Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

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Mind over easy, modified 6 Years ago.

Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 216 Join Date: 4/28/12 Recent Posts
So I've been quite inclined to the heart lately. I don't necessarily have a solid enough training or comprehension of the various traditions and practices out there to fit these thoughts into a particular model or terminology, though I'll reference a few ideas I know of.

First off, I've seen references people have made on this forum to an opening of the heart (chakra) event, not in a soft, feel-good way, but in a baseline-shift type way. I can't find the particular posts, but I do seem to remember most of them being from members (self-)diagnosed as having attained one or more paths.

But in general, I've just been trying to feel this one out for myself. A few different notions have gone into my inquiry about this, namely the existence of chakras, compassion, the Bramaviharas, goodwill in general, etc...

In Ingram's book, he talks about the notion that all emotions and actions are actually grounded in compassion, though our thoughts and lack of clarity in awareness can blind this supposed fact about existence. I tend to find this to be true; everyone seems to be acting out of a desire for happiness, a desire for things to be right in the world, though not necessarily always in a way that is expressed skillfully.

Relating to the progress of insight, I have had metta-tation sessions where the 2nd jhana or A&P contain a bursting out of joy, seemingly infinite love, wonder and goodwill, etc... very good feelings. However, as we all may know here at the bar, the 2nd jhana/A&P is not a very stable territory, and it is unrealistic to hope to sustain these often intense feelings for long, which is probably good since there is often a subtle desire for things to be only good and not bad, to not accept the negative emotions and thoughts that will invariably sneak back into life. However, in the 3rd jhana, and in the DN nanas in particular, there seems to be something more profound, yet simple and down-to-earth to discover. And that is suffering, the thick smog that heavily permeates all experience in the depths of these stages. It is one thing to be the superstar-blissful-joyous-100% happy-all-the-time hero that one may temporarily become in A&P territory, but it is another thing to be at the bottom of the barrel, horribly aware of the pain all around, the imperfections and tragedies in the world and all around us, the shortcomings of humanity, etc... And therein lies something worth bringing the heart towards. It seems to be a seasoned love, compassion that comes not from feeling great, but being aware of how miserable experience can be. Reminds me of a mother knowing her child is in pain. This is the point at which I see some real opportunity to stretch the heart out; suffering and being aware of suffering, being at the lowest point, and still feeling something within the heart that says, "I care about myself and others. Causality is brutal and I must learn to open my heart at all times, whether I feel good or bad, for we are all in this world, with all the evils and miseries that are tied to just being a living, breathing organism". I have trouble commenting on how this plays out in 4th jhana/EQ, since even using metta as an object to get there, the fabrication of the feeling seems to fade into the vastness and quietude. Not that this isn't an important moment for insight that can help one go forwards with an open heart and calm mind.

I'm mostly just sharing some thoughts I had, but I am also curious to hear thoughts on love, compassion, things related to the heart (chakra) opening up, how to practice with the heart, how this all relates to insight practice, etc... 
It seems like an important line of inquiry at this point, as opposed to the machine-gun style of insight, which has it's own merits and results. I just don't want to miss an opportunity to develop something that seems important, and mostly, functional and beneficial in daily life.
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Kyle S. Browning, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 87 Join Date: 10/27/14 Recent Posts
I'll just drop this one thought right now, I might come back to respond to this thread later, but one thing that helped me was something I read and developed into a sort of mantra type thing that I'd use as a focus every once in a while for a whole sitting or part of a sitting, with the heart as the focus. I don't remember the exact quote, but it was something like this: instead of placing ourselves at the top of the mountain, where we will find it to be cold, barren, and impossible to progress (i.e., seeing ourselves as spiritually superior or special), instead, we should plant ourselves in the soil of the valley (being humble in our aspirations, not being afraid to "be with" others, not denying our "organicness", etc.). Only then will the path ahead open up. The mantra then was based around this idea of planting my heart as a seed in the soil of the valley, with gratitude being the primary operator, and I would say phrases like "I will plant myself in the fertile soil of the valley" toward the heart, with some variations as I saw fit. If attention would move to the head or thoughts, I would gently return it to the heart and repeat my intention.

