I’ve talked to a couple of my one-on-one students about heart openings lately, so I felt like sharing more thoughts here.

Firstly, what is a heart opening?

It’s feeling deeply, deeply in love!

It’s full of those powerful affectionate and relaxed and open and easeful sensations, neurotransmitters, hormones, and body chemicals that we deeply enjoy. We find it natural to be kind to and generally bond with anyone, thing, or place when we are experiencing it.

In this state, people say:

“We are all love!”

“Everyone is love!”

That’s beautiful.

You are projecting.

You are projecting love.

You are in love with yourself, my friend.

And now it is time to go deeper.

The Difference Between an Awakening and an Opening

It is really easy to want to replicate heart openings. They feel amazing.

Many people get trapped on the spiritual path trying to remake that initial experience. They are endlessly frustrated by a sense of loss and the inability to attain what they want.

This is not the spiritual path.

This is ego addiction.

Pure and simple.

Additionally, I make the distinction that an awakening has a kind of continued meltdown quality. By this I mean, that things keep opening and issues keep dissolving.

Openings come and go. They come, and then the situation changes. Then the person closes down again to their habitual emotional state.

After awakening, things don’t close down completely. The person is usually thrust into issues, not more overt loving and lovely experiences. To the awakened person, this is a nasty bait-and-switch.


But what is happening is that all the rules and resistance to this openness are now being seen. It has to be worked on for the person to normalize to this level of openness. Otherwise, they’ll eventually close down no matter how powerful the heart awakening.

Spiritual Awakenings, Openings, Revelations, Oh My!

Normalization and the Loss of Loving Feelings

Either person (awakened or opened temporarily) can do inner work to let go of attachments and stabilize in a new level of openness. What follows in successfully resolving attachments and issues is


When this happens, being open loses its intense loving (or peaceful or joyful or ecstatic) feelings. You are as you are.

Think of it like walking into a warm house from a cold day outside.

You really, really feel the warmth at first, right?

Then you get used to it.

Now imagine going back out into that cold.

Notice how much worse it feels now.

This is a very common experience of opening and normalizing, but then backsliding.

The Spiritual Backslide

I Don’t Care About Your Bliss

Localized Love and Non-localized Love

There are, however, deeper layers of love than those first experienced. They remain hidden until people do the work to let go of their egos.

These initial types of love in many heart openings are what I call “localized love” experiences.

They are typically highly dependent on the situation and people involved. When the events around them change, the experience ends.

They go home from the spiritual retreat. The car ride with the boyfriend ends. The substance influence stops. Whatever the situation is concludes. Additionally, the situation doesn’t have to be exciting or anything special to the outside world to be a localized love experience. You can have it eating a burrito on a couch.

Generally speaking, the person is letting go to have this openness experience. Once again, what is really happening is that

people are falling in love with themselves.

They are like light bulbs shining love at everyone and everything. That’s what makes everyone and everything so amazing to look at. In time, you learn to understand to see when your light is shining onto things and to no longer conclude that the object of your affection is shining, but it is you projecting instead.

Sometimes, is it another person shining in a heart opening to?


And God save you both from the cavalcade of misconceptions that is about to happen concerning what you should do with a relationship with each other.

Do Relationships Block Spirituality?

Falling in the love with the world comes later–this broader sense of love is non-localized love.

In non-localized space, the preferences for something to be a certain way to be loved or seen as love diminish as does the intensity of loving feelings. This non-localized love has less to do with how something is or isn’t. It is a deeper level of clarity with less ego in the way. It is more of a way of living.

A person in localized love can’t really love a car accident. And they generally don’t really see the true nature of interconnection, the Earth, the bacteria, the seas, disease, life, and death. A person in non-localized love sees and understands more of this, although they’re primarily still focused on things that they can interact with directly.

Non-localized love tends to pervade the person’s life as situations and people change.

Again, non-localized love is less situationally dependent, so the person doesn’t have to go looking for it. It’s more like an aura or field you live within. It doesn’t need the same kind of beliefs around people being good or life being a certain way. It is much more grounded.

However, if a person becomes attachment or desirous of this as an experience, the state diminishes and disappears.

Unconditional Love

At last, through dissolving ego and attachments, we arrive at unconditional love.

Unconditional love is pure acceptance of what Is.

It has no emotion to it.

Are you with me?

Unconditional love is acceptance. You don’t feel good about the War in Ukraine. You unconditionally accept it.

You don’t feel good about climate change. You unconditionally accept it.

You don’t feel happy about your diabetes diagnosis, your child’s cancer, your job doing corporate lay-offs, inflation, love-handles, Covid-19, and so forth. You unconditionally accept them. Now you can take action to engage with them from a clear mind and heart.

That is powerful.

Unconditional love is not an experience. It simply is.

When the Spiritual Path REALLY Hits You

Don’t Get Stuck in Your Heart

Once again, a lot of people get stuck trying to replicate heart opening experiences and repeat feelings. A big heart opening is easy to get stuck in. It’s easy to make poor major life decisions.

“Oh I feel so much love. This person must be my soulmate!”

It’s such a common problem, and so many people come to me hoping to find the 9 words to repeat it.

This is not a magic trick.

I’m not a magician.

I’ll leave the charlatanism to the charlatans.

Instead, we learn to let go of the experience and look deeper in ourselves at the ways we close and fear and grasp. We do this work, and we let the heart opening or awakening be a light that shows us that we have deeper ways of being with ourselves and powerful attachments that need illuminating. We learn that normalizing into open-heartedness just means that we can be with a larger array of emotional experiences not just the preferable loving ones.

And we mature in our hearts so that we stay open through even the most difficult of emotions.

For a whole lot more about the heart, here are some older posts:

Becoming Heart Strong

Building a Heart Strong Enough for Awakening

Awakening Your Heart


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.

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