The heart chakra, or anahata, represents the center of love, compassion, empathy and forgiveness. A healthy alignment of heart chakra will make us feel surrounded by love, compassion and joy. We are open to all experiences in life. We can see all the goodness and love around us. We can truly accept and connect to ourselves and others.
On the other hand, a blocked heart chakra will bring dysfunctional relationships in which the person may find it hard to develop and keep healthy relationships with oneself and others. Other signs of the heart chakra being blocked include excessive social isolation, frequent feelings of loneliness and jealousy, being overly defensive and difficulty in trusting others.
Keeping a balanced chakra is important for our physical and mental well-being. To balance the heart chakra, we can practise chest-opening yoga poses such as camel pose (Ushtrasana) and upward bow pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana). On a daily basis, we can also practise gratitude and meditation to change our mental habits. In this blog, I would like to share with you the loving kindness meditation exercise that I have learnt from the book “Search Inside Yourself” written by Chade-Meng Tan.
Just like me and loving kindness meditation
(adapted from “Search Inside Yourself”)
- Sit in a comfortable position. Start with 2 minutes to rest the mind on the breath.
- Bring to mind somebody you care about. Visualize him or her.
- Begin “Just like me” meditation on this person as the object:
This person has a body and a mind, just like me.
This person has feelings, emotions and thoughts, just like me.
This person has experienced sadness, disappointment, anger or confusion before, just like me.
This person has suffered physical and emotional pain before, just like me.
This person wishes to be free from pain and suffering, just like me.
This person wishes to be healthy and loved, and to have fulfilling relationships, just like me.
This person wishes to be happy, just like me.
Now, practise loving kindness by allowing some wishes to arise:
I wish for this person to have the strength, the resources, and the emotional and social support to navigate the difficulties in life.
I wish for this person to be free from pain and suffering.
I wish for this person to be happy.
Because this person is a fellow human being, just like me.
Now, I wish for everybody I know to be happy.
End with 1 minute of resting the mind.
This practice is useful to heal relationships in any situation. I like to use this practice to manage my relationships in life. For this to work, I have also consciously made some changes in my mental habits.
- Choose kindness
Remind myself I have the choice to become a kind person. When you give people kindness, it is more likely for you to receive kindness from others. I choose to be kind because I want to make the world a better place to live. There is no need to judge or harm others. Everyone has their own struggles and difficulties in life. We come to the world to help each other grow to become a better and kinder person.
- Surrender your ego
When interacting with people, I always remind myself to put away the ‘self’. Forget our ego, our interests and even our own problems. Instead, choose to focus the attention on the person in front of us, listen to understand them, talk to offer our empathy and kindness to them.
- Practise gratitude
Remind myself to be grateful for every person I have met and every experience that has occurred in my life. Without the rain, I wouldn’t have learnt to appreciate the sun. Learn to see the goodness in every person and experience. The unpleasant people or experience are there to teach us life lessons, to serve as a mirror for ourselves and more importantly, to help evolve ourselves to become a better person.
- Success from other people only shows us what is possible
Jealousy is one of the sins that prevent us from attaining happiness in life. Do not get jealous over other people’s success because each of us has the opportunity to rise and shine in our fields by hard work and determination. Other people’s success only shows us what is possible within us. This is something to inspire us and to motivate us.
Lastly, it takes time to transform our mental habits. As long as we are willing to take the first step to change, be aware of each of our thoughts, actions and words, we will slowly evolve to become a better person.