Healing your heart - The Sound of the Unstruck Bell.

Anahata Chakra, translated to English as ‘the sound of the unstruck bell’ or ‘heart chakra’ is the fourth primary chakra in our energetic body. It is one of the most beautiful and richest chakras and it invites us to dwell in its inexhaustible treasures of feelings and experiences. The location of Anahata is in the chest, upper back and arms known as the heart center.

This is our seat of love.

Anahata Chakra ruled by the Air element regulates our heart, lungs and thymus gland. Take a moment to slowly inhale and then exhale gently and completely. Do this a few times and observe how this can calm, balance and open your heart. Just by noticing the quality of your breathe you can gain insight into the state of your energetic body. When you experience fear, phobia and -isms (racism, ageism, sexism), you slowly suffocate. If the lungs do not work to their full capacity the chest will cave in. Notice the posture around the heart, hunched over and sad or tension in the back body, neck and shoulders. These observations are insightful because as we delve deeper into understanding our energy centers we can self-diagnose, look inward clearly and see the patterns that are stored in our bodies. With this knowledge we can work to resolve and restore balance. As we open the heart chakra all the levels of the body are healed.

One of the ways that we can work with the heart is using yoga posture. Back bending can physically open the heart center. Doing this effectively does not necessarily have to be a big backbend like chakrasana (wheel pose) but can be something as simple as interlacing the hands behind the back, squeezing together the shoulder blades and lifting the heart. Regular and focused physical movement around the chakra can promote change and wellness.

The heart chakra is ruled by the deity Hanuman. Hanuman is the beloved monkey god who is known and loved for his quality as a best friend, a friend who is utterly devoted and will do anything to protect his best friend’s wife. Hanuman also has a great sense of humor and playfulness, but he is also forgetful. We can identify with Hanuman as we too so often forget who we are. But are able to remember and find ourselves when we fall in love, when we open our hearts. This falling in love is not limited to intimate love but can be the falling in love with a purpose or passion and becoming devoted.

Where in life are you passionate and devoted, so much so that you feel you come alive when in service to this passion? When we open our heart, we can experience the memory and the knowing of exactly who we are in our complete manifestation.

The aligning planet with the heart chakra is Venus. This is easy to remember because the goddess of love is Venus. Although here it is important to remember that Anahata chakra is not only about romantic love. In English we only have one word for love, we say ‘I love you’, ‘I love ice-cream’ and ‘I love walking on the beach’, yet clearly each quality of love is very different and complex. The love that truly resonates through Anahata is that of pure and unconditional love.

We find that through heart-ache and struggle often our heart feels broken and closed, but it is the function of the heart to love and the best, most therapeutic and healthiest way for the heart to be is to stay open. Even when our heart is aching, especially in this state, we must strive to stay open.

God breaks the heart again and again, until it remains open.
— Hazrat Inayat Khan

At least once a day, everyday we should strive to open our heart completely. Our heart is not open all the time and sometimes we are afraid but we must overcome that fear and try. An open heart is our path to self-realization, enlightenment and bliss.

But how do we do it?

It is a systematic process and a gentle unfolding of the 12 Lotus petals of the heart. Each petal that opens brings with it a new horizon that will eventually bring us into this leading power that is in our heart.

The perfect awakening of self-realization takes place through the heart.

Apply these practical steps to different areas in your life, others and yourself and see your heart healing, opening and staying open:

1. The first petal we need to open is JOY. When we have found joy in our hearts and mind the other petals begin to move as the potential for opening is there. The precursor to joy is gratitude.

2. The second petal to open will be PEACE, and this will open over time simply because where there is joy there is no fear.

3. When we are joyful and feel at peace with ourselves and others’ we begin to feel the stirring of another petal opening and we find ourselves looking for ways to be kind. KINDNESS is the third quality.

4. As we begin to practice kindness, we understand the need for PATIENCE and another petal opens. For example, we may show kindness to someone or to some part of ourselves that is bitter and unforgiving, the change to forgiveness and joy as a result of our demonstrations may not happen immediately and so we become patient in our acts of peace and kindness and continue without need for responsivity.

5. Through patience and continuous acts of kindness we grow and finally see the petal of unconditional LOVE beginning to open and form.

6. When we are firmly grounded in love the next petal, the quality of HARMONY will open. Harmony exists purely when there is no dispute whatsoever only love.

7. In this peaceful environment of harmony, the quality of CLARITY begins to unfold and we begin to see everything clearly through the filter of love.

8. With our new found ability to see everything clearly, we have no option but to offer COMPASSION and so another petal unfolds.

9. The fire of compassion will throw us deeply into service and this service (Seva in Sanskrit) will burn away any remnants of desire, jealousy, sadness, despair and fear. The petal of PURITY opens.

10. A pure heart can look within and gaze at a world in turmoil with complete UNDERSTANDING.

11. And with complete understanding FORGIVENESS is there.

12. A heart that truly forgives is a sweet, sweet heart. Not the sweetness of sugar but the sweetness of BLISS.

Gina Funke