Also, not sure what others have to say, but as far as my experience goes, the heart chakra was noticed to open up after 2nd path.
: ladyfrog :, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 38 Join Date: 8/6/13 Recent Posts
I didn't have any previous energy kinds of experience at the time, but what i remember from my stream entry event was a sensation of a "pop" in my heart area, and then a flood of joy and what in hindsight i would describe as flooding bliss  It was also mixed with just a tremendous sense of well being... but i did have that distinct sensation about the heart (although no clarity about much else for the actual event, and i did not notice cessations until many years later...).   Since then i have had the experience of other chakras working through and seeming to open over time, but nothing else specific to the heart.
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 1333 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:
So I've been quite inclined to the heart lately...
...I am also curious to hear thoughts on love, compassion, things related to the heart (chakra) opening up, how to practice with the heart, how this all relates to insight practice, etc... 
It seems like an important line of inquiry at this point, as opposed to the machine-gun style of insight, which has it's own merits and results.

This is funny...I just was working on this last sit. I am inclined to the heart area lately too.
I've done metta at the heart location for years. I never actually looked at the sensations for what they are. I just ignored the actual sensations and just did the metta stuff. In the last week I have investigated the actual sensations. No assumptions anymore. What are the sensations actually like? Do they have the characteristics of permanency, self and satisfactoriness? They felt very permanent and self. It also felt gunky. I got concentrated and investigated and then applied sustained focus and attention to the sensations of the heart area. I held my attention there noticing as deeply and as clearly as possible. The sensations dissolved finally with sensations arising in my stomach area and the third eye area too. I did not have time to work the third eye area. I feel like the heart area needs a bit more work but I'm happy with the clear and clean feeling I have gotten.
I believe this is applying the basic insite style...I didn't do machine-gun....more sustained and moving back anytime I moved off. Give it a shot.
Love is not constrained to a particular permanent spot that is you.....
Good Luck,
~D
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Kyle S. Browning, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 87 Join Date: 10/27/14 Recent Posts
Mind over easy:

Relating to the progress of insight, I have had metta-tation sessions where the 2nd jhana or A&P contain a bursting out of joy, seemingly infinite love, wonder and goodwill, etc... very good feelings. However, as we all may know here at the bar, the 2nd jhana/A&P is not a very stable territory, and it is unrealistic to hope to sustain these often intense feelings for long

I definitely know where you're coming from here. My experience with that territory, particularly if I'm trying to "cultivate" it, is that energies can get out of control rather quickly, especially in the area of the head. You didn't mention anything about this, but I figured you've probably encountered that "shot up" feeling somewhere or another, and if that's the case then I thought I'd share a piece of advice someone on the board (I believe Bill F.) has given a few times, and that is to learn, if you haven't already, mindfulness of breathing at the area of the soles of the feet. Especially if you're lying down to sleep, or if you're getting to a point where you're afraid that if you "let go" of your constant cultivation of attention then you'll be in for pain . . . Definitely helped me out a number of times to bring back a sense of calm and going-with-the-flow.
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 558 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Yes, I did suggest that and have used it at times. Glad you found it useful.
As for the benefits of metta meditation, I think there are many. I personally haven't done metta in the traditional way for some time, but I have been doing a form of somatic metta practice for some time that I find useful. It has a different feel to it, and is more similar to Vajrayana tonglen practice in some ways than traditional metta. I think metta was useful previously as when practiced consistenly it can lend a sense of fearless exploration that allows for the arising of deeper insights. Be well.-Bill
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
Hi Mind over Easy, 

I was just going to post about this and saw your thread ...

I went to the hospital yesterday with heart pain / chest pain, and had full scans (3 lots of ECGs, chest X-ray, blood tests) and nothing. I am good as gold. Now I am wondering if this is part of heart chakra opening. I have been doing alot of vipassana recently and just come back from a Reiki weekend, did alot of sending love and recieving treatments. 

