“There is a light that shines beyond the world, beyond everything, beyond all, beyond the highest heaven. This is the light that shines within your heart.”— Upanishads
The heart chakra IS the heart of the matter.
The fourth of the seven chakras, the heart chakra is located in the center of your chest. There are three chakras below the heart center, which work with the energies of the earth—your ability to stay grounded, to know your body and physical senses, and to work with your sense of self. There are three chakras above the heart center, which work with the energies of the “heavens”—your communication and expression, your “third eye” abilities to connect with the invisible forces around you, and the crown of your connection with Source. And right there in the middle is the heart chakra, which has to mediate between heaven and earth.
The heart chakra is known as Anahata in Sanskrit. The word anahata means “unhurt, un-struck, and unbeaten.” Imagine feeling like nothing can hurt you, nothing negative is coming at you, and you are on top of all situations in your life. Imagine being able to love unconditionally! That is the provenance of the heart chakra.
You don’t have to think of the heart center in Hindu terms. Tibetan Buddhists call this energy center the “heart wheel,” and consider it very important in meditation. When you recite a mantra, first it is heard verbally, then mentally, and finally inside of the heart. Later, the practitioner drops into the central channel at the level of the heart to experience the Yoga of Clear Light.
In Kabbalah, the center of the Tree of Life is associated with the heart region. Christian Kabbalists associate this area with Jesus and with healing. Sufis, the mystics of Islam, talk about the Sirr—the secret, innermost heart of the heart, where Allah manifests his mystery to Himself. In the Chinese system of Qigong, the heart region is call the dantian, the “furnace” that transforms the qi energy into shen, spirit energy.
When you work to clear and balance your fourth chakra, you grow spiritually. It is in the heart that you can come into universal love and dissolve the illusion of separateness. It is here you can heal, both emotionally and physically. It is when you open your heart to love so you can forgive yourself and others, connect deeply to others, rise above the lower emotions of anger, hatred, and envy, and rise to a higher state of consciousness. It is in the heart center that you experience peace and deep inner balance.
A balanced heart chakra is beautiful. It is the center of compassion, altruism, devotion, and the ability to accept that all the circumstances of your life are within the divine order.
However, most of us have built walls around our heart chakra to protect ourselves from getting hurt again. A blocked heart chakra can make you feel defensive, or you may be critical, controlling, withdrawn, or afraid of letting go. You are likely to feel lonely, and think of others as being separate from you. Your life may be full of suffering.
So how can you open your heart and bring that center into balance? Here are 9 ways:
1. Get out in nature. The color of the heart center is green. Let the green of nature start the process of healing for you.
2. Before you meditate visualize green light filling and surrounding your heart center.
3. Allow yourself to receive love, including loving yourself!
4. Love others unselfishly, not demanding anything in return.
5. Be thankful. Gratitude is a great way to stop finding fault in everyone around you.
6. Learn to forgive. A lot of heart chakra blockage is caused by not letting go of past hurts.
7. Move your body. Try a practice like yoga or tai chi to gently let go of stiffness and open your heart center.
8. Work with a compassionate and proficient therapist to deal with relationships that need healing and with releasing deep emotional wounds.
9. Use affirmations such as: “I am loved,” “I give and receive love freely” and “I am connected to everything in the universe.”
As you do the practices and meditations that are designed to help you open your heart, your ability to love grows. You go beyond what we think of as love (the affection and warmth we feel for someone) to unconditional love (love as a force that comes through you and has no attachment) and on to universal love, where you understand that love is the Source of your own being. You will be a more caring and joyous individual.