February is the month when we consciously review what touches our hearts. The heart is the central place where we learn about love and what is truly meaningful for us. When we are at home in our hearts, love and gratefulness always increase.
Who have been the teachers of your heart in the past? What are you currently learning about love?
Want to open your heart and expand your capacity for love and gratitude? Read on! ❤️
HAND ON HEART EXERCISE
Simply place your hand on your heart and breathe gently into your heart center. Feel the warmth spreading between your palm and your chest. If you wish, breathe in a sense of ease or safety into your heart. Then remember one moment, just one moment, when you felt safe, loved and cherished by another person. Not the entire relationship, just one moment. This could be a friend, a child, a therapist; it could be a spiritual figure; it could be a pet. Let yourself feel the feeling of that moment, let the feeling wash through your body, and try to stay there for 20 or 30 seconds.
When we do this exercise, the warm, safe touch of our hand on our heart center begins to activate the release of Oxytocin, the brain’s hormone of calm and connection, bonding and belonging. Warm, safe touch anywhere that feels comfortable on our body can release Oxytocin, but there are neural cells around the heart that communicate directly with the brain and more quickly begin the activation of the release.
How do you feel? Physical … Blood pressure goes down, heart rate stabilizes, the walls of your arteries soften, there’s a slowing down. Emotional … This is how LOVE feels.
And you don’t even need anyone else to give it to you! You have an unending capacity to give yourself love and to activate this physical contentment in your own body. Whenever You Need It!
LOVING KINDNESS PRACTICE BY JACK KORNFIELD
Through the words I say try to develop the feeling, the spirit, the thoughts of lovingkindness for yourself.
May I be filled with lovingkindness
May my heart open with kindness & peace
You deserve it – all beings do
May I be filled with the spirit of lovingkindness
May I be peaceful
Feel a compassion for yourself – for your struggles & sorrows.
May my heart open & may I touch this sorrow with compassion & lovingkindness
Now think of someone you love a lot. Bring them in & share the feeling. May they too be filled with loving kindness. May their hearts open, be happy. Feel a compassion for their sorrows & struggles. Feel how much you love them. And would help them. May they be filled with lovingkindness & peace.
Let another person or two into your heart that you love.
Let it grow bigger.
May they be happy and their hearts open.
Let yourself open further. Let in all your friends, people you love. May they all come into your heart. May they all be happy & filled with lovingkindness.
Let it grow further. Let that spirit fill the room. Let there be a field of loving kindness so that all lives can be received with this heart – open, compassionate, loving & free.
Feel it get bigger than the room. Let it grow in every direction. In front, behind. To the left & to the right. Above & below. Fill the whole of the earth as if you could cover the earth with your feelings of lovingkindness.
Picture the earth as a ball that you could take into your arms & heart. All of the oceans & continents & the multitude of beings – the whales, fishes, birds, insects, the trees, the jungles, deserts, the people. Hold that earth with the heart of lovingkindness and compassion.
May all beings be touched by the heart of lovingkindness. May all beings, those newly born, those in pleasure, those struggling in sorrow, those dying, those in between. May every creature & being be touched & opened and healed by the force of lovingkindness and compassion.
And may the power of our heart & our goodness & our love bring that light to the world and bring freedom to our lives & those of all beings.
Photo by Ata Kando