A mindful way to open your heart
When we think of opening our hearts, we associate it with an opening to trust. Using the expression, I opened my heart involves feeling safe about the person I’m opening to. I’m trusting my heart to someone else and accepting the implications that it could bring.
Usually, when we open our hearts to somebody, we are hoping for support and reciprocity. Many people can experience this or the total opposite. So many things can happen that might not match our expectations.
When you love someone, you can experience all sorts of disappointments. It is common for people to feel disappointed when love is reciprocated.
Feeling betrayed, hurt, and wounded by somebody that we care about, can be a challenging situation to be. Keeping all those emotions inside and not letting go of them can keep us unhappy, angry, and hopeless.
In Buddhism, there is a meditation practice that can help with emotional suffering. This practice is called Tonglen.
In this meditation, you use your breath as a mindful tool to release your emotions. When you breathe in your suffering, and you breathe out love and compassion. I have created my simple version of the practice and have added other elements that work for me.
Today I will share a simple and mindful way with you that you can begin to practice open heart meditation.
- Connect with a recent memory of a situation of disappointment. Find an old memory of someone you love, making you feel angry, sad, or unhappy. Pick an event that is not traumatic or that has a deep painful wound. Start with an easy problem to begin to introduce yourself to this open heart practice.
- Visualize yourself in the moment of suffering. Feel the sensations that arise. Notice your emotions and feelings.
- Bring your attention to your breath. Notice the inhalation and exhalation. Visualize your breath starting from the heart. As you breathe in, connect with your suffering.
- Notice your exhalation. As you breathe out, visualize light coming out, go your heart. This light symbolizes love and compassion.
- Keep repeating: Breathing in your suffering and breath out a beautiful light that brings love and compassion.
“Your pain needs to be recognized and acknowledged. It needs to be acknowledged and then released. Avoiding pain is the same as denying it.”
Yong Kang Chan
How do you feel about beginning today a journey of healing your heart?