In the yogic path the heart is described as the Anahata chakra. This chakra is the meeting point where physical and spiritual meet. The Sanskrit word Anahata means “unstruck, unhurt or unbeaten”. The name implies that underneath how much hurt and grievances of the past experiences, lays a pure and spiritual place where only love exists.
Many of us feel or think we understand the concept of the Anahata chakra but often find ourselves wondering how to “unlock” the heart in order to live from a place of love. In my sentiment our hearts have never been locked and can never be locked. Because love is free. Love is our essence, spirit, soul, and place of origin. And as such, our heart is always open, just waiting to be recognized and embraced so it can become our guide and existence in this human experience.
Now that we have set the path to “unlocking” our hearts straight, we can start to acknowledge our essence and stop searching for a way to unlock it. So, the real question is how do we acknowledge our essence in order to live from it?
Here are 7 simple ways to start recognizing ourselves and start living from the heart:
Feeling grateful for our life and all that it contains is one of the most important ways to recognize our spirit. When we practice gratitude we tell our heart “I see you, I understand you and I love you”. I recommend practicing gratitude on a daily basis. Take a few minutes every day and remind yourself what you are grateful for. The trick to this exercise is to not only say it or think about it, but to connect with the feeling of love this brings in your life. There is no coincidence that gratitude is the key to abundance.
The word responsibility simply states the ability to respond. When we respond we do it from love because we take our time to observe and then take action. Reacting comes from fear, we do it without any kind of acknowledgement of the situation. To become responsible in life one must first face the fact that we have been playing the role of the victim most of our lives. But more importantly we have to embrace that we are the creators of our lives and this means we can rewrite our stories as many times as we want. A victim is in the darkness and believes he/she does not have any saying in his/her life. A hero in the other hand, is fully aware that he/she is the creator of his/her life and that darkness is an opportunity to step into the light. We should become the hero of our story in order to live from the heart.
When we start living with simplicity as our guide, we are able to let go of unnecessary drama, creating a more balanced and peaceful life. Our tendency is to complicate everything but when we live from this place we go on reacting instead of responding, meaning we live from fear instead of love. When you catch yourself complicating things, making excuses or walking in circles, let it be a reminder that your heart is asking you to go back to simplicity and live from your place of origin. May your life mantra be “slow and quiet”.
“Trust is something that must start with you. The essence of trust is truth, which is honesty with self.” This is why trust is essential for love living. When we get to know ourselves we are then able to trust. But to have trust in ourselves we must learn to listen first, because our task here is to get to know our essence. And when we trust we live in the moment, surrendering to the unknown, trusting that no matter what, everything will be ok. Trusting brings us back to our essence and when we are in it, we are living through the heart.
5. Move it
“Let your prayers be your actions”. We are ever flowing energy and as such we need movement to put are prayers into action. Movement is a full body expression of love; it is essential when living from the heart. It creates a path to go deeper with spirit. Movements like dancing and asanas are older than civilizations, our ancestors knew it and practiced them in their healing rituals to connect with the source. In the yogic path, we practice asanas (postures) to move our energy in deeper levels to heal and live from the heart. Chest openers, like Ustrasana, the camel pose, Marjaryasana, the cat pose and Matsyasana, the fish pose are some of the asanas utilized for the heart chakra. Another way of healing and expressing ourselves is through dance. I love this quote by Gabrielle Roth, because it expresses what dancing can do for us; “We dance to fall in love with the spirit in all things, to wipe out memory or transform it into moves that nobody else can make because they didn’t live it. We dance to hook up to the true genius lurking behind all the bullshit — to seek refuge in our originality and our power to reinvent ourselves; to shed the past, forget the future and fall into the moment feet first.” And let us not forget about hugs and smiles, they’re also movements, actions that we should share more often, as they bring love to all. Movement is the companion that can be felt in many ways, letting us shed what is no longer needed, creating love and bringing us back into the present moment.
Life is Breath and Breath is Spirit, in its elemental expression, air. We take for granted breathing, probably because it is something we do automatically. But breathing is the physical connection we have to spirit. We can’t see spirit and we can’t see breath, but we can feel it both and more than that, we can’t live without them, as they are one. In the yogic way, Pranayama is the art of breathing, it teaches us how to consciously connect to it and how to breath in a deeper more meaningful way so we can heal and move closer to love. There are many other techniques out there like the famous Art of Breathing by Nancy Zi. I bring this up because no matter what techniques you practice, they all have the same purpose, to help us heal by connecting through spirit. I believe that “When we breathe everything changes”. Taking the time to connect and focus on your breath is one of the ultimate expressions of acknowledgement to your spirit and its home, the heart.
To listen we must first become silent. Meditation is the gateway to recognize that our heart has a voice. When we choose to be in silence we choose to listen to spirit. Listening to our hearts is the highest expression of acknowledgement towards all that we are. Because in this moment we are weaving all that is by connecting through our highest self, Love. It is in silence that we realize everything we need, we already have. It is in silence that we let our light shine so bright that when we step out and into the chaos, we are able to keep shining through our hearts no matter what. Because in silence we bow to our heart, our spirit and the love that connects it all.
May these 7 simple practices remind you that We are Love, and this means that living from the heart is not something we learn, it is something we should acknowledge and practice daily. Free will has been given to us all and this means we get to choose. So it is our choice to live through love and be true to ourselves, if we desire to. I invite you to celebrate every second of your journey towards the heart where your true self resides. After all we are here to have fun while we experience who we are, LOVE.