November 16, 2016

A Practice of Listening to our Hearts.

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“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi


The word for mindfulness and heartfulness in many Asian languages is the same word.

When practising mindfulness then, we are also hoping to practise heartfulness. In other words we are aiming to develop a compassionate awareness of our present-moment experience.

To know the heart is to hear and experience the presence of wisdom within the body. Within the soft space of inner silence, the heart whispers truth.

Often, as I am rushing through my week, it is my heart that will be inviting me to slow down, to listen, to breathe. I notice how easy it is for me to miss these gentle murmurings.

I like this heart-centered practice because it reminds me to tune into my heart’s wisdom, to catch a glimpse of myself, to land in the present moment, to digest my experience, to really experience my life.

After each practice I like to journal about my experience, noting the sensations, images, feelings and thoughts that arose. On a first attempt, I might only record one or two things, however as I revisit this practice, I notice that my awareness develops and deepens.

There are also days when I follow this practice and hear very little, and then I remind myself to be patient with the heart, for we cannot ask a flower to open by shouting at it. We can only wait.

The practice:

Begin by finding a comfortable posture and by bringing your attention to the breath. Take a few moments to let yourself arrive and allow the breath to draw you gently into internal awareness. Allow the gaze to soften and the eyes to close.

1. Inhale and visualise the breath being drawn directly into the heart. As you exhale, see the breath moving back out into the space around you. As you do so, let the breath draw awareness into the heart-space.

2. Observe any sensations, images, feelings and thoughts that arise. Take five breaths here.

3. As awareness grows in the heart, notice how this feels and silently choose three words to describe this experience.

4. As you inhabit the heart fully and listening deepens, imagine what wisdom is available here. Silently say: I ask for the teachings of heart.

5. Listen and be present to whatever comes.

6. Now focus on a loving relationship in your life and allow the feelings of love to fill your heart. Notice the vibration of love itself. Feel it. Embrace it. Enrich it. Be with it fully. Take five breaths here.

7. Notice the feelings of gratitude and appreciation that arise as you contemplate the love already present in your life. Take five breaths here.

8. Allow the heart to show you the love that you already are. Take five breaths here.

9. Return to wakefulness in your own way.


Author: Neil Seligman

Image: zoë biggs/Flickr 

Editor: Catherine Monkman


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