I’ve been making Valentine’s with my daughter Gretta who is obsessed with hearts. She is drawn to anything with hearts: heart socks, heart cereal, heart stickers, heart hair clips. Gretta might be one of the most open-hearted and loving people I know, so her affinity to hearts isn’t shocking.
What does being open hearted mean? When you are around someone whose heart is wide open you immediately feel it. They are warm, non-judgmental, approachable. You can connect with them and they see and hear you. Their eyes are bright, and there is an inner glow or radiance that they emit. It feels amazing and magnetic to be in their presence.
All the great spiritual traditions talk about the central importance of the heart. In Chinese medicine, the heart is called “the emperor” and is considered the most important organ in the body. In ancient Egypt the heart was the only organ left inside the body during mummification because the heart was thought to be the center of being. The Judeo-Christian tradition teaches we should guard our heart, as it is the wellspring of life. In yoga philosophy, the heart center is believed to be the seat of our true self and is called “anahata,” which means unstruck or unhurt. Our true self can never be hurt, damaged, or destroyed (even amidst a bad break-up, a devastating loss, a long illness, a period of grief).
Living a heart centered life can be transformative on every level, not only for yourself but for everyone in your midst. Staying connected to the unerring compass that is your heart keeps you tuned into higher wisdom, connected to more love and compassion, and in a state of deeper balance. People also begin to “feel” you differently. The electromagnetic field of our heart is 60 times stronger than our mind, so if your heart is open, people standing in line at the grocery store in your midst feel it, even if unaware. You become a healing force just simply by keeping your heart open. What the world needs now in the midst of these turbulent times, is more people with open hearts, willing to resonant at higher levels of peace and love.
No matter the current state of your heart, opening the heart is a practice, meaning it is available to anyone willing to put in the time. And the most interesting thing about an open heart is that it is not dependent on outside circumstances. An open heart is an inside job.
Some of the ways I practice keeping my heart open are loving kindness meditation, taking 5 deep breaths with my right hand resting over my heart, lying in a restorative heart opener, and practicing this healing the heart meditation. Click on the above links to access these free meditations.
Here’s to more LOVE! Happy Valentine’s Day!