Mindfulness Activity #47
Listen to Your Heart Mindfulness
In Chinese symbolism, the heart is considered to be the source of emotions and also the seat of intellect. Recall the concept of wise mind. The way to connect to our own inner wisdom is through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness offers us the ability to notice our feelings without acting on urges, and then to factor in logic, judgment and reason. When we honor both intellect and emotion, our actions are more thoughtful and intentional.
Mindfulness practice often asks us to focus on something using our senses. This is interesting because we are born with our senses. In fact, there is evidence that babies can hear even before they are born. One of the first sounds that babies observe is the sound of their mother’s heart beating. So why do we need to practice something we are hard wired to do? Science tells us that we often filter out stimulation we don’t need so we can focus on what is most important at any time. But sometimes we don’t just filter our extraneous information, we ignore vital parts of our experience. Teaching the brain to focus allows us to control our filters, and to make decisions and choose our actions based on all the relevant information. How often do you tell yourself it doesn’t matter how you feel? You don’t always want to act on your feelings, but it’s crucial that we notice and honor our feelings instead of avoiding them, ignoring them or judging them.
Think of today’s practice as training to notice subtle parts of your own experience. Today, you will focus on noticing your own heart beat through your sense of touch. To begin, cue up past ads to get to your mindfulness timer using link below
Now, place your pointer and middle finger together on your neck to the right of your windpipe in order to locate your own pulse. Try to see if you can feel your heartbeat. Take your time–once you know where it is and how to easily find it, click the mindfulness timer to begin.
Locate your pulse again and simply breathe in and out and notice the rate at which your pulse is going. Do not worry if it takes you a minute to locate or notice your heart beating. This is part of the practice. Continue to breathe in and out, staying connected as you observe your heartbeat until your timer chime rings to end your practice.
Was this practice easy for you or difficult? It can be very difficult for us pay attention to our thoughts and emotions closely enough to act from wise mind. As the day goes on, try to notice your own inner experiences just like you noticed your heart beating during this practice. Then, act with awareness and compassion to yourself and others you interact with.