Someone contacted me to ask:
How do you know the difference between a Heart contraction indicating a small truth and things like fear of change, psychological projection of a shadow, or self-sabotage due to unconscious wounding, all of which also cause contraction?
Thanks for your question. There is no difference. Our fears, projections, and wounding are ultimately not very true and not very real, so when we experience them we feel contracted. That is how our soul discriminates that they are not very real, by feeling very contracted when we are focused on them.
This does not mean that they have no reality, it just means they have very little substantial reality. The problem is the mind sees the content of our fear or pain, and to the mind it looks as real as everything else. It is the contraction of the heart--of the very sense of your self--that lets you know that it is just an image or belief in your mind and so is actually not very true.
For a simple example, there might be a fearful thought about losing your job that causes you to feel small and inadequate. And of course it is always somewhat true that you can lose your job. But, in the moment of the thought there is not much truth to the fear if it has not happened yet. It is just a thought. Often we get even more contracted by telling a whole story about if I lose my job, then I might lose my house and my spouse may leave me and my kids will turn out bad and nobody will like me and I will end up homeless and so on. Now all of that could happen, but with each additional projected fearful idea, it becomes less and less likely for it all to actually happen that way and therefore less and less true. And ultimately, even if all of that happened, it would not really harm your eternal soul. So even if it all comes true, it is still not a very big truth.
Our thoughts, beliefs, stories, ideas, fears, hopes, wishes, projections, and wounding are really just thoughts. They exist as thoughts so they are real and have some truth and some effect, but it turns out thoughts by themselves do not have very much reality. After all, they all fit between your ears. How big can they be? When we become very contracted, it is because we are very involved with a story in our mind. This is not bad or wrong, but it is also just not very true or real. Interestingly, we can become just as contracted when involved with a "positive" story about how I am going to win the lottery and then everybody will like me and I will find the perfect lover and live in a big mansion and become spiritually enlightened. If you check when an elaborate story like that is happening in your mind, you will find that your awareness and your direct sense of yourself in that moment is actually very contracted.
Contraction is not bad or wrong, it is just different. Imaginary things like our fears and projections, and hopes and dreams can only be experienced when our awareness is contracted. Our awareness must contract to fit into the small reality of our imagined experience. The antidote is not to get rid of thoughts and imagination, but instead to know them for what they really are: small truths. Something that is small is not bad or even worse than something big. A shoebox is not worse than a garage, it is just smaller. And it is good to be able to tell the difference so that you do not try to store your car in a shoebox, or build a huge garage just to store a pair of shoes! In discriminating how big something is you naturally also recognize its appropriate usefulness. Thoughts and imagination are useful when they point to something that is real or when you need to consider what is possible, but all by themselves they have little useful function. To focus exclusively on your fears or your hopes does not usually serve much purpose.
There is much more going on in every moment than your thoughts about the future or the past, and that includes the bigger truths of your awareness itself and all of the love, joy and peace to be found here and now in your true nature. Why leave out these bigger truths? You do not have to get rid of your fears, but why make them more important than they really are? What if they are actually quite small and your strength, wisdom, joy, love and awareness are limitless? When you put the fears into perspective, they no longer have much capacity to make you suffer, even if they continue to arise as thoughts in your mind.
I hope this helps.