chakras, Living from the Heart

8 Simple Heart Opening Tips

Anahata chakra, the heart center, is the fourth energy point, located at the center of the seven main chakras in yogic philosophy. It unites the three lower chakras with the three upper points.

Anahata means “unstruck” in Sanskrit. Its color is green, its element is air, and its sense is touch. The core issues at this point are related to love, friendship, kindness, generosity, gratitude, and compassion. The challenges here include ill will, envy, jealousy, selfishness, greed, and pity. Grief is the experience of love lost, the inevitable shadow side of the heart.

At present, pretty much every single one of us on the planet could benefit from opening and healing our heart chakra. May these suggestions be of benefit.

1. Love your parents.

The Buddha’s teachings are quite clear on this point:

“Even if one should carry about one’s mother on one shoulder and one’s father on the other, and so doing should live a hundred years…Moreover, if one should set them up as supreme rulers, having absolute rule over the wide earth abounding in the seven treasures—not even by this could one repay one’s parents. And why! Bhikkhus, parents do a lot for their children: they bring them up, provide them with food, introduce them to the world. ~ Anguttara Nikaya

For some, love for our parents comes naturally. We can easily send them metta (loving-kindness), wishing that they may be safe, happy, healthy, peaceful, and free. If you do not feel this immense love for your mother and father, work with forgiveness. Being able to truly love and care for these special beings is a foundation of healing for our wounded hearts.

2. Cherish the temple of your body.

Self-care is quite the buzz word of late. In the rush of life, caring about others, about work, about politics, about attainment of possessions and status can overshadow the essential importance of authentically loving ourselves. Loving the self means being mindful of what we are putting into our bodies and minds. It also means loving our shape and size in this moment and knowing our skin and our faces are beautiful, unique, and worthy of our love.

3. Do what you love; love what you do.

It’s a cliche for a reason—when we act from the heart and do the work that our heart feels most passionate about, we are happiest and most productive. Of course, what we love naturally changes and fluctuates over time.

A personal example: During my 10-year career as a schoolteacher, I felt great love for my students and loved sharing my knowledge of the world, language, and literature with them. Over the years, that love faded away and was replaced by anger at the oppressive system of traditional classrooms. I no longer loved what I did, so I found something else to do—something that feeds my love for writing, yoga, and helping others. The evolution is ever in process. Check in with your heart each day, do what you love, and let your inner light shine forth!

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