What is it like for you and another person to unexpectedly drop all pretense or façade and to spontaneously open your hearts to each other? It’s the best! Why doesn’t this happen more often? My theory is that our ego – which sometimes believes its job is to defend us against feeling things fully – puts up a barrier to these kinds of moments. After all, if we open our hearts we might get hurt. Meditation ultimately makes it OK for you to feel your feelings, including your tender heart which may have been wounded. It’s that sore, bruised, traumatized place around which we’ve built a tough exterior which we call our “self”. Gradually, over time, your meditation practice makes it OK to come up close and be with, feel, and heal (and love!) this wounded place. When this happens, all the fear that such a thing was too scary to even imagine falls away. You become fearless! Then you don’t have to put so much energy into maintaining a defense against the world. This is when you start to really understand that deep down EVERYONE is wounded inside. This is the doorway to empathy and connection with others. This is when you may start to experiment with opening fully to other people and dropping your defenses because you don’t need them anymore. Then another feeling takes their place – joy! And it’s mutual.