When our anahata or heart chakra is open and receptive we are in the world in a loving and compassionate manner. Love is not oriented only towards specific objects, but feeling love towards everything we encounter – it is a state of being that is felt within us. We do not need anything from this love but to feel it, receive it, and give it.
The sun is the symbol of the heart chakra, for the sun nurtures all living things on earth. The sun radiates continuously in all directions and does not discriminate in any way. If we can begin to look at our own heart as the sun, and allow it to radiate continuously without discrimination we will begin to fully live and understand love. One of my teachers had once told me, you don’t have to like everyone, but you do have to love everyone. When I first heard this I thought she was crazy, but as I practiced offering love to everyone and not discriminating I began to better understand what she meant. There is a Buddhist meditation practice that guides you to this connection with love. This type of meditation is called meta bhavana or loving-kindness.
Loving-kindness is love without clinging and a practice of self-psychotherapy. During the practice you begin to cultivate feelings of love towards yourself, then towards your loved ones, then towards friends, strangers, and finally enemies. Systematically offering love, friendliness, compassion, joy, and equanimity to yourself and so on. Some ways for your to bring up feelings of loving-kindness are visualization, reflection, or auditory. Visualization allows you to bring up a mental picture of the person, seeing yourself or other person, and smiling or being joyous. Through reflection you think of positive qualities of the person and any acts of kindness they have done. The last approach is auditory, and possibly the easiest, simply repeat and internalize the mantra ‘loving-kindness’ as you move through yourself and the other people in your meditation.
The loving-kindness meditation doesn’t have to be just done at home when you are alone. When you are out on the streets continue to repeat the visualizations, kind reflections, or mantra in order to cultivate the feeling of loving-kindness within. As it grows stronger within you it will emanate out to those around you.
Practice yoga at home with the Online Yoga Studio. Videos this week are all about the anahata (heart) chakra. Move gently with a restorative yoga practice, explore alternate nostril breathing, cultivate loving kindness with meditation, and live light with a short video on love vs fear.
Live Light Practice:
Sit in meditation for 20 minutes repeating to yourself:
may all beings be happy
may all beings be well
may all beings be safe
may all beings be peaceful and at ease