Centering in the Spiritual Heart
Centering in the Spiritual Heart is a fundamental practice. It is a simple and direct spiritual technique practiced in Sufism, Christianity, and Judaism.
The naturalness of the approach is in itself a guarantee of a harmonious inner transformation. It is very helpful to practice this technique consistently and with faith in its efficacy.
The immersion in the Heart, using Ramana Maharshi’s method will help us cross the barrier of sentimentalism, of nervousness, and of personal attachments. This is an important first step towards the revelation of our divine nature. Centering in the Spiritual Heart is an essential attitude which, if it is practiced on a regular basis, starts to reflect itself as a way of “being.”
The Essence of Ramana Maharshi’s Method
Ramana Maharshi summarized his method as follows: “What is essential in any sadhana [practice] is to try to bring back the running mind and fix it on one thing only. Why then should it not be brought back and fixed in Self-attention. (To this feeling of ‘I’)? That alone is Self-Inquiry (atma-vichara). That is all that is to be done!” Sri Sadhu Om, The Path of Sri Ramana Vol. 1 (Sri Ramana Kshetra: Tiruvannamalai, 1997)
Ramana Maharshi logically states here an essential fact, yet unfortunately, not many fully understand it. He essentially states that as the purpose of meditation is to fixate the mind on an object, then, rather than any external or internal object (such as the breath or a chakra), to focus on a very particular object, the intimate “I” feeling. This should be the very source of our attention.
Meditation on any object keeps us in the duality of:
- “I,” the knowing subject and
- “It/that” (or “she/he”), the object to be known
If Open Attention is directed towards the Spiritual Heart, i.e. to the knowing subject—or, in other words, to who we really are, to the intimate sense of Pure Existence, to the very source of the attention itself—then, the premises of a true inner transformation appear, as the subject and the object collapse, unified into the vision of the Oneness.
It is, therefore, very natural to make the Spiritual Heart the only object of our meditation. Then the Spiritual Heart reveals itself as the knowing Subject, who we really are, the ultimate intimacy of our being.
The Sense of the Truth
Every gesture of centering in the Spiritual Heart, every step to get closer to our divine nature, to God, is followed by intuitive evidence, a sense of Truth and of Love, which continues to strengthen the aspiration to center in the Spiritual Heart.
Therefore, the immersion into the Heart finds its natural fulfillment in the blossoming of love and harmony, of being perfectly attuned with the Whole, and of communion with God.
Opening up at the level of the soul and the subsequent process of being gradually “filled” with Divine Love are natural expressions of the awareness of the Heart.
Happiness and freedom are inherent to the centering in the Spiritual Heart. They will gradually infuse into any type of yoga practice and into our whole life as well.
By centering in the Heart in Hridaya Yoga, we open ourselves and discover, first of all, the intrinsic beauty and harmony of our being. Next, we learn to recognize this beauty and harmony outside of ourselves. Thus, beauty itself is awakening us to the consciousness of Oneness (in which “inside” and “outside” disappear).
The awareness of the Heart inspires us to act, in our daily life, in such a way as to glorify and celebrate the essence of life, the background of stillness, and the love and happiness inherent to the Spiritual Heart.
On the other hand, this awareness (that includes Self-Inquiry and centering in the chest area) helps us to discern the actions which are not in harmony with Spirit.
Relying on the Heart’s discernment, we endeavor to be more and more in harmony with the infinite dimension of our being. Thus, the suffering diminishes and there is an expansion of the awareness of the beauty and splendor of a life that has found its center.
When we are resting in the Spiritual Heart we realize that the whole of life is sacred.
The more the Spiritual Heart is present in our lives, the more pure, more profound, and more vivid our joys and aspirations become. We spontaneously recognize and express the completeness and sacredness of life.
The Celebration of the Awareness of the Heart
The Awareness of the Heart brings one to experience life as a celebration of the spirit more and more often.
There is an essential difference between a profane celebration and a sacred one:
- A profane celebration is meant to make you forget about your fears, worries, and about yourself. It is a kind of trance in which joy appears because of the blindness of the mind.
- During the sacred celebration of the Hridaya Yoga practice, there is a vivid awareness of the Spiritual Heart. Here, the happiness of Love is the way to celebrate.
The Awareness of the Heart allows us to align with the intrinsic laws of nature. Then, the moral principles and attitudes recommended in the yama and niyama code of ethical rules arise spontaneously. For example, ahimsa (non-violence), santosha (contentment), or aparigraha (non-accumulation) become naturally satisfied, not because we intend to follow certain rules, but as an immediate effect, as a natural consequence of our profound vision of life, revealed by the awareness of the Heart.
The Unknown Becomes Ineffable Bliss
By reconnecting with the Spiritual Heart, we enter again the flow of Pure Existence. Our tensions, fears, and traumas are gradually eliminated and, thus, our being, in its wholeness, radiates peace, strength, healing energy, and love.
This profound peace cannot be generated through visualization or individual willpower. It radiates beyond thinking and personality.
When we are aware of the Heart, that which is considered “unknown” for us (which is the source of fear so long as we are caught in the limitations of the individual consciousness [in the discursive mind]) reveals itself as an ineffable Divine Reality and it becomes the source of confidence and bliss.
Thus, through this inspiration, we learn how to surrender unconditionally.
Integration into the Daily Routine of Life
Immersion in the Spiritual Heart in meditation is an attitude practiced consistently in the Yoga of the Spiritual Heart. It allows us to feel freedom, happiness, vastness, and enlightenment. After that, we will endeavor to relive the same experience with open eyes as well.
The centering in the Spiritual Heart can be easily practiced in any situation and, when it is well-mastered, it fits perfectly in our everyday life. This practice and the meditation routine are not supposed to disrupt students’ social life.
The spiritual practice can be compared with a dancer’s rehearsal necessary to get ready for a show. To be prepared, there are steps, inner attitudes, etc. which, later, make a performance full of naturalness, sahaja, possible. The show is our life and the “rehearsal” is the spiritual practice.