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There is a center in the body where love and spirit are joined, and that center is heart. It is your heart that aches or fills with love, that feels compassion and trust . . . that seems empty or overflowing. Within the heart is a subtler center that experiences spirit, but you can’t feel spirit as an emotion or physical sensation. Spirit lies beneath the layers of sensations, and to experience it, you must go to the heart and meditate upon it until everything that obscures spirit is cleansed. In the words of the mystical poet William Blake, you are cleansing the doors of perception.
In the meditation described below, you will be guided to listen to the messages your heart is sending you. You will begin to clear away whatever is blocking your heart so that you can experience the pure shining spirit that is your true nature.
Meditating on the Heart
Begin by sitting in a comfortable position and close your eyes. For just this moment, you can let go of all your thoughts and the outside world. Focus your attention on your spiritual heart center, in the middle of your chest.
Be aware of your heart as a space. The heart center is a point of awareness where feelings enter. In its essence, the heart is pure emptiness, pervaded by peace and a subtle light. This light may appear as white, gold, pale pink, or blue. But don’t strain to find a light of any kind. All you need to feel is whatever is there.
Resting your attention easily on your heart center, breathe gently and sense your breath flowing into your heart. You may want to visualize a soft, pastel light or coolness pervading the chest. Let your breath go in and out, and as it does, ask your heart what it needs to say. Don’t phrase this as an order . . . just have the faint intention that you want your heart to express itself.
For the next five or ten minutes, sit and listen. Your heart will begin to release emotions, memories, wishes, fears, and dreams long stored inside. As it does, you will find yourself paying attention.
You may have a flash of strong emotion – positive or negative – or a forgotten memory. Your breathing may change. You may gasp, sigh, or feel tears come into your eyes. Let the experience be what it is. If you daydream or drift off into sleep, don’t worry. Just bring your attention back to your heart center.
Whether it speaks to you in sadness or fear, delight or pleasure, its message is exactly what you need. If voices of anger, worry, or doubt start to arise, allow them to speak and then let them go, easily and comfortably. You are learning to be with your heart in order to heed its spiritual meaning – this is meditation. You are letting repressed material come up to be released – this is purification. You are listening to your heart without judgment – this is attention.
As you practice this meditation, spending a few minutes each day to connect to your heart center, you will begin to get glimpses of your heart as it really is: silence, peace, a warm glow, or subtle light. Even if these glimpses are fleeting, you will find that your life outside of meditation is starting to change. At unexpected moments, you will feel a wave of joy and well-being sweep over you. You will begin to walk with more buoyancy in your step.
These are signs that the constriction most people hold around the heart center is releasing its grip, letting go of the fear and tightness that keep spirit from entering. In truth, spirit doesn’t enter since it is always there. But making contact with it is like being penetrated with light and insight. This is the flow of love.