All healing traditions recognize the crucial role of the heart in sustaining life and energizing the body. You cannot survive long without a properly functioning heart. And you cannot live your most fulfilling life without opening your heart to connection with yourself and others.
To give of yourself requires patience, compassion, and kindness. Living your life from a place of unconditional kindness, for yourself and others, is a key element of managing stress and finding true meaning in your connections and work. When you act with kindness and compassion, you can give to others and share your true gifts.
Open Your Heart Chakra for Greater Love and Compassion
The heart is a crucial energy center in the body where many physical and energetic pathways intersect and interact. This confluence of influences makes the heart impacted by and capable of affecting many other aspects of the body and health.
The fourth or heart chakra sits at the center of the seven chakras. The Sanskrit name for the heart chakra is Anahata, meaning “unhurt” or “unstuck.” This is an area where physical and spiritual meet, balancing the world of matter with the world of spirit. Beneath our suffering and hurt lies boundless compassion and love. Opening and balancing your heart chakra allows past grievances to be released so that you can open up a place of pure compassion where no hurt exists.
When you let go of hurt feelings from your past, you begin to open up your heart and find an expanded space in which you can step into compassion and kindness. Kindness is an energy that connects you to each other. Compassion enhances your connections with yourself, with those you interact with, and with the world around you. As you approach life without judgment toward yourself or others, you will notice that there is a shift in your perception and experience of life.
A Guided Mindfulness Exercise for Choosing Self-Compassion Over Struggle
Make kindness—toward yourself and others—a daily habit! Use this meditation to open up your heart and build kindness in your life through cultivating self-compassion and giving of your authentic self. As you look within and take time for self-observation, energize your heart center and connect with your creativity, self-expression, and compassion.
- Find a space and time where you can be uninterrupted and give this time to yourself without distractions.
- Recall a situation in your life that is challenging or difficult and causing you hurt or stress. Close your eyes and bring this situation to mind. Feel the struggle, distress, and emotional discomfort in your body.
- Become aware that this is a moment of struggle or discomfort. You may acknowledge that this moment hurts, is stressful, or is painful. You may even speak out loud, "ouch" or "this hurts" or "I am in pain."
- Recognize that stress, struggle, and experiences of suffering are part of life that link you in your humanity but don't have to overwhelm you. Remember that you are not alone; that all people struggle in their lives; and that suffering does not mean you are less worthy, bad, being punished, or alone.
- With your eyes closed, place your hands over your heart. Take a few deep breaths and relax any tension you are holding in your body. As you exhale, feel that stress dispersing and leaving your body. Feel the gentle touch and warmth of your hands resting on your chest. Feel a warm, comforting, kind light building in your hands and spreading to your heart. Give this healing to yourself. Allow this gentle, healing energy to flow from you and to you, spreading to your whole body and bringing calm and healing where it is needed.
- Ask yourself what you need to hear and feel right now to give kindness to yourself. Say to yourself, "May I be kind to myself." Speak the phrases that feel most aligned with your particular situation, such as:
- "May I forgive myself."
- "May I be strong."
- "May I be compassionate to myself."
- "May I learn from my experiences."
- "May I accept myself as I am in this moment."
- "May I be patient."
- "May I give myself the kindness and compassion that I need."
Use this exercise inspired by The Whole Cure when you feel overwhelmed, despondent, stressed out, or stuck in struggle. Allow it to raise your mindfulness in the situation and to evoke self-compassion when you need it the most.
You will find that with regular practice, you can clear away any blocks and open your heart chakra to experience more love, compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude. As your heart chakra energy becomes more balanced, you will feel peaceful and more deeply connected to yourself and others. Getting in touch with your heart center and opening up your heart allows you to listen more deeply to your true inner knowing and connect to the flow of life that is always there.