Home with a Hearth

by Joel Levin, Perth, Australia

Image you live in a simple home with a hearth (fireplace) in the middle. The radiance from the fire is enough to heat the whole house. The warmth is not overpowering but complete and present in every room.

One day (for some reason) you crave something different and you open the window. At first the cold air stings, but the longer you stand in front of the window, the more used to this feeling you become. Over time you open another window, and then another, and then another… pretty soon the warmth leaves the house, all except the room with the hearth (nothing can touch this).

You live in this way for such a long time that you forget about the room with the hearth and start looking for other ways to get warm. You buy a jacket, a scarf, thermal clothing, you find someone to ‘snuggle up to at night’, turn to a ‘bracing drink’ to warm you up… it all works to a degree and you get comfortable with the ‘solutions’ you have found, going about your daily life all bundled up, ignoring the fact you are less able to move through all the layers. You do this for so long it feels normal.

At times you feel a remnant warmth from the hearth and it reminds you something’s not right, but you’re not sure what. You read books and go to courses that are dedicated to making life warmer, but you don’t notice that all they’re asking you to do is to put on more clothes. Some get you moving so much that you feel so positively, glowingly hot, you don’t notice they’ve put holes in the walls to balance the uncomfortable heat that’s been created. They all live up to their promise to make you warm… but long-term, they don’t work.

Then one day you meet someone who lives without their jacket, without all the layers… initially you call them crazy… why would you take off something so familiar and warm? Everyone else you see is wearing these thick layers – who would be crazy enough to stand out like that? When you ask him why he does not need a jacket, you write him off, because surely he is saying the same thing you’ve read in every other book.

But you see the way he moves, with no restrictions, no fatigue from carrying the extra layers. He doesn’t want or need a jacket to stay warm. Is life possible without all the layers?

You talk about taking the layers off, but this friend says: “Don’t take off the jacket until you feel you’re ready to. Maybe focus on closing some windows and reducing the amount of cold/damp air you are letting into your house; maybe there’s a room with a hearth.”

There it is… simplicity… the warmth comes from the inside and the cold comes from the outside. But you realise you have spent so long living like this you didn’t even notice the front and back doors have been opened too, and that it was you that put those holes in the walls. It’s simple, but it also feels overwhelming, like you might never ‘get there’.

The friend says, “Don’t try to ‘get there’, don’t rush to be something you are not. Walk to the centre of the house… see the hearth is still alight, remember this place always, come back whenever you need to and allow the warmth that has never left this place to be there”. At first you think it’s a trick: how can the hearth still be alight after all this time? You take a look and it is there – not once, but every time you choose to walk back to it, it’s there.

Now you have a true measure of warmth; not a temporary warmth, but solid warmth from the inside out. With this measure you can start making choices, smarter choices. You close the doors, you close the windows and the warmth starts returning to the rest of the house. It can sting as it thaws the colder parts of the house, but with each new choice you can feel when it’s okay to drop a layer of clothing.

It’s not until the doors and windows are closed that you start to really notice the drafts from the other holes and cracks. It’s not a theory anymore, it’s something you can feel. So you start to work slowly, without shame or blame for having put the holes there in the first place.

Over time, you feel ready to look at other things that leave you cold (what you eat, how you work). Eventually you can remember what it might feel like to move around in the simplest of garments, and what it’ s like to feel the warmth of the hearth in every room…

At times a passer-by stops outside your house and you notice them wondering what it is they are feeling coming from inside your house. They may not understand it straightaway, but maybe one day these passers-by will remember that they too have a house with their own hearth.

209 thoughts on “Home with a Hearth

  1. This beautiful blog shows us that the warmth and love have always been within and has never left us. All we have to do is accept it and allow the warmth to emanate out and show others how warm we all are inside.

  2. “Going about your daily life all bundled up, ignoring the fact you are less able to move through all the layers. You do this for so long it feels normal” – modern life described so accurately.

  3. Why would we not want to live in the natural fire from with-in, that essence that is always ignited and warming our whole being, so close the door where evil dwells or in other-words our controlling-spirit needs to be understood for what and where it leaves openings.

  4. Your blog reminds us of the warmth of our hearts and how the fire is always there even if we can’t feel it anymore and can’t remember the warmth was there in the first place. So much focus is on the outside whereas all the answers are inside.

  5. You have nailed it again Joel Levin. I love your writing and playfulness with much wisdom in your expression.

  6. Such a good analogy of life and the more we look for the solution to fix the problem of being cold the more lost we become instead of focusing back to the warmth and letting that fill the space.

  7. Awesome blog Joel, I thought I have read all your blogs on this website but I must have missed this one, it was recommended to me by a friend. This blog is such a gem, the wisdom, truth and clarity you’ve shared Joel is absolutely brilliant. The simplicity in the way you express is so relatable and a joy to read.

