Monday, April 19, 2010


Letting the heart feel good…helping the heart to feel good…doing what makes the heart feel good… Until awareness practice, conditioned mind would have told me that whole notion is selfish. There’s so much suffering in the world; how can your primary focus be on what makes your heart feel good?

Yesterday was my birthday. I’m here in paradise not because it’s my birthday—which would be reason enough to be here!—but because it’s a relatively quiet, pleasant place to put some finishing touches on the new What You Practice Is What You Have book, before doing a workshop nearby. I awoke early to the sound of roosters crowing. A hen and her five tiny chicks were on the porch when I opened the screen door. Every day growing up I awoke to the sounds of roosters crowing. Some of my earliest playmates were hens and their chicks. It all felt complete somehow.

I was working on the unconditional love and acceptance part of the book, looking at how unconditional love and acceptance can never come from egocentric karmic conditioning, the illusion of being separate from life, and by definition conditional. Unconditional love and acceptance comes only from center, from nonseperate reality, from the oneness that is life.

I began to look at the ways we talk about the experience of unconditional love and acceptance. Happiness, peace, joy, satisfaction, wellbeing—all words we use to describe what I’m calling “the heart feeling good.”

The heart feels good only at center. Real happiness, happiness that doesn’t depend on “getting what I want” and will pass in a matter of minutes, exists at center. I suspect that everything we truly want is available to us only in the absence of “I,” ours only when we are not focused on being separate from the rest of life, but rather immersed so fully in life that there’s no ego left over to suffer.

Recently I was reading about a fellow who offers a program of things that take good care of a person. His daily schedule of care provokes questions along the lines of, “How can I do all this stuff to take care of myself in the midst of a busy life?” The answer is that all of it has to happen at center. If we were to do only those things that let the heart feel good, we would have plenty of time in the day for all we needed to do to take good care of ourselves and have the heart feel good. No “shoulds,” no “conversation from conditioned mind,” just looking to the heart to guide us. Would there be more things on our list we’d want to do? Of course! But living in “all the things I want to do that make my heart feel good” is very different from spending my life force on “trying to get all the things ego wants” or being drained by an endless battle within ego of “I want/you should.”

Lately I’m talking, and writing, about practice through the lens of “what you practice is what you have.” What we do is what we get. The focus of our attention determines our life experience. Being convinced that’s true, I’m going for the bliss!

There are two “bliss points” I know about in the body. There may be more, but I don’t know them from my own experience. These are not the same as the marma points of acupuncture, though perhaps someone very finely tuned would experience those as bliss points as well. One point is at the center of the tongue. You find it by finding the center from side to side, from front to back, and from top to bottom. You will know it when you find it; it’s like a “bliss wash” for the whole system. The second is behind the heart, between the heart and the spine. Again, be still and attend closely—you’ll recognize it when you make contact.

I’m betting you can see immediately the connection between “what you practice is what you have” and taking full advantage of enjoying “bliss points.”

Practice teaches us that only the unconditional satisfies. Only the unconditional makes us happy, let’s the heart feel good. The beautiful, awe-inspiring, drop-down-on-your-knees-in-gratitude awareness is that living in the unconditional is always available to us. In fact, it is all that truly is. We need only to stop turning away from it to realize it is ours.



  1. Sweet. I get to be the first one on here to wish you a belated birthday. Or as Thich Nhat Hanh called it, a "continuation day." Here's sending you the best.

    Thanks so much for the blog. I have greatly enjoyed it so far. Particularly the quote one. I loves me some quotes too.

  2. Yes, Happy Birthday! And thank you, thank you, thank you. Here is some love from New York.

  3. First time caller, long time appreciator.

    Happy Birthday. There is no more wonderful, wonder-filled day in The Tao According To Me. Radiant, abundant well wishes...

    Regarding this entry, what struck me from the opening paragraph and continued throughout was "permission". I was aware how much and often I forget to do this. Permission to be, to be me, to take care of me...just plain ole permission. For it all.

    Thanks for the re-minding. (smiling, smiling)


  4. Breath by breath.
    I get to choose;
    conditioned mind's
    slamming me and mine.

    Or, to rest in love
    of what is before me.
    To live, beat by beat,
    with opening heart.

    Today we celebrate
    the mystery of how
    The Dharma called Cheri
    to serve as our guide.

    Oh, Happy Day.

  5. Dear Cheri~I'm so happy to find your blog here! I sent an ecard with birthday greetings to you that was returned. New email address, perhaps? Happy belated birthday greetings. I'm sending you abundant love...Cass

  6. Dear Cheri - happy birthday! It is a joy to think of you spending it in a beautiful place surrounded by baby chicks :)

    I have a question: The first time I heard you talk about the center of the tongue, I went right there and experienced the 'bliss wash' you said I would, right then! Since that first time, I've never quite found my way back to that experience. It kind of reminds me of my first latte - how amazing it was! I still enjoy lattes today, but you could say there is also a ho-hum quality to the experience, too. Do you think that's inevitable? Or is the ho-hum quality a result of holding an expectation for bliss, maybe? Or just a matter of not being full there?

  7. What strikes me about this blog is how deeply you have explored EVERYTHING - to the point that you can talk from your own experience about bliss points in the body. My birthday is next month. Seems an appropriate time to embark on the adventure of getting to know this body so utterly well that I can know bliss just through the turn of the attention. How lucky we are to have a body! Happy birth-day, indeed!


    snd gassho