For the heart to need healing it must be broken, right?On some level aren’t all of our hearts broken? Haven’t we all at some point in our lives, from early childhood, experienced disappointment, loss, trust issues, some kind of emotional conflict? All of these things, these emotional happenings, are matters of the heart.
We have a choice, to continue through life and allow this to grow, to challenge us on a daily basis, although oftentimes we remain unaware. Or we can get to the heart of the matter, quite literally. It is not easy, looking deep inside the hearts core and seeing what is there. And there are so very many myriad and complex layers to unfold. It is never ending in some aspects because we are so unaware of ourselves at this level, so incredibly well defended and protected against really truly showing our emotions, our true, raw, real, selves, that we don’t even know what is in there. Added to this the fact that of course life goes on giving us experiences and therefore more emotional responses and baggage, this process remains forever continuous and ongoing. So it is essential to continue any kind of heart focused heartfelt practice on a regular basis.
This is a self love, self maintenance, self preservation program for life.
How does one begin to work with releasing and listening to the heart? I believe it is most likely different for everyone, all I can do is share my own limited experience and, as always, I am a work in progress! My practice is always shifting and changing depending on my own perceived and felt needs and responses. Inevitably if I rely solely upon my own views of what I need it will be a deal more comfortable than if directed by my teacher or a healer. This is why I consult other people.
We are all human. We will always be more attracted to the path of least resistance first and foremost, even if only fleetingly. We gravitate towards Sukha (a comfortable sweet spot) and yearn to avoid Dukkha (suffering). Ironically the Sukha is even more sweet if we can begin by working with the Dukkha and get more accustomed to the practice of letting go. The following are practices which I personally have found helpful…
- Be ready, to embrace and accept, whatever comes, whatever reveals itself. It may and probably won’t be what you ‘expect’. When working with the heart we are leaving the thinking mind aside, working with our emotions and intuition.
- Practice compassion and forgiveness. Yes towards others, including those you may have had difficulties with, and most importantly, and primarily, towards yourself. This can be the most difficult and challenging part of the whole practice, the part we may try to actively avoid the most. It takes time, maybe a long time, maybe its never ending, and thats OK.
- Feel what is happening in your physical body. Notice areas of stiffness, tension, discomfort, resistance. Ease into it slowly, be excessively gentle with yourself, be with the difficulties, be kind. You can use Yoga, tai chi, dance, any kind of body work for this, but please do it in a compassionate and mindful way.
- Slowly feel what is happening in the mind. Is there a resistance to the work with the heart, a reluctance? Have a discussion with the mind (I am not crazy it is really helpful!), ask it to please step aside for a while so that you can fully and authentically engage with your heart and your intuition.
- If you have one or can find one then make full use of a good massage therapist and healer. Someone who not only works with the physical form of the body but the more subtle body, the energy, and the emotions.
- There are many heart focused practices in Yoga, and also in meditation. Do not drive yourself crazy searching, just gently wait and see what comes to you. Then, if something comes, be it a specific practice, a mantra, a visualisation or meditation technique, use it daily.
- Life, the mind, external factors, lots of things will attempt to distract you. Do your best. Ideally of course stick with it always. If you don’t manage this, don’t give yourself a hard time. Just begin again, be kind, be gentle, remember it is all ok.
- If we do a practice for some time maybe we can then feel a kind of restlessness within this. We can feel like we should change it or do something differently. Often this feeling comes just as the practice is really about to do its work. It is about our reluctance and fear of letting go of whatever we are holding onto within the heart.
- So be patient! If impatience or unsatisfactoriness arises, in your practice as well as in your life, then notice it, acknowledge it. Continue with equanimity and reverence. Treat your impatience as though it were a distracted child, tenderly and with great care. I am by nature a very impatient person. I am very slowly (and painfully) learning that if we have the right practice, with the right attitude and approach, it will take time. And it will be ongoing, for life.
- Get grateful. Have gratitude for whatever experiences have brought you to this place, right here and right now, this exact moment. Many have never experienced the truth of their own hearts, the authenticity, the sense of belonging. And whilst the path to this place can be incredibly overwhelming and desperately difficult at times, the practice and the experience of residing in the heart, of living from the heart, the intuition, of being authentically yourself, whilst also being kind, compassionate and gentle, is a fine place to sit in this crazy world.
The energy of the heart is a living, actual entity. It is detected with electrical impulses on a ECG. These same impulses can continue to be detected away from the physical body. The heart energy can be felt. Have you ever walked into a room with other people and felt ill at ease, or particularly welcomed? Then you have experienced the impact we can have upon others with our heart energy. Now imagine if we all felt kindness and compassion, how would this affect the whole world and what impact could this then have upon everyones lives.
The heart is our home. If we do not live in our home we will be unhappy and discontent. Fear prevents us from residing in our true home, but that is a whole other story. A dear friend said to me (just now actually!) that “Our instincts (which I am interpreting as the voice of the heart) are always right. It’s when we try to explain, censor or listen to others that they get distorted.”