Heart and Head Harmony
The earliest memory I have of an anxiety/ panic attack was around the age of 10, in class my teacher had been talking quite graphically and in way too much detail on asphyxiation. As I was, and still am a super sensitive Empath, her words created the mental image in my mind and my body created the physical, visceral feeling of what she was describing. So together the power of thought and feeling totally seized and overpowered my body and mind, and within a couple of minutes I fainted.
From that point on I wasn't allowed to be in the presence of anyone who talked too vividly about anything gory, which my brother would nonetheless do for his own entertainment. So I was always super careful about what I would take in through my ears as my dominant sense as well as my eyes; absolutely couldn't tolerate horror movies and still can't!
I've often wondered back to that experience, that day way back in primary school, wondered with curiosity and to try to make sense of it. Have come to realise that I had both my head and heart so vested in the horrible imagery of what my teacher was describing, that I made the very thing she was talking about happen. Shame she'd been discussing asphyxiation instead of opening up my third eye!
Fast forward 25 years; I still am queasy, hyper sensitive and prone to anxiety though it's now mostly manageable as I've learnt a lot along the way about both the body and the mind. I understand with crystal clarity that my passing out at 10, wasn't a terrible or shameful experience, rather it was my first taster of the power of manifesting through head and heart alignment. Which if I could tap into and learn to do at will, would be a very powerful tool to have in my bag of tricks!
These days it's not enough to be an intellect; finding logic, reason and proof to support your ideas is a wonderful thing, though not ideal or practical for must human relationships which also require emotions and feeling.
Nor is it ideal to be considered too much of a feeling person, as you're likely to be caught up in your emotions; erratic and moody. Emotional types live from their hearts, often ending up getting taken advantage of, or being viewed as foolish pushovers by opportunists and psychic vampires.
So thankfully, thanks to my German father and Egyptian mother with their conflicting worldviews, I've been on both sides of the fence; fiercely and wholeheartedly for prolonged periods of time, then like a pendulum swung back to choosing the opposite way of being while shunning the other and never quite feeling compete or whole in the process. The yin without the yang and vice versa I guess. Through my yoga journey, especially in the last 5 years, I've learnt to find a beautiful balance between both, living as much as I can through Intuition coupled with the Intellect; head and heart alignment.
It's fair to say that in 2018, most of us are stuck in our heads with long to-do lists and short goldfish like attentions spans. Therefore anxiety, depression, FOMO and overwhelm have become the norm, everyone knows someone who has or is experiencing one of these mental issues. It serves us well, whenever possible, to turn our blue screens off, take a walk in nature, slow down and reconnect to our bodies so we can reset the mind, however temporary. In time your mind becomes disciplined and understands, that this is switch off time, and leaves you alone to be, free from doing..
Here's an easy meditation to harmonise, heart and head.
Find a quiet place to sit down comfortably, with phones off, no potential distractions then start to notice your breath and connect to it. Start taking a few deeper fuller breaths, right down into the lungs, then perhaps to the bottom of your abdomen, until you feel a bit calmer. Then tap either a finger or place an open palm over your heart space, so your attention moves there. When thoughts start to invade just notice them without getting attached. Visualise your thoughts taking the form of soft, white clouds drifting across the screen of your mind; fleeting and impermanent, keep coming back to those deep full breaths as your anchor.
The idea is to continue moving away from thinking and into feeling, start now with feeling your heartbeat as well as any other bodily sensations, impulses and emotions, good or bad, without judging or trying to change anything.
Initially you may be thinking about feeling, not just feeling, so this will take some practice as you allow yourself to move into pure feeling. Feeling your breath and following it in on the inhale and out on the exhale is highly useful in staying present through this meditation. From this space, you can start to access intuition and that still small voice that is often heard internally but ignored. (I can only describe it from my personal experience as feeling like a wave of warmth has come over me, time feels suspended and I'm in Now-ness as Eckhart Tole puts it. This state feels like love, pure and unconditional, no subject or object, it just is. Leaves me feeling joy, like everything is well and as it should be..) Then staying in the feeling of heart space, connect to a time when you felt loved or cared for. Then again, connect to a time or memory of when you felt love, affection or care for another. Connect to those memories and images, holding them in your mind's eye, until you feel those emotions start to well up. Using the energy of those loving memories you're recalling, you start to synchronise the feeling and thoughts together, so there's a deep coherence between heart and mind.
Then the final step, from this deep radiating heart space, you set your intentions, sowing the seeds of your heart's desires, visualising these desires as already manifest in your minds eye and heart space. This is crucial, you must feel and think about that which you want as already being manifest, integrated in a future you.
Remember the mind doesn't know the difference between something real or imagined, so the more you picture that future you, assimilated with your heart intention, the sooner it comes about in current time-space reality. If you're completely honest with yourself, you know you already do this a few hundred times a day; picturing and feeling past memories of sadness, fear or shame, reliving those with each thought.
So all I'm suggesting is you look in front of you rather than behind you; as I did for many many many years!
This meditation does become easier and more fluid with daily practice, so you can naturally start to get into this heart space. Start with 5 minutes and build it up. The wonderful thing about shifting awareness into heart and head harmony, is that it has lasting effects that go beyond the meditation itself, can last up to several hours, leaving you in a state of calm while also boosting your immune system.
Please don't just take my word for it, try it out for yourself and let me know how you go!