The Heart Chakra is located in the center of the chest. It is associated with the element of Air. The Heart Chakra is the bridge between the lower and higher chakras— or, put differently, the meeting ground of the personal consciousness and the transpersonal consciousness.
The lower three centers of Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus correspond to the “lower self,” the individual personality with which most of us consciously identify. These centers regulate our sense of our own tastes, preferences, characteristics, feelings, modes of relating, personal boundaries, memories and the physical body.
The Upper centers of Throat, Third Eye and Crown correspond to the Higher Self— the eternal, spiritual essence of an individual which persists throughout many lifetimes. In these centers we find access to universal wisdom and awarenesses which transcend the sphere of the physical senses. In contrast to the subjective and finite consciousness found in the lower three centers, the consciousness belonging to the upper centers is transpersonal, without boundary and detached from personal biases.
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The Heart center is the bridge between these two planes of the Self. The Heart Chakra is the springboard from which we may launch into higher levels of awareness and understanding, gaining a more objective or transcendental perspectives on ourselves and life itself. The “prerequisite” for entrance onto these higher planes is the unconditional love or total acceptance which is cultivated in the Heart Center.
In order to see and experience on a higher level of reality, we must be able to unconditionally accept the truth of the moment. This includes acceptance of that which appears outside of us as physical circumstances and other people, as well as acceptance of that which we meet within, in our emotions, desires, needs, ideas, preferences and personal boundaries.
To love unconditionally does not mean to like. Acceptance does not necessarily mean finding a way to appreciate something undesirable. True acceptance means the ability to be with the reality of a situation openly and honestly without needing it to change.
In this sense, opening the Heart Center is largely a matter of cultivating the state of neutrality. When the Heart Center is open, we are able to be with anyone just as they are without resistance or resentment. We are able to listen to any idea without becoming “triggered” by it. We are able to sustain inner peace no matter what environment or condition is surrounding us. While we may not like the idea, people or circumstance, we are nevertheless able to remain completely present with the reality of the moment, without reacting to it with resistance, resentment, judgment, denial, aggression or blame. We are not attached to an outcome that is different than what currently is; we accept reality just as it is.
This non-resistance or unconditional acceptance of the Heart Center is the state referred to in teachings about “turning the other cheek” or loving thine enemy. There is tremendous power in a non-reactive state, for it enables one to remain in sovereignty and freedom instead of becoming entangled with what is unwanted. Whatever we resist persists, while acceptance is the first step to transforming whatever is unwanted into something better.
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Techniques for Opening the Heart Center
We may open the heart center by practicing compassion, tolerance and forgiveness of others, as well as acceptance of all aspects of the Self.
For instance, make a practice of trying to find commonalities between yourself and others— especially those people whom you judge as different or even hostile. Try to identify the way you and your enemy are similar— even if your statements are as general as: “We both need food, water and shelter.” “We both need love and acceptance.” “We are both doing what makes the most sense to us, given our past conditioning.”
If you have trouble accepting something that happened to you in the past, see if you can find approval for it in some way. Identify any positive aspects of this situation, no matter how small. Identify what lessons you learned or what skills you developed as a result of this situation. Name the things that went right during that situation, and the positive developments that have transpired as a result. This will help cultivate acceptance for even horribly painful or unfair events, which will, paradoxically, help you release the pain and move forward.
Any activity which inspires connection, appreciation, love or relief is also beneficial to the heart chakra. Any soothing, uplifting or awe-inspiring activity which elicits appreciation and a sense of connectedness to all life is beneficial. Physical touch, whether with loved ones, animals and even plants, is especially beneficial for opening the Heart center.
Meditation— especially a mindfulness practice like Vipassana— is an excellent way to cultivate the ability to unconditionally be with what is. Place your attention squarely upon the breath or the processes of the body; notice when thoughts, feelings and sensations come, but then, without judgement, release them and return to the breath.
This practice cultivates the abilities of non-interference or non-interruption. We are practicing being with what is without changing what is, as well as our ability to let go and detach from emotional reactions or the runaway train of thought. Many people have reported that even twenty minutes a day of this kind of work enhances their ability to be responsive rather than reactive in life at large. In this very simple practice of continually returning our attention to the breath, we hone our ability to be in the world, but not of the world. That is, we practice being present where we are, exactly as we are, amidst everything just as it is, and maintaining a neutral state of.
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Essential oils cause frequency changes in the chakras. Diffuse and/or place a few drops of the following oils on the Heart Chakra.
Lavender helps one be calm, adaptable and accepting, promoting connection to all life.
Peppermint stimulates, soothes and balances an agitated or over-active nervous system, helping one find calm and balance.
Use the vocable ‘YAM’ to awaken this energy center. Focus on your Heart Chakra as you rhythmically repeat YAM and visualize the sound accelerating the spinning in this center.
You can also try resonating the Vowel Sound, “Ay” (as in ‘play’).
Listen to the Solfeggio frequency of 639 Hertz. This frequency releases grief and establishes spiritual connection.
Crystals and Gemstones
Hiddenite facilitates the flow of spontaneous love. It orients one toward true love and away from manipulative emotional dynamics. Hiddenite also helps a wounded heart to heal and feel love again.
Variscite enhances cognition, logic and reasoning. Variscite brings tranquility to the mind and courage to the heart.