Thursday, October 8, 2009

To Be or Not To Be (in Your Heart)-Part 2

By Mary Pellicer, MD

The question we were left with from Part 1 of this post (9-17-2009), is how can I tell if I’m in my heart and by extension how might you tell if you’re in your heart? So let’s consider that. The first thing I notice is where my center of awareness is located. The center of awareness is the sense of where “you” are located within your body. One way to get a sense for this is to point your finger back at yourself (without touching your skin) and starting at the top of your head just run your finger down in front of your body and get a sense for where it feels like you are located. Your center of awareness will feel like you are pointing to “you”. Just for fun, you could try this with a friend and compare notes.

For myself for many, many years the only place I seemed to be located was right behind my eyes. Other places felt like they were part of my body, but it didn’t seem as if I was looking out of any other place than my eyes—which seemed perfectly natural and obvious to me. In fact, until I began doing this work, I didn’t think there was any other possibility. As it turns out, I was almost totally “in my head” with my awareness firmly seated there. Right now, doing this same exercise I feel like my awareness extends from the top of my head to my chest, pretty good for me. However, when I am stressed and not doing well, my awareness typically reverts to my original location of right behind my eyes. When people do this exercise there are many possibilities of where their awareness might be with the head , the heart region and the belly being the most common. However, occasionally people feel as if their center of awareness is located in an extremity and sometimes a person may not be in their body at all. Sometimes the center of awareness is very small and very hard to find, while other times it is spread throughout the whole body and even out into the surrounding environment.

So generally, when people are in their heart, their awareness is centered in their chest and if their awareness is quite expanded, it spreads out from there. The other hallmarks of being in one’s heart are a sense of peace and rightness, of calm and “being home”. Even if I am feeling very strong emotions, like sadness or anger, experiencing them from my heart has an underlying sense of acceptance and caring for myself while still having that emotion.

Also staying in your heart while having a strong emotion tends to allow it to dissipate and heal much more quickly than if you stay in your head for instance. Being in your head often will lead to judging yourself and the emotion (this is terrible, this will never go away, I deserve to feel this way, etc.) instead of just accepting and experiencing it. Emotions experienced from your heart center tend not to get stuck, they are acknowledged, experienced and then you move on.

While being in your heart may seem easy at first glance, in reality it is often very difficult for people because of their burden of unconsciously held trauma and stress. However, being aware of the concept and playing around with it and even asking the question “Am I in my heart?”, and checking for the signs that you are, can go a long way to making being in your heart an everyday reality.

From my heart to yours,

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