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Heart Meditation


The Heart Meditation comes from the Buddhist Master Atisha,
and the particular form of the practice that we use here was created by Arjuna Ardagh.

It is based on the same principles as the Buddhist practice of Tonglen.
It cultivates our capacity to stay rooted in a more expansive self,
without clinging to or resisting what we experience.
Through the Heart Meditation, we taste the power of the open heart.

You can practice this meditation with eyes closed and once you learn it,
you can bring it with you throughout your day
as you interact with others.
It is a practical tool to keep your heart open
in the midst of any experience.

:: Written instructions for the Heart Meditation

Allow your breath to move gently in and out of the middle of your chest, enlivening the center of the chest.

Imagine that there is an open window in the middle of your chest, an open window into the vast sky of the heart, an open window into consciousness.

As the in-breath moves through the open window of your heart, you can breathe in whatever is here in this moment, allowing it to dissolve back into the source of all. If you’re noticing thoughts, allow them to ride the in-breath, to be absorbed into the open window of the heart and to dissolve back into the vast sky of consciousness as a drop dissolving back into the ocean.

You can allow this quality of presence and love to ride on the out-breath and to bless the world around you. You can do the same with feelings and body sensations. Allow them all to ride on the in-breath and to be absorbed back into the open window of the heart, dissolving into the source of all. On the out-breath, allow blessings to ride out, blessing your surroundings.

As this becomes easier and more natural for you to do, you can now expand your awareness to include other people’s feelings and thoughts and body sensations, absorbing them all in through the open window of your heart and allowing blessings to ride on the out-breath.

Keep on expanding, breathing in all suffering, all pain and all misunderstanding, just breathing it into the alchemy of the heart, allowing it all to be transformed, and breathing out blessings.

You can even expand your awareness to include the whole earth, starting with your town, country, and continent and expanding until you can feel the whole earth and all beings from all times with their hopes and dreams, joys and sorrows, fear and anger; and just breath it all in. Then breathe out blessings.

You can do this for a short time in the morning or evening, but it is also a way of meeting each moment.