  8. Getting accustomed to something is accepting it, saying yes to it. When this happens, we get a new normal. Our movements are in synch with it. No wonder why we end up detaching first from the heart and forgetting later that it is what is left of home.

  9. Beautiful reminder Joel that no matter what the fire always burns from within, and when we reconnect to the warmth of the fire we realise that it is more loving to stay warm than being out in the cold.

  10. A brilliant analogy Joel with the house and leaving the windows and doors wide open to seek outside of the true hearth burning within the centre of the house. Time to lovingly choose to close a few windows and return to the inner hearth again – thank you for the reminder.

  11. It’s a great way for me to understand what I left, and how nothing from the outside world replaces the warmth I miss from the internal hearth (our innermost heart). Interesting to read about the layers we take on in an attempt to cope without the hearth, and how it felt to meet someone who lived without those layers “But you see the way he moves, with no restrictions, no fatigue from carrying the extra layers.”

  12. ‘You read books and go to courses that are dedicated to making life warmer, but you don’t notice that all they’re asking you to do is to put on more clothes.’ I laughed out loud reading this, it describes how we live so perfectly, we leave the warmth of us and go find ways to live in the cold by covering us up and all along the warmth is there but we need to remember and come back to it. A beautifully told and deeply true story.

  13. Closing the holes and cracks that let the cold in to disrupt our hearth (or fire) within is an ongoing commitment and maintenance program for us all to honour.

  14. In this sharing there is such healing, in its simplicity this article strips bare our desire to continue to “bring things in” trying to warm our hearts. When our hearts are already warm, it is such a paradox that we “pull in”, when in truth it is our birth right to expand out.

  15. We are amazingly adaptable. We are so good at creating comfort out of discomfort, and in that we turn simplicity into complexity.

  16. Awesome Joel thank you. Interesting word hearth. Conveys a lot of ‘warmth’. No doubt this is why we all love to come home to a hearty fire on a cold day and gather around it. It reminds us of a more loving way.

  17. I just re-read this gem of a parable and shared on Facebook as l feel this is a keeper. It is a parable that keeps on giving.

  18. It’s crazy, we actually move out of the House of God and then create weird and whacky ways to cope with the cold of this separation, all of course temporary “fixes”. As you say, the warmth of who we truly are, and where we are from, is always there.

  19. Very beautiful and profound analogy, reminding us of the ever-present essence of our being. Our Fiery inner-spark is what will forever define who we are, representing the truth of us all, where we are from and our purpose for being here – to live our Fiery way.

  20. I will come back to this blog time and time again to warm my hands at the rekindled fire of the hearth. I love your work Joel.

  21. “Is life possible without all the layers?” When we are in the reflected light of the fire from someone who emanates their inner hearth we can feel we have many layers to let go of and rekindle and feel the warmth of our inner fire.

  22. Great simile for the way we ignore that the answers lay within us and that all solutions and quick fixes, good ideas and apparent breakthroughs just add bulky layers that make our movements cumbersome, laborious and exhausting.

  23. This is the most beautiful blog I have read in a long time. I am so deeply moved by the understanding, compassion, appreciation and love that is being expressed. It’s exquisite and profoundly supportive. Thank you Joel.

  24. Brilliant blog, thank you Joel. Thank you for the reminder: there’s nowhere to get to, nothing to ‘do’, no race.. just a surrender to what is already there, inside of us all – a warmth and love that never leaves us, no matter how many times we’ve walked away from it, tried to crush it or pretended it’s not there.

  25. Great reminder of our everyday lives and how we are the boss of bringing in and reminding ourselves of Our heart, bringing in our warmth – reminding ourselves of that warmth inside us every day.
    And so to bring more awareness to our conscious presence moment to feel what effects our choices are making in the world today. And that we have a responsibility to life from that warmth within.

  26. I just so love your friend told you not to rush into taking off the layers of clothes just because he wasn’t wearing any. Fix the holes where the draughts are coming in and stay closer to where the warmth is before taking a jacket off – a common sense, really.

  27. The warmth we have within can never be matched by anything outside of us that may be alluring or tantalising. Which is why when we connect to our inner warmth, the need to fill ourselves up with entertainment, the highs of a night out for example, can completely subside. When we tend to our inner hearth, we implicitly call for our outer environment to respond accordingly – we know true nourishment from within, it is now a known from within our bodies, and we begin to set up our outer environment to support this nourishment. It is a delicious way to live and delicious way to be.

    1. Yes this is a beautiful reminder Judith and I will be returning to read this blog again. We can save ourselves so much time, effort and heartache once we realise that what we are looking for is within and has never left us at all.

  28. I find myself always in awe at your ability to write fables with such utter wisdom within that leave you not only pondering over the choices you have made but equally inspiring you to make different ones from here in. Just love your work Joel.

  29. The simplicity of this parable is gold. I love coming back to it as I love coming back to the warmth of the hearth inside of me, especially when I have been looking for warmth in all the wrong places!

