“Let me urge you, my child, to enlarge your heart; or rather, suffer it to become enlarged by grace. This contraction shuts you up in yourself, and hinders an agreeable openness which we should ever maintain, even towards those who have no particular affinity with ourselves. An open, frank exterior wins confidence. Let it not appear that you have so much relish for yourself as not to think of others. What seems to be a virtue is sometimes regarded by God as a fault; and which we shall so perceive when we have clearer light. …
“I entreat you, pass beyond the narrow bounds of self; suffer yourself to be led out of self into the will and way of God. Thus you will be much more happy and useful.” ~Madam Guyon
Enlarge Your Heart
Madam Guyon is advising a friend (don’t let her term, “my child,” fool you) to have a big heart. Not literally, of course. She wants the friend to let more people into her heart. This is good advice for all of us. Having a limited number of friends is fine, but we don’t shut the rest of the world out entirely. We still have to let them into our hearts. We still have to love them all.
Some will argue “How can we love someone who is a murderer or a rapist?” The answer is that you love the real person hidden deep inside. You love the spirit and soul created by God and therefore perfect. The problems of the body and mind should be looked on as disease. You don’t hate a person because he has a disease. You can hate the things they do, but not the person themselves.
When you close your heart to people, you also close out many other things. You close out the life lessons you might get from those people. Any knowledge they may have is not shared with you. Let’s consider a simple example on the material level. Suppose your favorite barber or hairdresser has retired or moved. You need to find a new one soon. You ask your limited circle of friends and they can’t help. If you had a big heart, and let more people in, some of them might know a good alternative that meets your needs.
Big Heart for Spiritual Growth
It is even more important to have that big heart when you are trying to grow spiritually. If for nothing else, just look at the energy side of it. When you ignore, or openly dislike certain individuals, and they know it, they will be sending you bad vibes (negative energy), consciously or subconsciously. That negative energy can limit your ability to grow if you are not advanced enough to be able to block it. On the other hand, if you show friendship and understanding to all, then most people will be sending you positive vibes. That positive energy can aid you in your spiritual development. While the primary way to get spiritual energy is through the spiritual sun, exchanging positive energy with other people is another good way to grow.
Will of God
Guyon says it is the will of God that we break out of our “narrow bounds of self”. Narrow bounds result in narrow, close-minded, thinking. It’s a well-known fact that people who hate change and anything (or anyone) “different”, are people who have done little travel. When they vacation, it’s usually to some place not far from home, and definitely in the same country. If they start visiting other lands, they will find that those strange foreigners are not so different after all. Then they might develop a big heart.