Here is a very simple heart meditation that I love.
Many “positive thinkers” will encourage you to breath out all your negativity and suffering, and to breath in positivity. This does exactly the opposite ….
It uses the power of compassion and of the heart to transform pain and suffering into love and joy.
Atisha was a Buddhist teacher from India who spent several years in Tibet. His heart meditation can be done for 30- 40 minutes. The essential method is to breath in suffering, into the centre of your chest, the heart center, and to breath out love. Doing this you might be surprised to find how easy it is. How powerfully the heart can transform suffering into love and compassion. This can dispel a lot of fear of “taking on other people’s negativity”.
Atisha’s heart meditation can be done in four stages of about ten minutes each, siting in a comfortable, upright position. You can play soft music if you like.
Visualise, or feel that you are breathing all the suffering and pain into your heart centre, in the middle your chest. Then feel that there for a moment or two, feel the love in your heart and watch what happens. Breathe out again, as if your nose was in the centre of your chest. Breathe all that energy of suffering out as love.
- First breath in your own suffering and breath out love.
- Secondly breath in the suffering of everyone you know, and breath out love.
- Third, breath in the suffering of the world and breath out love.
- Finally just sit and rest, witnessing how you feel
Don’t try to force anything to happen. Tune into your heart and see what it does to the suffering on its own.
If you do this heart meditation regularly for a period of time you will likely notice big changes in how you feel and how you respond to other people. You may also become much more aware of your heart. You may feel more centered in your heart rather than your head in your day to day life.
We are very conditioned to live from our heads, and to solve all of our problems mentally. Of course the thinking mind is a very useful tool. It can become so busy and agitated that it runs the show, when it should be just one part of our make up. Learning to experience life more from the body and the heart is a profoundly different, much more grounded experience. See my other post for more on this.