  30. Simply gorgeous, a bedtime fable that leaves you remembering, the innate wisdom, the hearth inside that can forever warm us up as we snuggle up in the arms of our own amazing love.

  31. I am so inspired by this blog and the fact that we can take our jackets off and feel the warmth in that hearth.

  32. I love coming back to this blog; it’s like coming back to the hearth. In the analogy of warmth being inside and cold coming in, I can easily feel that constant movement of energy. I have looked for warmth in lots of places too and I really don’t like being cold. I am often judgemental of how people lead their lives because I can see the search for the warmth in things that won’t deliver that warmth and it shows me that I do the same. it’s uncomfortable to see how we choose to ignore the hearth inside. This blog is full of understanding for humanity; that we are all seeking the warmth that we know so well. we will always go to what’s outside of us to try to match that warmth we know so well, until we come back to the hearth inside.

  33. Joel I love what you have shared in your beautiful blog as it such a simple explanation what happened to most of us and showed a way to understand how to re-connect to the hearth inside of us. I love it as it made it so palpable – for me it is not a theory anymore.

  34. Thank you for this divine reminder of our ability to close doors and windows. It is such a good analogy that really supports the reader to understand how that way of living comes to be and how we can turn that around again.

  35. “Don’t try to ‘get there’, don’t rush to be something you are not. Walk to the centre of the house… see the hearth is still alight, remember this place always, come back whenever you need to and allow the warmth that has never left this place to be there”. Joel, a great analogy and reminder of the simplicity and steadiness in which we can live when we return to knowing ourselves from our connection to the warmth of our heart.

  36. Written from your ever fiery hearth Joel… that you remind me of my hearth and that everyone of us has a flame that is forever burning, waiting to be connected to again, patiently and without judgement. What stands out in this for me the most is the key ingredient to close those windows and fill the house with the loving warmth is simplicity, in movement, expression, working, living.

  37. I love returning to this delight-full and profound parable, in which Joel shares with us the wisdom of his soul, which, from reading all the comments, has resonated with the souls of many.

  38. A really great analogy Joel of how we create things in our lives through the choices we make and we don’t need to be ashamed of these- just simply recognise what doesn’t support us and learn to let these patterns or behaviours go so that we can move without the burden of them and be more at ease in ourselves and with others.

  39. It is not easy to see that the chill breezes come through windows we have opened and holes we have made in our own walls. It is awful to wonder where that room is, the one with the hearth, wonder could the fire have gone out? It has been left unattended for so long….but then we find, after very little searching, that it is there, burning as bright as when we turned our backs and stared longingly out of the window. And as we strip away the layers and feel the freedom of our movement, unhampered, it becomes a simple matter to say ‘never again’ to anything untouched and unwarmed by that fiery glow.

    1. There is definitely something bittersweet about the renovation job we are all in the middle of. The effort that goes into repairing our bodies and reconnecting to that hearth, definitely brings home the learning that letting it fall back into disrepair is not a way to live. Why we need to learn that lesson…is another story

  40. Beautiful Joel, we all have a house with a heart. There is fire in us, in all of us. I love to make my house warm in many ways by closing all the windows and heating it and dress it in a way my body really loves. That helps my body surrender into my heart. How great it will be if we all make it to a stop and realize we all have a heart in our home and change are moves to a more loving life.

  41. Joel, thank you for sharing the glow from your inner hearth, your inner-heart. Serge Benyahon lives and breathes the breath that rekindles the fire in all of us.

  42. ‘You read books and go to courses that are dedicated to making life warmer, but you don’t notice that all they’re asking you to do is to put on more clothes.’ Very true Joel, every time I attended a new course or opened a book to feel more comfortable it was just putting a new layer of clothes because I seemed to have lost the warmth inside myself.

  43. l get this with regards to affirmations and motivational words..”all you are doing is reading words on a blackboard and not changing the way you live.” lve wasted so much ink and so many books in the name of changing my life for the better when all that was required was to put the book and the pen down and simply go for a walk in a movement of love and appreciation for me, and continue to do this everyday. Life changing.

  44. This is a real gem Joel! It is a real heart warmer in every way. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I feel to share this one with the world. Thank you . . . always love your work.

  45. Love this, such a beautiful description of how we chose to live, and to remember that the hearth inside always stayed on, coming in closer is much nicer than having all those layers to stay warm.

    1. There is something re-assuring to know that the size of the house has no bearing on the quality of the fire that burn in the hearth.

    2. l do to and l love to remember this line particularly…”now you have a true measure of warmth; not a temporary warmth, but solid warmth from the inside out.” l feel this everytime l attend a Universal Medicine course or see an Esoteric practitioner. They help to remind me of that exquisite warmth that is always there inside me.

  46. This is a delightful sharing Joel and one that certainly warms my heart, to know that everything we ever want and need is within us always – simple and beautiful.

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