flame on the universal altar of all hearts.
Speak to your own soul silently: “I shall drink Thy Love alone from all cups, O God! From the gold, silver, and crystal cups of the world, and from the shining, invisible cups of human hearts, I will drink Thy Love alone!”
Recognizing the God-love burning secretly in all heart lamps, you will become aware of God’s love alone, flowing through everybody and everything.
Every time you meet a receptive human being, show him your interest in his physical, mental, and spiritual welfare. Never neglect to do whatever you can for yourself in the forms of others.
To know the Spirit, you must become the Spirit, finding yourself manifested through the bodies and minds of all. Make it vast, so vast that you behold all the bubbles of living beings floating there. Break the boundaries of small selfishness, and include in boundless ego-selfishness all living beings.
Excerpted from How to Love and Be Loved by Paramhansa Yogananda