Q: I bought your book Living from the Heart and I'm finding difficulties in being aware from the heart or from the belly. How do I do that? How do I know if I'm doing it properly? Can you provide some helpful pointers for getting started?
A: Thanks for your questions. I would simply suggest that you imagine being aware from the heart or belly and see what that is like. Even just setting the intention to rest more in your heart and belly can shift the way you are perceiving the world.
You can also start by first being very aware of your heart itself by resting your hand over your heart and directing your awareness to be more aware of your heart. What is happening right now in your heart? Are there any sensations in that area? Is it tight or relaxed, warm or cool, moving or calm? What is it like to sense your heart? Does it relax you?
Then while keeping your hand over your heart, play with sensing your hand from the area of the heart. Can you feel the warmth of your hand with the skin of your chest? Can you sense the pressure of your hand from within your chest? Try all of this with your eyes closed in a quiet place. Just allow yourself to feel your hand from within your chest.
Once you can sense the hand, then simply stay in touch with your heart as you also include more of your surroundings in your awareness. Again, start with your eyes closed and just feel the air around you, any sounds that are happening, and even the couch or chair you are sitting on. Keep it very simple until you get the hang of resting more in your heart. Then you can play with opening your eyes and looking from the heart. But if the sense of being in your heart is lost, then close your eyes and go back to sensing things with your eyes closed.
You can then play with doing the same process with your hand over your lower belly. As the book suggests, when awareness flows form your heart it can be very open, vulnerable and soft and gentle with a greater sense of connection and intimacy with the world. When it flows from the belly, there is a more solid, grounded quality to the sense of awareness. And you can also play with allowing awareness to flow from your whole being including your head, heart and belly. Just imagine your whole body as the awareness and sense the world from all of your being.
There is no need to worry about doing it right or properly. Eveyone's experience will be a little different, and it also does not matter if you only shift a little bit of your awareness to flow from the heart while you mostly continue to be aware from your head. You can also notice as you experiment how your state of being shifts. Do you sense any relaxation or opening up of your awareness? Is there a greater sense of connection or intimacy with your experience? Does the world seem different when you drop down into your heart?
The even bigger mystery is where awareness comes from in the first place. Even if it seems like awareness is located in your head, I would invite you to explore the source of that awareness. Where exactly is it coming from? Does it move around at all in your head? Does it ever seem to come from behind or above your head? It is space itself that is aware. So even if your awareness stays up in your head, you can still explore the incredible mystery of awareness itself.
I hope this helps.
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