This post centers you in your heart, so you reap the benefits of moving to, focusing in, creating with, and expressing from your heart.

Not surprisingly, as I am attending more these days to aspects of heart-centered living, more appears in my life to bring forth salient points about the benefits of this way of living life. Three examples have shown up this week, in a book I read called The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Dr. Amit Sood, an Institute of HeartMath article, “The Energetic Heart: Bioelectromagnetic Communication Within and Between People”, and a Forum evening program at Landmark Education. I summarize below the teachings from these examples, and then add practices for you to choose from for your own heart-centered living.

Dr. Sood’s book speaks about two brain modes, default and focused. We spend most of our time in the default, meaning the wandering mind, the open files of the unresolved past and uncertain future, filled with negative judgments and habitual patterns of thinking. The focused mode is when we attend to the present world, appreciating novelty and meaning and intentionally choosing adaptive thoughts. In this mode we practice joyful and kind attention, where “the world is a flower” (I see Maa here slowly unfolding and extending petals of a rose). In addition to rewiring the brain to the focused mode through attention, we also refine our interpretations from the negative of our biases to the positive of practicing five core principles of gratitude, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, and higher meaning. I offer related practices at the end of this column.

The HeartMath article speaks to the electromagnetic energy originating in our heart, where the electrical field of the heart measured through an ECG is 60 times the amplitude of brain waves measured through an EEG. The research examines the impact of the energy from our heart and associated emotions on other people, and what shows up in their brain waves from our heart. Right now as you read this, imagine, feel and radiate the power of your heart, realizing the field you create when you focus there with your breath, breathing in and from your heart.

The Landmark program, although not directly speaking about the heart (“love” was mentioned however by the Forum leader), participants shared with their guests the possibilities they’re creating for themselves and their relationships. From my perspective, although language-centered, these statements radiated the field of energy of the heart, love, as each person expressed their possibilities.

Now I offer you some practices for heart-centered living in your life. Choose, repeat, move from one to another, whatever resonates in your heart, whatever works for you in order for you to live more often in and from your heart.

  • First thing in the morning, breathe through your nose and in your heart, let the breath come from your heart as you breathe. Appreciate your breath and heartbeat. Be grateful that you are awake and living another day. Be grateful for 3 people or things in your life, recognizing what you are receiving from the presence of whoever/whatever you are grateful for.
  • As Dr. Sood writes, during the day be aware of how you are being with people, and focus upon the 4 A’s (attention, appreciation, admiration, affection). I leave to you the details of this practice.
  • Look at five people/things during a day practicing “the world is a flower”, noticing specific qualities, aspects, forms, energies. For example, practice this novelty focus with nature, your environment, a loved one, your meal as you eat it (appreciating how the food got to you, who was involved in growing it, or cooking it, or delivering it).
  • Notice if your brow is furrowed, or your jaw is tight, your teeth clenched, your neck aching, your shoulders raised or hunched. Breathe into those areas, accept everything about yourself, be tender and care for yourself, continuing to breathe in your heart as you relax. Then massage your brow and smile. Notice the effect of your smile on your body, including your heart.
  • Picture what you love doing, who you love being with, what stirs up your passion and fulfills you (whether you actually do this or are with the person physically or not). Combine your images, visualization, with breathing in your heart and notice the results.
  • Remind yourself about your heart throughout the day by touching it with both hands as you breathe slowly there. Choose a word to say to yourself as you practice this, for example, “Maa”, “Mother”, “my soul”, “Higher Self”, “I Am”, “Presence”, “caring”, “tenderness”, “love”, “compassion”, “acceptance”, “forgiveness”, whatever comes to you as you focus and breathe in your heart.
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