I first experienced this first when doing yoga, and then recently when running (I have been having some pretty euphoric times with long distance running recently around the 18-23 mile mark) and thought that maybe there was something up with my heart. But ive had that all checked out now and my heart is tip top condition according to the hospital. 

I rememeber reading somewhere that one can experience pain in the area of the chackras if they are opening or beginning to open. It may have been MTCB or one of Kornfields books perhaps 'A path with Heart'  - which is great read, if you havent already read it and also 'A wise heart' is worth a look too. Can anyone remember reading this comment in one of these books also, or am I imagining this?


Best wishes, 

Will
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
b man:
I rememeber reading somewhere that one can experience pain in the area of the chackras if they are opening or beginning to open. ...


this is continuing to happen for me, usually noticiable after I come out of meditation, maybe 1 in every 10 sessions or so. I noticed it strongly after having a Reiki treatment for the first time in about 6 months last week also. If anyone has any more information on this phenomenon, which I believe to be chakra opening/cleansing, then I would be grateful to be pointed in that direction...
Thanks, 
Bman
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Pawel:
Whole chest became transparent (specific type of transparency as opposed to sensations obstructing clear view that were before) and filled with specific heart sensations that were almost radiating from it and definitely radiating when I was placing my attention at chest area. Before that opening those heart sensations were leaking from heart when working with it but not in such overabundance.

Each chakra is like part of psyche. Opening chakra means you are accepting that part of you and also mean that you accept it being different in ways unimaginable to rest of your psyche and that its contents cannot be really understood and definitely not controlled. That said you cannot expect heart to be what you imagine it to be and no matter what you imagine it won't be it and won't truly rezonate with heart. If you want to rezonate then you have to open to what heart is at the moment and not trying to categorize it and then replace with some mind concept.

Pawel, this way of putting it resonates with me. I've started devoting at least my Friday sits to rising to third jhana and practicing metta, lately while paying attention to areas of heaviness in the heart chakra area and the soler plexus area. My metta is rather nonformulaic. I imagine each person I'm sending to, and I actually "speak" straight from the heart to them. So the messages are individualized, natural, and situational. I start with myself, include my dead father, pull in someone very dear, someone dear, someone neutral, and someone who has harmed me (not that I always do this--sometimes it is just for a few people and me). 

I sat this practice at lunchtime today. I've had a lot of Fear stage stuff the past few days, and I have about 5 friends who are all suddenly having serious problems. Today, as the metta went, I started also just feeling the sensations in that heart area--not "processing" them forcefully to something clean, but just letting them be in my awareness, letting them be awareness, and that lightening and transparency happened on its own with a natural shift into the most serene fourth jhana. I was totally afterglowy for literally hours. Amazing sit. 

I've only lately, at Dream Walker's urging, started to devote more time to metta. It is protective in so many ways, and instructive in ways I never anticipated in an insight/wisdom context, as well as a powers/morality training context.

Jenny
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b man, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 201 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
Jenny:
 I've started devoting at least my Friday sits to rising to third jhana and practicing metta ....


this is a great idea. Ive been trying to figure out how to fit in metta without sacrificing my vipassana and tried for a while to do a small amount of metta at the end of an insight sit, but it never really worked for me. I like the friday thing. Though I might try mondays, as I am already pretty happy on a friday! 
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
I use Fridays because I sit with a meditation club at my workplace at lunchtime, and we sit for only 30 minutes, which is a bit short for me these days with what I'm trying to do with jhana arc and insight practice. It is a nice way to head into the weekend, and I can bring my friends at the sit into that energy.
Small Steps, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 248 Join Date: 2/12/14 Recent Posts
b man:

this is a great idea. Ive been trying to figure out how to fit in metta without sacrificing my vipassana and tried for a while to do a small amount of metta at the end of an insight sit, but it never really worked for me. I like the friday thing. Though I might try mondays, as I am already pretty happy on a friday! 


