Thursday, September 30, 2010

Transforming suffering with the power of the heart

As you may discover when you do the following practice, the heart is a powerful organ indeed. Of course, I’m not referring to the physical heart, but to an energetic center located in the middle of the chest, right near the anatomical heart. Yet the two have an intimate connection, as Dr. Dean Ornish’s work confirms: To heal your heart, you need to open your heart.
By doing this meditation regularly, you can actually develop the capacity to transform your own suffering and the suffering of others into peace, joy, and love. The amazing thing is, the process doesn’t weaken or overwhelm you, as you might fear. Quite the contrary, it helps you develop confidence in the strength and resilience of your own heart and in your ability to touch the lives of others.
If you don’t believe me, give this meditation a try. As soon as you get the knack, practice it regularly for several weeks, and notice what happens. Whether or not the people in your life suffer less (and they may), I can guarantee that you’ll eventually end up feeling more peaceful and loving yourself.
  1. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position, taking a few deep breaths, and meditating in your usual way for a few minutes.
  2. Close your eyes and imagine the most loving and compassionate individuals you’ve ever known or heard about gathered together above your head. If appropriate, include religious or spiritual figures like Jesus, Mohammed, Mother Mary, the Dalai Lama, or your favorite saint or sage.
  3. Imagine that they all merge into one being, who glows and radiates the warmth and light of love and compassion.
  4. Imagine that this being descends into your heart, where it takes the form of a sphere of infinitely radiant, infinitely compassionate light that merges with your own soft spot.

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