This exercise can be done in pure meditation or as a journaling exercise in which you answer all of the questions and more.
Begin seated comfortably or resting on your back with one hand on your belly and one had on your heart. Feel your breath come and go until you find a gentle relaxed rhythm.
Picture your heart, four beating chambers, this muscles giving you life with every pulse. Now imagine the chambers more closely, figuratively dividing the heart into four equal parts:
- The Full Heart
- The Open Heart
- The Clear Heart
- The Strong Heart
The Full Heart, the left upper chamber, beats in abundance, giving freely and receiving freely, without limit. Let your heart swell, fill to the brim and overflow with compassion and appreciation for yourself, your children, your loved ones, your work, your world. Where do you find constriction? Where do you find ease? What can you share and what do you keep? Now ask your Full Heart what it needs from you and from the world. What does it need to create and receive? The Full Heart knows no limits; what would you do with boundless love?
Shift your focus now to the Open Heart, taking a deep, cleansing breath in and then out completely.
The Open Heart, the left lower chamber, pulses to learn, to see the world afresh. The Open Heart beats without judgment and anticipates only love. The trusting Open Heart is deeply wounded by rejection or disappointment. How much joy can you accept? What do you reject for fear of disappointment? The Open Heart can also be the Black Heart; what divisive tools do you use to protect yourself? What hurt have you suffered? Courageously, how open can your heart be? Can you forgive yourself to trusting too much? This is your vessel, let it be strong and let it be buoyant.
Let all of your air out with an audible exhalation, "Haaaaaaa", then breathe in deeply to your belly, expanding your chest until it feels as though it will burst and let your heart be as open as the dawn, then exhale entirely. On your next inhalation, shift your focus to the Clear Heart.
The Clear Heart, the right upper chamber of your heart, the heart that knows all before thoughts arrive. If you’re able to let the water of your thoughts still, the Clear Heart is your spiritual compass. The Clear Heart says, “Trust me, I know. Trust me, I’m always here. Even when hell has arrived, I am here. Even when the most difficult decision must be made, I am here.” The Clear Heart only speaks truth, without fear. When you are connected to your Clear Heart, you fearlessly speak your truth. Quiet your mind. What do you feel? Can you forgive yourself for the times when you’ve been too loud to hear your heart? When your heart has turned cloudy, what has circled in your head: fear or greed or need? You can take time to get clear, to return to this pure center where you know your truth, and you’re taking that step right now.
Take a deep breath in and blow it out powerfully, as if you are blowing away insecurity, and then breathe in grounded courage as you turn your focus to the Strong Heart. Breathe in until your chest is puffed out, and you are the lion, letting that breathe go with a roar.
Finally, the right lower chamber, The Strong Heart, houses your dreams, your power and your abilities. You are able to face the world, no matter the resistance, to pursue your truth. You can bring love in for fuel and give love out without pain. You can stand down a thousand armies and pursue your rightful place. You can risk your career for a vision. You can laugh about your shortcomings without self-consciousness, because you know your strength. What do you want? What can’t you abide? Draw your line in the sand- what’s on your side and what’s on the other? What does your Strong Heart need from you now?
Place both hands on your heart and take a final, full-body breath in, as if from the soles of your feet, all the way to the top of your crown, and then let it go with sigh. As you breathe in again, feel yourself at the center of these four chambers: The Full Heart, abundantly beating; The Open Heart, fresh to the world; The Clear Heart, wise as the Universe and The Strong Heart, driven with clarity. You are all four of these elements and it’s your right to know every aspect of your heart. Spend some time with your heart regularly to reconnect and remind yourself that your heart is both supple and strong, even through upset, your heart beats again.