Healing heartbreak can be overwelming and isolating but Zen Buddhism has created a path for inner peace. A recent loss, an ended relationship, the death of someone close to you, struggles with family, childhood trauma surfacing, or personal health struggles; a nurturing heart-opening meditation “fusion” practice might help you.
The mix of Zen Buddhism and transpersonal psychology insight can illuminate healing in a comforting and empowering way while bringing peace.
Finding the inner strength to process your challenge can be found in releasing the bracing that happens when we feel smothered by struggles.
Think of the last time you were jarred by a sound or a sudden movement that you did not expect. You probably gasped and braced your body, a natural response to a perceived danger.
Our reptilian brain is wired to protect us like this; however, we will brace when thinking about critiques, depressive worries, and past events that we can’t control and create anxious concern over what might be in the future. These are just some hints of what causes bracing.
That bracing locks our body; we tighten the back and neck muscles for the protection of the core of our body.
We might feel stress over world events, life situations, or other struggles that surface in our minds. Still, we add zings of pain by bracing and repeating coping patterns that don’t serve us, like ignoring the pain or self-sabotaging behaviors.
This is where heart-opening meditation helps us.
It allows us to go inward while releasing what no longer serves our purpose.
Here are some steps to creating a heart-opening meditation.
- Develop an intention. While sitting with as straight a spine as possible with relaxed hips and shoulders, define the purpose of the meditation. It might be to reconnect with your body more, to be aware of the bracing in your body. Maybe it is to celebrate your mindful eating, commitment to reaching out to your therapist or taking advantage of your support group (or group of support in your family).
- Breathe deeply while thinking about your intention. Notice your body and how it responds to this simple activity.
- Now, recline in a way that offers you space to twist or move, perhaps in the center of a bed, on the floor, or on a comfortable blanket or yoga mat. Give yourself a little time to transition; there is no need to rush.
- On your back, close your eyes again and bring yourself back to your intention. Take inventory of your body responses to the transition and the invitation to the intentional thought again.
- Now, if this is accessible, cross your right leg over your left leg and drop both legs to the left. Arms will be outstretched as if you are a clock; one arm represents three, and the other means nine; your head is twelve, and your feet are six. You are reaching east to west (symbolically). Don’t overdo this stretch; allow yourself to feel yourself wring out the tension held in the body, namely the core.
- Bring your breath to the present moment; in this twist, it is easy to get caught up in your mind’s waist or hip area, but I want you to release so much that all you think about is your breathing and intention.
- Now, slowly unwind the stretch and bring yourself neutral, with both knees bent and the soles of the feet on the ground (or bed).
- You will reverse this now, with your left leg over your right, and dropping both knees to the right. Again, arms are reaching east to west.
- Bring your breath to the present moment. Feel yourself releasing tension brought on by heartbreak and stress, knowing that the power to respond is within you; you do not have to punish yourself by holding onto the bracing.
- Slowly bring yourself back to neutral. Breathe the intention again and imagine the purpose is in every cell of your body; every ancestor within you supports your intention.
- Breathe gently, open your eyes and roll upward to a seated position, and once established, straighten the spine and breathe.
- Gently bring your hands to prayer and allow your hands to float to the center of your chest in prayer, the side of the thumbs gently resting on the chest or heart center.
- Know that your heart has neural activity; it messages that the brain deciphers and also takes in information from your mind; the heart is always listening. Give it the intention gently and with purpose as you breathe deeply and slowly.
- When ready, allow your eyes to open gently.
- Stretch with at least three deep breaths.
- Wiggle your arms and your toes, then hold your hands over your heart for one final deep inhale and exhale.
May you have more compassion, mend your heart, and embody strength for your struggles.
For a more detailed, directed experience, try the podcast that connects to this article. If you’d like to explore programs, do so HERE.Muddy Path Podcast|Season 2|Ep 16Or Visit Apple Podcasts Here