by Raphael Rod Birney MD (image Robby Donaghey)
In the heart meditation as we orient to the heart, to it’s electromagnetic energy field, we connect with the matrix of high self, with our inner guidance. This may be experienced as an energy field, an image of a wise being, an inner voice, a sense of being guided in a certain direction. Tuning to the heart we experience alignment in our lives, a sense of cohesion and integration of our physical, emotional and mental bodies.
The energy field of the heart when focused outward connects us with the larger fields of our planet, galaxy and the cosmos, the mind or heart of God in religious terms.
Your heart is an integral part of your biophysical organism, connecting and communicating with your autonomic nervous system, immune system, endocrine system and brain.
Your heart communicates with your brain neurologically through nerve impulses, biochemically through neurotransmitters and neurohormones, biophysically through the pulse of the heartbeat and energetically through its electromagnetic energy field. Approximately 60% of the cells in your heart are nerve cells!
You have at least 3 brains! An instinctual or reptilian brain, an emotional brain and your neocortex with its left and right hemispheres. All are richly connected with no apparent central command. Integration occurs and a sense of your conscious self arises through synchronous, oscillatory wave patterns sweeping through your brains.
Your heart is an integral part of this system helping coordinate communication between your instinctual and emotional brains and your neocortex. Heart meditation supports the integration of your brains and the resolving of neurotic conflicts that arise when your different brains are at cross purposes. Alpha wave patterns, correlated with states of embodiment, flow and meditation may naturally arise.
The heart has been a major focus of spiritual practice throughout the ages and in almost all traditions. Two of my favorites include the Sufi heart meditation and the Buddhist practice of tonglen.
Heart Meditation – If you have questions about this practice please contact us, your counselor or spiritual guide. The heart area is associated with the heart chakra. The major psychological issue with this center is intimacy versus isolation. The archetypal energy is that of the lovers. By entering into this meditation you open to entering into deeper intimacy with your inner selves, others, all life and the cosmos itself.
1) Heart Focus: To enter into the heart meditation bring your awareness to the center of your chest. If it helps to keep your attention on this center, gently place your left hand over your heart.
2) Rythmic Heart Breath: Now begin to breathe gently, deeply, rhythmically. Imagine your chest soft and porous, your breath massaging, nourishing your heart. If you can feel your pulse or heartbeat begin to synchronize your breath and heartbeat. Inhale to 4 heartbeats and exhaling to 4 heartbeats. Over time you will become aware of the field of your heart, a gentle warmth, a sense of openness and relaxation will begin to arise.
3) Heart Massage (Recognize, Accept, Massage): I think of the field of the heart as a caring mother that lovingly holds whatever impressions arise, as a mother holds her child whether relaxed, agitated, angry, sad or ecstatic. As impressions or memories arise recognize them, lovingly accept them, then massage them with your breath in your heart. Over time the field of your heart will allow them to soften and dissolve! Start with 5 minutes and build up to 15 or 20 over time. Your capacity to recognize and deepen into positive states, to accept and hold negative states, allowing them to soften and dissolve, will deepen over time.
You can move from formal practice at a set time each day into informal practice, using the heart meditation during your day when difficult emotional states are triggered. Take a break, go into the heart meditation. As you calm and center, see what heart centered action is needed as opposed to the defensive reactivity of your ego.
4) Heart Feeling (Remembering Positive Feelings): For many of us due to emotional neglect and other psychodynamic issues, it is difficult to get in touch with the heart field. The following step can be added to the heart meditation. I often do this practice at the end of the day. Begin as above, bringing your awareness and gentle rhythmic breath to your heart center, synchronizing with your heartbeat if possible. Remember a moment of joy, love, connection or caring from your day. Add the feeling state of this memory with your breath to permeate your heart and body. Take 10 – 20 breaths for each memory and positive feeling state, remember four or five.
5) Hear Flame Visualization: When you are comfortalbe with the heart meditation, massaging your heart, remembering positive feelings, you may want to try the heart flame meditation. Start with the first two steps, then imagine a flame of white light radiating in your heart and that your body is the aura of this flame. As you become familiar with this visualization bring it into your everyday life. Through this image you open to the energetic wave aspect of your being and the cosmos. You slowly become filled with light, recognize your deepest being as light. “The quantum vacuum ia a form of light. It is an underlying sea of energy that permeates everything, from the emptiest intergalactic void to the depths of the earth, sun, our own bodies.” Bernard Haisch physicist