Heartfulness

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Encountering Heartfulness

I have been involved in mindfulness – meditation – since 2003. The term “heartfulness” is new to me, but the concept is not. I first encountered heartfulness as metta meditation (loving-kindness meditation) about the same time as I started meditating in 2003. My initial response was that it was somehow less. I was trying to get my mind around the concept of focusing on an object and radiating compassion seemed a bit too fuzzy in contrast. My initial desire to label and make assumptions worked against my own best interests. I wish now that I had opened my mind to metta, for it would have changed many things in my life – things that I have been changing the last couple of years.

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Heartfulness

Like mindfulness, heartfulness is about focus and openness to yourself. When you meditate, for example, you focus on the breath (or a candle, or object) and as you meditate, you see your thoughts coming and going. Understanding your mind brings peace, as you realise that you are not your thoughts. With heartfulness, you focus on compassion – compassion for yourself and others. When you focus on this, you see your focus on compassion growing. You get the physiological benefits of these positive emotions, but you also learn how to acknowledge and be with your emotions. As your positive emotions relating to compassion grow, you see your empathy for other beings grow and you find that you act with more kindness towards others. Being with your heart, you learn to live in the emotional moment, just as you learn to live in the moment of perception with mindfulness.

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Heartfulness Practice

There are many ways to practice heartfulness. A common approach is to radiate compassion, focusing first on yourself, then someone you love, then someone to whom you are indifferent, then to someone you dislike and finally to all beings. The idea is that compassion begins with yourself. Using this approach, if you are not able to feel positive emotions of loving-kindness for yourself, you will have difficulty radiating these feelings to others. When I discussed this approach with my teenage son, he said, “It is like when you put the oxygen mask on yourself on the plane, before putting it on others!” Help yourself – or in this case, learn to love yourself – or you will not be able to most effectively help others.

Focusing on yourself

May I be happy,
May I be healthy,
May I be loved,
May I know peace.

Focusing on someone you love

May [insert name] be happy,
May [insert name] be healthy,
May [insert name] be loved,
May [insert name] know peace.

Focusing on someone to whom you are indifferent

May [insert name] be happy,
May [insert name] be healthy,
May [insert name] be loved,
May [insert name] know peace.

Focusing on someone you dislike

May [insert name] be happy,
May [insert name] be healthy,
May [insert name] be loved,
May [insert name] know peace.

Focusing on all beings

May all beings be happy,
May all beings be healthy,
May all beings be loved,
May all beings know peace.

Context for Heartfulness Meditation

You may choose to do this during the time you have set aside for meditation. You may chose to do this while on the train. Anywhere you can focus without much distraction. Me? I do it after I meditate and just before falling asleep. It puts me in a wonderful space as I drift off to sleep.

Taking into the world

You will find that these private meditative thoughts will carry into your everyday life and relationships, as you grow in heartfulness.

May all beings – including you – know peace!

Aroha nui,

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Gerald Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns ❤️