By: Nina Smiley, Ph.D., Director of Mindfulness Programming, Mohonk Mountain House
Every day brings the possibility that we’ll encounter stress as we go about our lives. While we can do little to prevent these stresses, we can prepare ourselves to handle them in a centered, mindful way rather than become overwhelmed by them. One of the best ways to face the day calmly is to start each morning with a mindfulness heart meditation.
You can perform a mindfulness heart meditation before you even get out of bed. Find a comfortable position for your body while lying on your back and gently place both your hands, one on top of the other, over your heart. Keep your palms faced downward and relax your fingers.
Focus on Your Breath
With your body relaxed, begin to focus on your breath as you slowly and fully breathe in and out. Notice the smooth flow of the air entering and leaving your body and feel the warmth from your hands spreading across your chest, on top of your heart. As thoughts come into your mind, release them and return to your breath and the sensation of your hands across your heart.
Bring a Loved One into Your Heart
As you feel your mind clear, begin to think of someone whom you love deeply and unconditionally. Imagine that person in your mind and the feeling of being in his or her presence. Let that person fill your heart. As you breathe in, breathe into the love you feel for this person. Direct your breath to your heart. Enjoy the feeling of loving… and of being loved by another.
Breathing In… Breathing Out…
Continue to breathe into your heart and as you do so, appreciate the wellbeing and peace that loving/being loved provides you. Begin to turn your attention—silently or aloud—to the phrase “I love” as you breathe in and focus on the phrase “I am loved” as you breathe out. Keep your breath at a natural rhythm as you begin to feel the deep calm resonance of these words throughout your entire body.
Begin Your Day
As you end this meditation, say to yourself, silently or aloud, “I am calm… I am centered… I love… and I am loved…” Then, taking a full breath to honor the depth of the heart connection you feel within yourself, continue on mindfully with your day.
While this mindfulness mediation is designed to be done first thing in the morning, you can easily use it whenever you need to gain clarity and center yourself throughout the day. Simply perform the same sequence while seated comfortably in a chair – breathe love into and out of your heart – and feel the difference this can make!