Living with joy and sadness in your heart, living with them both at once, and doing so with courage and compassion, is what it means to be on the path to integration.Judith Hanson Lasater
I have been humbled with the wisdom from Judith Hanson Lasater this past year. I have taken her restorative training to become a certified teacher and now I have begun a deep dive into the topic of meditation with her and her daughter Lizzie. All have been done virtually which is a wonderful way for me to study.
The recent topic has been on returning to focus on sensations by meditating on our energetic heart center. It is more than just focusing on the location of the physical heart organ. It includes the entire heart chakra area called Anahata or “unstruck sound”. Focusing on the sensations in the body and our feelings brings us back into a deeper state than just our thoughts alone.
When we focus on the heart and become receptive, it allows for gratitude, compassion and love to arise.
Try out some of these items to connect to the heart…
- Create a thankful journal. List out items you are thankful for and recognize all there is around you. Even the “bad” things from the past can be lessons learned or can be seen as leading you to be the person you are today.
- Listen to Pachelbel’s Canon in D which is the tone of the heart chakra.
- Sit in a silent meditation and focus your attention on the heart center in all directions; discovering your inner spaciousness.
I do enjoy yoga but I REALLY get excited when scientific items are mentioned. It was said that the area of our brain called the cortex is a “newer” development in our evolution. This can be seen as the center of our thoughts, the thinking mind, those repeating items which really bug us during the day and even our fears/worries. This means that going past our thinking mind to sensations, noticing how the breath feels or focusing our attention on our heart center, draws us deeper into a true state.
Another science item is that having an “open heart” is a physical state that can actually be measured! It does not mean we have to be happy all of the time. Just that we can sit with whatever comes up. Be receptive and open. Another way to say it would be to stop arguing with the present state (aka Santosha or contentment). Dean Ornish in his book “Love and Survival: 8 Pathways to Intimacy and Health” showed photos of a person who is in a gratitude state. This individual had arteries that fed the heart 3 times more open and wider than a person who was angry. So an “open heart” in an energetic way, actually had a physical impact to the body. Just another way that our feelings, sensations, emotions impact at a physical level.
I also want to mention that I have enjoyed reading Judith Hanson Lasater’s book called “Living Your Yoga, finding the spiritual in everyday life”.