A few weeks ago, during a period of daily torrential rain in Atlanta, I needed new windshield wipers and installed them on my car. Driving in the rain the next day, they just didn’t seem to be working right. The water appeared to be smeared across my windshield, rather than cleared away. I wondered if the windshield had warped, or if the wiper blades were bent. Something was clearly wrong, but I could see well enough and made it home safely.
The next morning I inspected the new blades. On each was a piece of clear plastic imprinted with the words “PROTECTIVE COVER. REMOVE BEFORE USE.”
I pulled away the coverings, and the wipers worked perfectly.
As I laughed at myself I realized that our hearts are like that. Just as those plastic strips protected the wiper blades but prevented them from working properly, many of us feel we have very good reasons for keeping a protective covering on our hearts — but unless we’re willing to work on softening that, we can’t see the world with clarity, and we can’t connect authentically with others.
And that’s what compassion practice is for: to show us how to transform our relationships with ourselves and others, so that we can see clearly and feel connection, and know the joy and freedom and security of an unguarded heart.
© 2015 Teresa I. Sivilli