Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Heartfulness Practice

There are two types of meditation that I practice, mindfulness and heartfulness.The focus of mindfulness practice is on your cognitions, or how you think. The focus of heartfulness practice is on your emotions, or how you feel.

The relationship between how you think and how you feel isn’t binary or mutually exclusive; as it happens, my view is that your emotions are a compound of the cognitions of your mind and the sensations of your body, which is exactly what makes them so very strong and complicated.

As a matter of fact I could practice a third type of meditation that focuses on my sensations, such as a body scan. The good feeling run is this type of meditation, although it has a strong emotional and kindness component. In any case, the exercise is the same in all three meditations—observing yourself without judgment, you’re just applying this to these different aspects of yourself. One thing that you’ll observe is that your cognitions, your emotions, and your sensations come and go, whereas you who observe don’t come and go. I’ve heard it said this way: you’re not your thoughts or your feelings, you’re the one who’s having these thoughts and feelings.

In other words, you’re not to be ruled by your thoughts or your feelings.

The object, though, isn’t that you should rule your thoughts and feelings with an iron fist! They’re pretty powerful, and there’s a lot of them. The exercise is to observe them without judgment as they come and go, and get to know them before you start telling them what to do. This is where I've stayed with mindfulness practice since I started.

Whereas that which is popularly called lovingkindness practice, but following Bodhipaksa from Wildmind I prefer to think of as just kindness practice, has a bit of something that you're working on, the aforementioned lovingkindness or kindness. He doesn't call it heartfulness, but he does say something about this is the soil and this is the seed and I would say that heartfulness is the soil and kindness is a flower that I'm trying to grow in the soil.

Anyway. I wrote a guide, here you go: Kindness Practice. Well, you probably don't have a chain of planets. You could use mala beads or make flashcards or whatever.

[ETA: Here's a shorter version with just the reflections to direct at yourself and one other person, which I actually recommend limiting to if you're just starting out. Short Kindness Practice.]