This article will be presented in 4 or 5 different instalments, this being the first. It was first printed in the British Wheel of Yoga regional magazine for the north east of England.
One of the key stages of the spiritual path – that path which leads to the awakening of our innate fulfillment, joy and purpose in life - is that of opening the heart space Defined in Sanskrit as the Hridayakash, or Anahata Chakra, the heart space is the midpoint between our instinctual nature and the full flowering of our awakening nature.
The opening of the heart gifts us with a more open and trusting relationship with life. Whilst we often feel separate, even isolated, from life around us, a maturing of the heart space brings the recognition, however dim initially, that we are innately connected to life as a wave to the Ocean. Furthermore the Ocean of Life itself has always, and will always, sustain and support us as individual and transient waves.
Yet our experience of life can, no doubt, feel very different. The heart space is often blocked due to all our unresolved conflicts, hurts and traumas in life. It is natural and healthy to temporarily close down the heart space to protect us from a difficult or painful emotional issue: however the ongoing closure of the heart, even when the original pain is long gone, creates energetic blockages. It is like a heavy suit of armour which, though at one time was very necessary to protect us, we still subconsciously wear even in the absence of any threat to us in the present. And we wonder why we feel heavy, burdened and lacking spontaneity! It is only when we remove this armour that we suddenly realize how much lighter, freer and spontaneous we can be – our natural authentic state.
Removing the armour however takes courage. It can be scary to let go of our defenses and we can feel vulnerable initially. So often we need to feel in a safe place, and/or with people we trust, before we can really explore letting go of such habitual defenses. Yet such letting go is absolutely fundamental to the genuine healing and deepening of our heart and our path in life.
Future installments of this article will explore practical ways in which we can begin to open the heart space – qualities such as spaciousness, acceptance, appreciation, generosity, gratitude and self-empowerment – and how these open us to a very different relationship with life; one based on giving and receiving, trusting and opening to the joy and wisdom of our innate Being.
The Anahata Chakra is the symbol of Mandala Yoga Ashram which runs residential yoga courses to convey the authentic, inspiring and timeless teachings of yoga and spiritual life.