by Lorin Roche
Heart Warming Meditation Introduction
In the course of a day, when do you have time to feel the emotional impact of your life? When do you have a chance to acknowledge your happiness, your loneliness, your bewilderment, grief, joy, bittersweet longing, homesickness for your country of birth, or just your need for a vacation?
A heart meditation is a time to dwell with all that is in your heart. We all need a way to enter the world of feeling and warm ourselves at the inner fire. This is a good practice to do toward the end of the day. After the sun goes down in the outer world, we can tune in to the warmth and radiance within.
The physical heart is continually pulsating as it orchestrates the flow of blood throughout your body. The heart loves circulation, flow, rhythm, warmth, and oxygenation.
In addition to the physical heart, there is another dimension of the heart, a center of pure feeling. We talk about this function all the time in everyday language:
"He has a big heart"
"You are in my heart"
“My heart sings at the thought of it.”
"I have a broken heart."
“In your heart you know it’s true.”
The feeling heart is an organ of energy and perception. It keeps track of your relationship to the world. This heart vibrates, it sings, and there is a note for each of your major relationships.
Having "an open heart" means being available for the flow of life and love. It means being able to both give and receive, and to be changed by the presence of another. Every one of us is designed to love, and to let our heart’s energy flow inside ourselves and to others.
Nature created us to thrive in love, and as social beings, we are meant to communicate and share. When life energy is circulating freely, we experience health, enthusiasm, courage, and joy. When the flow is obstructed for some reason, we have symptoms of pain, illness, ennui, or depression; we are sick in body or soul. Often we have learned to hold back; we've been hurt, or shamed, or had to freeze up our feelings in order to function. Icebergs are floating in the dark of the heart; occasionally a love boat hits one and sinks.
This meditation is about cultivating the sense of warmth and light in your heart, thus healing the cold and frozen places. You can do this meditation a hundred times and every time have a different experience.
When: Toward the end of the day.
Where: Be in a cozy place. Light a candle, or sit in front of a fire in your hearth.
Position: Sitting up or lying down.
Time: 10 to 20 minutes.
This meditation is time to breathe and pulsate with all that is in your heart, all of your love, your longing, and your warm memories.
Begin by thinking of someone or something you love without reservation. Notice the sensations in your heart as you remember your love. You may feel lightness, expansion, aching or melting. You may feel joy or sorrow. Breathe with those feelings. Allow yourself to be with whatever is there.
When we love someone or something, we want to pay attention and we delight in paying attention. Attention, in essence, is love. Let your love teach you how to pay attention to the flow of life within you.
Now bring your hands to your heart. Rest your palms on your chest. You will feel a place that wants contact. As you breathe, you may notice a rising and falling movement under your hands, a soft flow of breath. Let your fingers and palms ride those gentle waves.
Feel the warm contact of your palms against your chest. Imagine that warmth penetrating deep into your heart. You may feel the pulse of your heartbeat.
The heart is designed to love, to express, to give and receive. Notice your longing to be in the presence of what you love. Let your heart be warmed by your love. Let the warmth melt any cold or frozen places, any part of you that is aching, afraid, grief-stricken, lonely, disappointed, or bitter. Let the flame of your love warm you from the inside.
Make a humming sound, such as ”mmmm,” “home,” “huuum,” or “ohhhhmmm. Keep saying it over and over, feeling how the sound vibrates your chest. In a casual, exploratory way, send the “hum” into your heart. Continue making the “hum”, letting the sound become quieter, just a whisper. Gradually let it become an internal sound you are thinking or remembering. Then let the “hum” fade away, knowing you can return to it at any time.
Once again notice the contact of your hands on your heart. Slowly open your arms outward, as you would to embrace someone. Take a few breaths in this open-arm position, and then slowly, very gently, bring your hands back to your chest. You are returning to your heart, bringing that embrace into your own heart essence.
Repeat this movement several times with great leisure, as if you want to make the motion last as long as possible. This movement is an expression of the give and take of your love.
Sometimes we ache because we are not receiving enough love, and sometimes we ache because we are not giving enough love. This simple motion of in and out from the heart – opening to give and drawing in to receive – is a yoga of the heart, a way of expressing balance in giving and receiving.
Bring your hands back to your heart and pause. Simply breathe and savor the sensations. When you’re ready, take another few breaths, open your eyes, and gently make the transition into your outer life.Intention: I am awake to love. I am ready to give and receive. I am in the flow of love.