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My mother would remind of one thing every time I complained to her about anything…
Stay connected to your source.
Of course I really didn’t get why she repeated that to me every time I complained. My automatic “I know Mom” would follow immediately and she would let me go. She knew that even if I was doing my best and finding success in that or if I was struggling with something, I needed take a break and restore myself with those things that really energized me. She knew that if I put my mind to something that I would achieve it, but that my heart would take a back seat. It wasn’t until a year after she passed that I realized that meditation and writing would always take me back to my source.
Doing anything that allows you to be fully immersed in the activity with no concept of time or space is staying connected to your source. It is the art of allowing things to happen as they will without expecting or attaching any results to the outcome of that thing. It is to resolve to be present and go with the flow. It is mindful awareness. Mindfulness is just the beginning. Once we establish self-awareness, then we may begin the journey towards heartfulness. I don’t know what comes after this stage, maybe nirvana? I am far from it.
According to Dr. Alane Daugherty, heartful awareness is the ability to reduce stress, anxiety and emotional chaos in our lives. The biggest difference between mindfulness and heartfulness lies in the way we connect with our experiences.
Being Mindful = Being Present in Every Experience, without Judgement or Reaction
Being Heartful = Authentically Engaging in Every Experience with True Acceptance
Mindful meditation is like most guided meditation practices out there which ask you to be the silent observer or the witness to the things that are occurring in the here and now. Heart-centered meditation is emotional and truthful. It requires that you are not merely present, but actively engaged in sitting with your truth in complete honesty. I have only experienced this type of practice under the guidance of a few highly trained teachers. The Taoist and Higher Consciousness approaches are very transformative meditation approaches that require you to connect and be present with yourself on a very emotional level. In a group setting, even though everyone is sitting quietly doing their own meditation, the support from the energy of the group is what transforms you.
If you have reached a point where mindful meditation is not resonating with you any longer, it may be time to try practicing heartful meditation. Begin by connecting to your heart, find compassion in your experiences, and experience everything with sincere love. Don’t be afraid of your emotions. If you put yourself out-there so to speak in your creative endeavors, speak out for others and yourself with kindness and empathy, or trying something new without expectation, then you are already primed to sit with yourself in heartful awareness. Simple for some and definitely a challenge for others, I admit I fall into the latter category. I have a tendency to be too much in my mind and thinking instead of allowing. Activity prior to practice helps.
Wherever you are on your path your are manifesting change and courage. A regular practice reduces stress, promotes restfulness, and shifts energies of the environment around you. So stay connected to your source in whatever keeps your mindful and heartful.
See you on the Mat,
Dr. Alane Daugherty - From Mindfulness to Heartfulness
Writer, Technologist, and Meditation Coach