In his book Living Presence A Sufi Way to Mindfulness & the Essential Self, Kabir Edmund Helminski describes the practice of polishing our heart as the mirror to self awareness. ” In polishing the mirror of the heart, the most obvious level of rust contains our compulsions and negative feeling states-the demands of the ego. We must first recognize, respect and surrender these negative states. Through this process of letting go, with each breath we can become free of the compulsive mind, to experience a new freedom with a new depth and a new height.” I have found this metaphor to be extremely transformative for my own life when negativity may cloud my ability to be fully present. What would it be like if we were able to to surrender our negative and judgmental thoughts long enough to truly hear others? For me, it has meant holding space in a sacred way which fosters true relationships and connections. Heart polishing also enables me to reflect back the emotions and stories of others without bringing my own baggage into the conversation. This practice is at the core of what Helminski terms the Essential Self, helping us balance our own needs with the needs and expectations of others.
Today. as we move on in our journey to freedom and redemption, from the giving of Torah and Revelation at Mt. Sinai, may our heart polishing practice help us to remove the rust which keeps us connected to ego-centric anger and hurts. May we reflect back the love we receive or deflect the anger targeted at us. May each breath enable us to let go of our compulsions for resentment and blame so that our hearts may be fully open to forgiveness and grace. These are big goals and each day brings us a little closer to understanding our Essential Self