My experience has been that metta (and other Brahma Vihara practices) are an excellent way to start practice sessions. Unless your concentration is so dialed in that you can plop down on your cushion and it's all systems go, you'll likely be working some form of samatha (breath or otherwise) first. You get a "twofer" with these heart practices: improved and sustained concentration, and an opening to that innate goodness within.

Jenny:

I think of metta/compassion practice as quasi-magickal, or just magickal. I'm lately having insight into not just the usefulness of the magickal perspective, or paradigm, but the necessity of it to awakening to life in its entirety, to Everthing in its textural variability and with its warp.


I find the opposite to be truer for me. Unless you mean to say that the ordinariness of living with a kind heart is so out of the norm these days that to tune into it is like... magic! In which case, I couldn't agree more emoticon

small edit: for clarity and error in attribution
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opening the heart (chakra), curiousity

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Pawel:

By the tme I got to the bottom of this reply, I thought that we are doing and thinking more in common than otherwise.

Pawel:
I never in my life sent metta to anyone and do not intend to do so.

Alrighty then. emoticon I love you too, Pawel, you know.
I do not even believe concept of a person be it me or anyone else, nor ability to send anything and not even in power or meaning of such gesture. 

In the Buddhist framework, which is what I practice under, there is a functional split (yes, split) purposefully maintained between the "ultimate" reality (via insight practices) and relative reality (via morality practice). This informs the separation of the Three Trainings from each other. Because Buddhism, which is conventional, is a construct, is concerned with alleviating suffering by all means possible, and because insight and enlightenment under duality end only one of three kinds of suffering under only one means of ending suffering, part of the practice is morality and skillful living with regard to ourselves and other selves. That's the why for metta practice.

We do not stop functioning as selves in the conventional world; we see through the inherency and independence of self and know directly that it is empty of those characteristics. Nevertheless, I still drive a car to work and imagine that when I have attained 4th path I will still do so rather than merely nondual my way to everywhere at once, with no need to "send" myself hither and thither. Didn't you yourself say it isn't about rejecting or trying to rid ourselves of parts of our reality? Why reject the fabricated living, breathing, texturally specific, polychromatic world?
By working with a chakra I mean specifically working with its characteristic sensation and qualities, completely from its own side and there is never any discrimination for me or others when thing is viewed from its side. 

Its own side? So it has a side?

I think of metta/compassion practice as quasi-magickal, or just magickal. I'm lately having insight into not just the usefulness of the magickal perspective, or paradigm, but the necessity of it to awakening to life in its entirety, to Everthing in its textural variability and with its warp.
I believe that by making myself being overflowed by eg. heard chakra sensations it makes me to have better resnponses and with it what you could call better person.

So here you are distinguishing the boundaries of a "self," which can be overflowed? How does this overflowing exercise differ from "sending" across interpersonal "boundaries"?
Whole trick then is to feel what chakra is giving completely unconditionally and undirected and do absolutely nothing with it, just breathe it in and out and let it into (but not push to) whole body and mind.
Okay. This last part sounds like exactly what I've been discovering my past two sits, interestingly enough: that when I stop pushing or directing "metta" but simply allow, then some wildness happens, including an entrance into a fruition that seems to burst from the heart instead of somewhere in my head. This was a brand new experience for me, and I'm trying to figure out what the heck is up with this! 
Actually idea of sending metta seems very wrong. Maybe it isn't, maybe it is not my style 

I think that it is possible that I was practicing metta conventionally in third, and then at some point went to fourth, and from there the heart-centered practice turned into what you are talking about. I was eased off the whole effort as such and simply allowing, if even that, and noticing. And then that crazy falling in, heart first, happened. This was during only the past two sits.

I'm unsure why the chakras are suddenly a preoccupation for me, but normally these preoccupations turn out to be important to insight. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing with them, if not exactly why.

Heavy metta, 

Jenny

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