When you think of your heart, what comes to mind? What comes into focus?
When you feel into your heart, what arises?
The heart is our main sensory organ. It takes in, interprets, and moves the information carried upon sensation (or the raw data) that we receive and put into the world. The heart area, including the lungs, is a major gateway that holds both our internal and external ways of being.
In the chakra system, this energetic center is shown as a six-pointed blue star. An upward pointed triangle superimposed on a downward pointed one (or vice versa). This shows the heart as the mid-way point between the upper chakras (the mind and connection to all or source) and the lower ones (our foundation, root, and emotions).
This image is not meant to be flat or one-dimensional but multi-dimensional as the exchange between the top part and bottom part of our bodies and energies is not the only way the heart processes information and keeps things flowing, but it is always taking in and putting out energy and sensations that we move through in the physical world and in our relationships (with Self and others).
If I’m feeling the sensation of anger, then I’m also putting that out, through my heart-field into the area around me. Feeling angry, of course, is totally fine. The thing I’ve had to learn is that others can sense this. So if I don’t also match up to what I’m emitting by sharing with them how I’m feeling (if appropriate) then mass confusion follows. We put our hearts out into the world around us, whether we are aware of it or not.
The more we can become aware of the sensations in the heart and what to do with them, the more choice and possibility we have. The more awareness of how we interact with another heart and being.
Since one of the main ways we interrelate with others is through the heart, it makes sense that this space is also where we experience and express grief. Grief can, of course, be stored in many places of the body (the stomach for instance, if we don’t want to assimilate or digest our grief) but the heart often gets stuck in a cycle or moment of grieving. You can see this in a body by a perpetual rounding of the shoulders, a caving in of the heart. Protection.
When something to grieve happens, the heart and physical body respond by creating a cavern in which to hold the heart. To hide it for a time, so it can do the work of processing all that raw information or data of grief. The feeling of it.
If we avoid feeling, then the emotion gets stuck in the heart. We might start to avoid feeling and, avoid the heart. Avoid allowing the heart to feel other sensations other than the one within which we are stuck. This then begins to limit relationships and the full potential of this heart space to feel. To let the emotions move through and, to remain or return to a place where the heart is balanced and open. Ready to receive more.
When the heart becomes congested, energetically, often energy floods to the head or the lower half of the body. The circuit of energy no longer connects the upper and lower parts of us. This severance may be fine and may serve you in ways to survive and cope with life. You may even thrive. There is, however, a natural tendency for the body to want to connect with its whole self. To allow the energy to move through. When we can tend to this connection and let things we may not want to sense or feel be sensed and felt, then the whole body and whole being starts to participate differently in life. We start to learn that we have more resilience. We can tolerate and get through even those most difficult times and feelings.
Since the heart thrives in sensation, it’s also a place that we can sense from and a place that we can plant new sensations such as gratitude. To do this, you might imagine or feel gratitude in your heart. This is not a way to get around or bypass other, potentially more difficult emotions, but is a way to allow a multitude of ways of feeling and being to grow. For example, if the heart is used to feeling pain and attaches to it exclusively, other emotions, like joy, may not have as much of a foothold and need to be trained into the heart so that we can move from one state to another authentically and not get stuck in one way of feeling or being.
This is all done through embodying sensation. Working intimately with your own heart, what it has been conditioned to do and how to work to add new ways of feeling and sensing into this special organ. As my heart has adapted, I notice I treat myself differently. I also notice, I’ve attracted other heart-centered people into my life. People who understand (whether they know they’re doing it or not) how to work with and from this center.
There is, of course, much more to this than I can write about here. What feels the most important is that you have ways to explore this for yourself. If you’re curious to explore what your heart holds, there are several ways to do so. Some that I can offer are a mini workshop on the heart chakra (including physical balancing of this center and a short visualization to sense from the heart) which is posted above, or my Loving Kindness for Everyday Life book and meditations (both Loving Kindness and Heart Connection).
Violet and Hawthorn are two plant allies that also help work with the heart in different ways. Violet helps you find ease in your heart, especially when you are working with grief (of any kind) and Hawthorn helps with both physical heart health and encourages you to follow your heart’s path (including the magic you have within). Find your way with these plant friends in Dreaming with Violet and Dreaming with Hawthorn both available as eBooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks.
In my experience, the more we can connect with our hearts, the more connection we have with co-creating life. The less life happens to us and, instead, we find ways to step into the fray and emerge with love, experience, and understanding. Connecting with the heart is where wisdom and authenticity reside.
Happy exploring, intrepid heart-traveler!