How can we truly embody heart-centred living in a time of unprecedented, tumultuous physical, emotional, social, economic and constitutional upheaval?
The energy required to embody heart-centred living, I believe, is here for us right now, perhaps more than ever before, and partly as a result of and in response to all the tumultuous outer world change. It is an incredible time and a wild ride to be a human being on this planet right now!
‘What has been stopping me truly embodying heart-centred living?’ I enquired. I realised that I was still living in the endemic lifestyle ethos of ‘work hard, play hard.’ I realised I have been at the mercy of my own timetable and deadlines! That I have been operating from a head-driven motivation and culture of achieving and general busy-ness (no matter what cost to body, mind, heart, soul and spirit!).
And I realised that this has been happening way before Covid! It was born in my school days in my response to exams, deadlines, peer pressure, and parental, school and societal expectations. Compounded further by my dysfunctional familial role as people pleaser!
I find myself currently in a very fortunate position - from a human perspective - that I am self-employed and are not facing some of the immense work pressures that many are at this time. And still I am creating tension and worry in myself and around me as I go about my working days, even when I have control over some deadlines and my workflow!
Not only have I been continually seduced by the ‘work hard’ ethic, but also by the ‘play hard’ counterbalance. My approach has been something like: ‘Let’s see how hard I can work in the week - all in service of others, lol! - and then I can do all the things my heart and soul may be wanted to do during my working week, on my day off!’
In reality, I would be so exhausted on my day off, that I wouldn’t be able to do so many of the soul nourishing things I wanted to do!
I realised my ‘day off’ was my unhealthy conditioned way of looking at Sunday as a ‘well-deserved’ day of escapism, entertainment, consumerism. ‘Playing hard!’ Cramming in the chocolate, the wine, the what I call ‘fast-food movies’! Anything and everything to inhibit, bury and suppress old, uncomfortable emotions from surfacing! The ones I didn’t make enough time for in the working week, because I was too busy!
(And if you’re thinking, ‘This is what I do too!’ observe any tendency to give yourself a hard time for doing this! Come into your heart, be with what comes up, and aim to accept it and yourself entirely!)
So there would be this thought of, ‘Why am I still feeling dissatisfied and tired after my day off?!’ This was the breakthrough thought - that I needed to change my lifestyle choices.
I realised I needed to slow down, be more easeful and balanced in my way of living. And what emerged was such a beautifully simple solution, which I am so happy to share with you!
I realised I needed to say no to ‘work hard, play hard’ and say yes to heart-centred living. Or rather, to embody heart-centred living more.
It was wonderful to discover, or rather re-discover, the art and science of heart brain coherence. When we are heart-brain coherent, we have greater heart rate variability. This is a desirable quality to have, as we can then be more ease-fully adaptive to the changing conditions of life - in other words, we are more resilient. With heart brain coherence, we become connected to our heart and soul, and the frequency of the Earth and others around us, in fact the whole field of the universe. This also makes us highly creative, on a quantum level.
And it was wonderful to realise that creating heart brain coherence is such a simple practice to do:
1. Feel into your physical heart. 2. Notice your natural breath, which nourishes the heart. 3. Invite a memory and/or a feeling of when you felt unconditional love into your heart.
That’s it! And now you are connected to yourself, everybody, the Earth and the universe with your heart! And whatever you think, say and do from this space will create love and peace and beauty in the world! It’s that simple! And once practiced several times, this practice is an instant switch to this way of being!
It’s beautiful how this practice has woven into my own life. Now I simply place my awareness in my physical heart space for a moment, and I can feel my whole being lighting up with joy and peace. Those tasks which require my full attention, I do them with that. In between these kind of tasks, for example walking anywhere, toilet break, making a cuppa, etc, I become aware of my heart, as a physical sensation. So whatever I am doing with full attention after that becomes infused with this love vibration! So wonderful how simple it is!
The principle of Bhakti Yoga is exactly the same. Bhakti is all about remembrance of the divine. For example through a mantra - repeating the name of God to remember and stay in that vibration of sweet, heart opening remembrance, which elevates our emotions - filling us with devotion, reverence, gratitude, and inspiration to serve, love and give.
I have found that what I create when I am in this heart-brain coherent state, and allow an intention to come, is very beautiful. Including creating enough time and space for myself in my schedule! - allowing, allowing, allowing for flow, and ease and grace… so that discipline becomes my best friend, structure becomes flow and relationships - to self and others - become harmonious.
Yes, in human terms, I may now be ‘doing less’ than I was previously, but in the soul’s perspective, taking these moments of pause and connecting to your heart IS the greatest service we can ever give to ourselves AND humanity AND the Earth AND the universe! The ‘being’ is also the ‘doing’ - the service! This for me is true embodied heart-centred living! And whatever we actually ‘do’ as a human being in service, from this way of living, is a gift - an amazing bonus!
Blessings of love on your day and week xxx
As inspiration for this article, I acknowledge in deep gratitude my partner Geeti Julie Rogers for her love, support, healing and vision. Also Lee Harris and the Z’s for their insights and sharings. Peter Levine for his work on trauma and the nervous system. And to Suzie Nelson-Smith for sharing Gregg Braden’s lectures and the Heart Math Institute for their research into heart brain coherence, and their wonderful heart brain coherence practice given in this article.