Dear Integral Meditators,This weeks article focuses on the physical heart as your object of mindful attention. Enjoy!
In the spirit of heart,
Meditating with your physical heart
Mindfulness and meditation have a capacity to help the health of your physical heart, and other parts of your body. These are complementary to other strategies that we have around diet, exercise, medication and so forth. The principle healing agent with mindfulness is always conscious awareness itself. But there are other emotional and mental healing agents that naturally start to flow in as a result of the primary act of conscious attention. With this in mind here are some simple ways to get started. They can be practiced together as a sequence, or individually, as you prefer:
- Becoming aware of the physical heat and heartbeat: Here you simply focus your attention in the area of the chest where your physical heart is located, and sense onto it, seeing what you notice. After a while you will have a sense of your heart as an object on your chest, and you will feel the heart-beat. You can also place your hand over the chest over your heart, and use that to sense the heart-beat. Just commune with your heart gently through mindful attention.
- Breathing with the flow of blood: With this practice, focus on your heart and heartbeat. Sense the network of arteries and veins thru-out your body. Sense the flow of blood thru your entire body. As you breathe out, be aware of the blood flowing out into your body through your arteries. As you breathe in be aware of the blood flowing back to your heart through the veins. Relax into this process for as long as you wish.
- Working with the emotional qualities of the physical heart: As you focus on your physical heart, be aware of any emotions present within the heart. As you breathe in soften and open your heart, allowing yourself to feel them, as you breathe out relax into the emotions present, letting them be released or enjoyed, as feels appropriate to you.
- Working with ‘heart qualities’: as a variation on exercise 3, you can select particular ‘heart qualities’ that you want to bring into your heart, for example care, courage, love or compassion. As you breathe in feel the energy of the emotional quality gathering and building in your physical heart, as you breathe out feel it spreading out from your heart into the rest of your body. Build a strong sense of the presence of that emotion in your heart, and feel it gently pumping and flowing our into the rest of your body. Feel a strong connection between your physical body and the energy of this emotion.
When you do these, perhaps it will be the first time that you have ever spent so much time paying attention directly to your physical heart. It can be a very powerful experience, and the beginning of a long, healthy and fulfilling collaboration between you and your physical heart!
Article content © Toby Ouvry & Integral Meditation Asia 2019.
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