Follow-on Expressions

There are myriad combinations and sequences of expressing the virtues. Additionally, how they are expressed—whether internally, externally, to self, to others, present, past, or future—can only be determined by each practitioner. There may very well be other “hows” of the practice, that are not yet obvious, but which will only emerge with more experience. At this stage, we are focused on learning the basics. Before leaving this topic, there are still a few other factors to briefly discuss.

“When you express one or more of the heart virtues into an encounter you can then observe its influence on the event or participants therein. The observation can then guide your follow-on expression, its intensity, to whom it is directed, and its duration. This cycle of expression and observation enables a more fine-grained expression, and it is this adjustment that leads you forward on the path to emotional self-mastery.”
This quotation mentions a cycle of expression and observation. It then describes:

A follow-on expression
Its intensity
To whom it is directed
Its duration

For example: You inform your husband that you are going to see a movie with your girlfriend this evening and that he will have to prepare his own dinner. What is your observation? Is he eager to see you go? Does he have a shocked look on his face? Is he showing signs of panic?

Okay, I’ll back up a little. Your husband comes home from work and you tell him that your girlfriend called and she wants to see a movie that is playing for the last night. You want to go with her, so he will have to prepare his dinner. This all happened unexpectedly, so you ask him to forgive the inconvenience and to please understand how much you really want to see this film. You observe his reactions to your expressed virtues.

He expresses compassion by telling you that you deserve a break because you are always sacrificing your own needs for the family. He tells you that it’s no problem, he’ll figure out something to eat.

You observe that despite his last statement, he is somewhat unsettled. To soothe his anxiety, you express compassion and understanding with great intensity and duration (about a minute), and then, to his pleasant surprise, you open the refrigerator to show him the casserole you prepared earlier, which he only has to heat in the oven. You also point out all the ingredients he needs to make his salad. He expresses his appreciation and gives you a big hug of thanks.

This somewhat playful example is meant to show how natural when-which-how can be in actual practice. We express the virtues and we observe the results. According to the situation, we adjust the “follow-on expression, its intensity, to whom it is directed, and the duration.”

The challenge is to stay present and maintain attention while engaged in the encounter. The intelligence of the heart and the six virtues will help to guide the flow of every encounter if our intention is aligned with love. If we open ourselves to the heart, the virtues will emerge and serve us, so we can serve each other.

Let’s explore one more example before continuing to our next topic. We will bring back our practitioner and his family for this example.

Recall that he and his wife decided to help their children resolve their arguments. The next day, he and his wife gathered the two children for a family meeting, something they had not done for quite a while. First, the parents expressed their appreciation to the children by telling them how much they were loved. The parents expressed humility by admitting that they probably should have called a meeting sooner and not allowed the children’s occasional arguments to reach a point of being continuous. He followed up with valor, by explaining that he was actually more at fault because he was usually the parent who helped settle the children’s bickering.

Our practitioner observed that the kids (14 year-old boy and 15 year-old girl) seemed surprised that he admitted negligence in this regard. Sensing this, our practitioner reinforced it by a follow-on expression of humility by relating that parents were not perfect and could make mistakes just like children, except that adult mistakes could have larger consequences. He extended the duration and intensity of this approach by expressing understanding.

He did this by relaying a story about his father and mother. They were strict disciplinarians and no matter what “trouble” arose in his youth, from his parents’ viewpoint, he was always at fault and they were always right. As he grew older, our practitioner realized that yes, indeed many times he was at fault, but sometimes he wasn’t, yet his parents never had the courage or humility to admit their mistakes. He did not blame them for this because he realized that his parents were brought up in a culture that maintained a strict parent-child belief system. It was part of their enculturation.

Continuing his story, he described how one day, when he was in his early twenties, his parents called him to their home for a talk. They wanted to tell him that as they looked back on their lives, they realized that they should have been a little more understanding in his upbringing. Sometimes, they realized, after the fact, that they were in error, but they had had too much pride to admit that they had been wrong; that on various occasions they had punished him despite feeling that it wasn’t the best method of teaching him right and wrong. They admitted to having made mistakes, but they had been only trying to do their best for him. From that day forward, he told his two children, his relationship with his parents was much more positive, open, and honest because of their valor and humility in admitting that they were only human.

As his story ended, there seemed to be a wonderful feeling of understanding, appreciation, and compassion in the room. He sensed that these virtues were bouncing back and forth between everyone present. The reason for their meeting got lost in this field of loving energy. Everyone was affected by the release of these virtues.

Our practitioner now observed that his children really understood that he and his wife appreciated and understood them as children who deserved a fair hearing when problems arose. Nevertheless, they also understood that he and his wife were still the parents who were there to guide them and define the boundaries of their activities and behaviors. Fully present, observing and sensing all this, he visualized the six virtues grid encompassing his entire family as he asked his children what all their arguing was about.

Several days later, our practitioner’s daughter came to him and asked about his practice of when-which-how. She had heard him explaining it to his wife and she wanted to know what it was all about. Our practitioner did his best to explain it to his daughter and then recommended that she get on the family computer and go to the Event Temples website to explore it for herself. Before doing this, she asked him what “mom” thought about these weird, but intriguing ideas. He replied that her mother was a little unsure about the practice itself, but had always believed that love was the best medicine for healing anything. So, she had also gone to the website and was now reading “Living from the Heart.” His daughter seemed satisfied with these remarks and said that she would check it out.

I haven’t inserted the virtues that were being applied in this final example in order to give you the chance to identify them for yourself. It should be mentioned here that the when-which-how procedure is not as complicated as it appears in these examples. It appears complicated because we are dissecting human conversations in order to indicate when, which, and how to apply the various heart virtues. As you persist in practicing, however, you will find that the heart energetics intelligently and seamlessly flow through your interactions and conversations. This is part of the intelligence of the heart-mind system as it interacts with the intelligence of the six virtues. The heart-mind system is designed to work as a team and this system will respond naturally to the presence and application of the six virtues, if you make the choice to apply them.

The sad fact is that so many of us fail to reach out to one another in an honest and loving manner. The power of living from the heart is effective, I believe, because loving kindness is an inborn trait of the genuine human being. The key word here, is “genuine.” The genuine “you” is the higher self existing behind the mask of the ego-personality. That higher aspect of our own being is dwelling in the energetic heart. It will open to us if we open to it. That, I believe, is part of our design.

It’s as if you had an expensive car with a high performance engine, but due to your lack of knowledge, you fed that engine low-octane, less refined fuel. Then, one day someone with a knowledge of engines informs you that you possess a high quality engine and that it will perform remarkably better if you feed it the proper fuel. Doing so will allow the engine to perform according to the specifications of the engineers who designed it. You cannot believe it, but you decide to follow this person’s advice and to try the higher quality fuel. You are amazed at the results and marvel at the enormous difference in efficiency and the overall improved quality of your driving experience.

This simple analogy shows how, with the correct knowledge, a willingness to change, and the application of the correct energetics, we can be efficient and experience an improved quality of life. Our goal then, is to pass on the knowledge that we have received in order that others may benefit, thus contributing to the overall quality of life for everyone on our planet.