The heart center Oh, the heart--an amazingly loyal organ whose steady beat reminds us we are alive. However, when we say, “follow your heart” or “open your heart,” we’re no longer referring to the physical heart. Rather, we are perceiving the energetic heart center that is located in the area of the chest. If you are familiar with the eastern chakra system, the heart center is known as the fourth chakra or heart chakra.
The heart chakra is the center of compassion, love, and connection to self and others. Self-connection is a prerequisite for intuitive awareness, so if you want to grow your intuition, growing your heart connection is a good place to begin.
The heart is sensitive—it feels deeply and these feelings carry information. At the same time the heart is strong and associated with courage and bravery. As a result, open-hearted self-connection allows you to be intuitive, strong, and loving.
What does an open-hearted person look like? We may associate an open heart with feelings of joy, happiness, playfulness, and fun. While all of these are true and wonderful, there is much more. A person who is committed to living with an open heart will also experience painful feelings, because when the heart is open it’s feeling all that happens in the moment. The more open you are, the more you will feel.
The heart governs our abilities of acceptance, connection, and compassion. So the heart’s role is to enable acceptance of all experiences. All heart-based feelings have value and purpose.
An open-hearted person may look kind and gentle in one situation, but fierce and determined in another. Having an open heart does not make you a push over. Quite the opposite, heart connection gives you access to your personal truth and the resources to manifest it in the world.
Think of leaders who have changed the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my favorite examples. The path he walked, the commitments he made, and the strength they required were fueled by deep connection to his truth at the heart level. To truly manifest your purpose and your full expression in the world requires your heart. We express this intuitively when we say things like “it’s not for the faint of heart.”
When we are struggling to be decisive and when choices are difficult and unclear, we are told, “follow your heart.” When you are learning to open and follow your heart, it helps to learn how to physically connect to and experience your energetic heart in your body. Try these steps to practice.
Heart Connection Meditation
Sit quietly. Take several deep breaths to relax your body. Close your eyes.
Focus your attention on your heart center: the area of your chest behind your sternum.
Follow each breathe into your lungs, allowing the breath to soften and awaken your heart center.
Continue this focused breathing for one to five minutes. Allow your heart to open to yourself as much as you are ready to at this time. Gently notice the sensations and emotions, noticing and letting go of any judgment that might come up.
End with a smile to yourself. Then go say hello to a friend, neighbor, or loved one.