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January 12, 2007
Gaining Release: Healing Hands and Labyrinths


December 8, 2006
Tending to Spirituality's Physical Side: 2 Approaches


December 1, 2006
Rx for Heart Health


November 24, 2006
How Many Ways Can You Open Your Heart? -- Part 4


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Posted: November 03, 2006

Spiritual Caregiving

How Many Ways Can You Open Your Heart? -- Part 2

(Editor’s Note: The heart holds the keys to many aspects of life, not just physical but spiritual, emotional and directional. By listening to our own heart, we can gain the path to happiness, spiritual attainment and some say physical and mental health. This 4-part collection of offerings on the heart from Spirituality & Health readers individualizes the approach. What would you add to this collection?)

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"Hummmm" to the Heart Chakra

Through Kundalini yoga, I became aware of how closed and fearful I was of being hurt. By practicing postures and meditations for the heart chakra (energy center), I gradually watched those blocks dissolve and accepted that we can't escape pain, we can only control how we deal with it. I especially like this simple meditation from Kundalini Yoga master Yogi Bhajan. Within minutes, the resonance of the sound within your body begins to work its healing magic:

1. Sit comfortably with spine straight.

2. Extend your arms straight out to the sides, parallel to the ground. Bend the elbows so the forearms form a 90-degree angle, straight up, then turn your at palms to face forward.

3. Close your eyes, rolling them up to the third eye point (between the eyebrows).

4. Inhale deeply through your nose, and as you exhale, make the sound "Hummmmmmmmmmmmm." Really allow the sound current to resonate through your face, beginning with your lips, which should be lightly pressed together. It is through this sound current, which means "we," that we move from individual consciousness into divine love, connecting to the Infinite through our heart center.

Susan Jacobs

Brooklyn, New York

Make Love

Great sex, the kind that surprises you with the intensity and depth of love and intimacy.

Nancy Shapiro,

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Physically Open

I lie on a foam roller, my spine centered along its 3-foot length, arms outstretched, to physically open my heart. As I breathe into that open place, I can generally let go of whatever might be holding me and make room for something softer, clearer, deeper. Off the roller, I'm more aware of my heart center, as if the exercise served as a homing device to place my attention directly there. And I can keep returning my breath and attention to that depth for many hours after just a few minutes on the roller.

Ronnie Shushan

Art Manager

Break Open

At a workshop I attended, someone asked Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg, "How can I open my heart?" And she replied, "It's usually broken open, isn't it?" Ever since then, I have made a practice of exposing myself to information and pictures that will break my heart. They are not hard to find. I start by going to nytimes.com. As the page loads, I say a short prayer, "May my eyes and my heart be open to what I am about to learn." Then I read stories about the latest deaths in Iraq, the latest natural disaster, the latest budget cuts, plant closings, etc. Next I browse over to doctorswithoutborders.org and read about humanitarian and health crises in Darfur, Kashmir, the Sudan, and elsewhere in our suffering world. Then, since I am a volunteer with an animal rescue group, I go to petnder.org and read descriptions of homeless animals in my area. On any given morning, my heart can be broken a hundred times -- but I also find myself more and more motivated to become spiritually active in service, and that, to me, is the mark of an open heart.

Mary Ann Brussat

Media Editor

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(Click here to read Part 1 in this series. Read next week’s Spiritual Caregiving column for the next installment.)


This article originally appeared in Spirituality & Health magazine, www.SpiritualityHealth.com. For subscriptions call 1-800-876-8202 or see www.SpiritualityHealth.com/subs. Editor Stephen Kiesling and his staff contribute weekly columns, features and articles published every Friday as "Spiritual Caregiving" at www.caregivershome.com. Contact staff directly via email at ASKspirituality@spiritualityhealth.com.

© 2006 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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