Do each of us take time to check in with our heart throughout our day, to notice that we are simply breathing? To notice the pulse of our heart as it relates to our thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and to all that is inside and outside of us? If we can do this several times in a day, we may just notice and sense the aliveness, the vibrant frequency with which we choose to respond to ourselves and other experiences and people in the world.
Nina Bhatty ~
From the moment we wake up in the morning, do we allow ourselves a brief check-in with our mind-heart to notice if we are beginning anew OR if we are still carrying yesterdays baggage - fears, anxieties, longings, etc. - into the new day?
As a Mindfulness Practitioner, I have a practice of taking a few moments upon rising to open my eyes, gaze at the light coming through the windows and stimuli around the room, as I wake from the dream-state to the waking. I allow myself to begin the day with acknowledging gratefulness for having a healthy body, mind, connections to loved ones and new friendships, a beautiful space to live and work that is immensely rewarding, yet challenging me to continuously maximize my human and spiritual potential, as well as a multitude of other grateful considerations, including being given another day to continue my journey here on this beautiful, mysterious, yet at times, very challenging earth!
I continue my day with intermittent heart-mind check-ins, gently alerting to serve as reminders to notice and more importantly, feel how I am relating to all that I come into contact with. Pausing allows me access to the silent space, even if for only a few moments, to check in--is my heart beating? What am I feeling in the moment? How much and how deeply can I feel? What emotions am I noticing and how are they affecting the way I am relating to my work or relationships or whatever I am doing? The invitation is to really feel the direct experience of the heart and its inner workings, rather than conceptually think and analyse about it.
When we check in to the heartful space and notice that it is neutral or positive, we can usually carry this light-energy experience with ease and joy as we welcome and savor it. However, if the heartful space experience is negative - whether an inner or outer heavy trigger, there are skills we can learn to come back to a neutral baseline. This takes continous patience, practice discipline...and self-compassion.
Here are some tips that Sharon Salzberg, a Metta (Loving Kindness) Mindfulness Teacher offers, that can guide our heartful practice with compassion for ourselves and others. I have adapted the words a bit that feels right for me, but also feel free to modify the words in any way that is more comfortable or lands more easily for you.
This is called a Loving-Kindness or Metta Meditation ~
If we can find 10-15 minutes (or longer) to practice the following, we may notice after doing the practice for awhile that certain boundaries we have developed within and between us and another, may slowly dissolve (i.e. age, gender, abilities, disabilities, ethnicity, religion, political stand, socio-economic status, belief systems/deep conditionings, etc.):
Find a quiet space.
Close your eyes.
Take a few intentional deep breaths.
You may want to put one hand over your heart.
Repeat with as much heartful "feeling" as you imagine yourself and another:
1. May I/You/The World feel HAPPY and filled with LOVING PRESENCE
2. May I/You/The World feel SAFE and PROTECTED from harm
3. May I/You/The World inhabit natural and enduring PEACE
4. May I/Your/The World's HEART AWAKEN AND BE FREE FROM SUFFERING
Now and Always...
Author: Nina Bhatty
If you find this article and practice to help you, please feel free to note your comments or questions below - I'd love to hear what the experience is like for you!