Why Opening Your Heart is The Doorway to Mindfulness
Our mind tends to be overly stimulated and burdened in this fast-paced life. More than ever, we need mindfulness, the ability to be in the present moment, be aware, and not be overly reactive to what happens around us. What is the relevance of the heart to mindfulness? Can opening the heart elevate mindfulness?
What goes through your busy mind
Let’s try this experiment. Pause and do nothing for 30 seconds.
What went through your mind? Did you wonder if you had already locked the door? Did you suddenly remember your neighbor’s shirt color? Did you dwell on the details of the work you submitted to your teacher, boss, or client? Did you lament that 30 seconds felt like forever? If yes, you’re one of many who have an overactive mind. Research suggests that 73% of 25- to 35-year-olds chronically overthink, along with 52% of people ages 45 to 55.
Having an overactive mind seems to be a normal response to the fast-paced life we’re living in. However, this condition is closely associated with stress and anxiety. When left unchecked, it can severely impact your physical and mental health and interfere with your ability to make decisions and carry out daily tasks.
For instance, have you ever found it hard to sleep even though you’re tired because your mind won’t stop talking? Have you ever made a careless mistake at work because you’re distracted by your phone or other things? Have you ever been irritated when your loved ones asked about minor stuff because your mind felt so full? Those are some indications that your overworked mind has impacted your life, and not in a good way.
There are some signs of an overworked mind:
- Overactive mind that cannot stop thinking.
- Ceaseless random thoughts, mind chatter and worries, even during resting time.
- Being easily distracted.
- Becoming easily offended, impatient, and emotional.
Whether you are an executive, an entrepreneur, an office worker, a student, or a parent, life can overwhelm us with its problems and challenges. While we cannot stop them, we can manage our response. To help our busy minds disengage from unnecessary thoughts, worries, distractions, and negative emotions or patterns, we need a method that can balance the mind and help us achieve mindfulness, preferably a method that will not overwork our minds further.
A different way to achieve mindfulness is through the heart
What is mindfulness? There are many definitions of mindfulness, but we feel mindful.com sums it up the best:
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Going by this definition, we can explore the possibility that there is another way to achieve mindfulness besides exercising the mind. In fact, there is a different method to exercise mindfulness that does not rely on the mind to do the heavy lifting. That is through the heart.
Relevance of the heart in mindfulness
Have you ever wondered why a baby’s smile feels so purely happy and peaceful? If yes, you might have just witnessed the wondrous power of the heart. The heart that we refer to here is the non-physical one. You can’t see it, but you might have felt its influence at some points in your life.
Why babies smile so beautifully is an enigma. This smile can occur even without the presence or reference to any external stimulus. More amazingly, babies start smiling even before birth and continue to do so as newborns. For a long time, neonatal smiling was considered just an innate reflex. However, new research suggests that newborn smiles might be an actual expression of joy and happiness.
The heart is the deepest center of human consciousness,
and it is also the center of peacefulness and happiness.
Every human being is born with a physical body, including the brain and non-physical parts like the heart. Every part of us has its own role, but they are interconnected. The heart influences the mind, and vice versa. The brain is the center of thoughts. Meanwhile, the heart is the center of peacefulness and happiness. When the brain and the heart work harmoniously, they bring balance. The brain enables us to analyze, plan and find ways to execute the plan, while the heart keeps us centered and calm even when facing problems.
This left us with a question: If each human has this amazing heart aside from the brain, why is it hard for many people to feel calm and happy? Why do many people often feel overwhelmed and unable to tame their minds from going into overdrive?
An overly brain-dominant lifestyle makes many people out of tune with their hearts.
The development of human civilization is closely related to the evolution of the human brain. It is no wonder that our culture prizes cognitive intelligence. Schools are designed to exercise the mind. Many jobs require us to exert our brains to calculate, analyze, make plans, innovate, and so on. More so in today’s age, when everything moves so fast, and competition is stiff, we try to keep our minds alert and sacrifice resting time so we don’t miss any opportunities.
The more we overexert the brain, the more the balance is disrupted, and the heart becomes more suppressed. We gave time and space to our hearts when we were still young. We didn’t find it silly to feel happy and smile for no reason. However, as we grew older, we prioritized more on getting our tasks done, and we didn’t give enough opportunities for our hearts to function. Hence, it was harder for us to feel happy and peaceful. It almost feels impossible to experience these feelings without any precedents.
But, by reawakening and using the heart, all parts of our being will become calmer and more peaceful, including the brain itself. We become present and aware, but also grateful and happy – like mindfulness that is easier and more natural, and with special bonuses.
Reconnecting with the heart is possible
Despite being long ‘ignored,’ the heart does not lose its function. The heart has been playing its role in the background, in moments when you have felt happy and grateful. Your heart needs you to recognize and start using it consciously to enable it to fully regain its ability to radiate peacefulness and happiness to your whole being, including your mind.
There are some steps to help you reconnect with your heart:
- Recognizing the difference between the heart and the mind.
- Opening and strengthening the heart.
- Letting the heart help to relax and calm the mind.
- Stopping the bad habits that suppress the heart in your daily life.
- Habituating yourself in using the heart and mind harmoniously in your daily life.
Just like when learning to ride a bike, it takes time and repetition to acquire the habit of using both the heart and mind in your daily life. You also need to recognize when you are using the heart or the mind. This can be quite challenging when you are more used to using your mind. You might try to sense the heart through the mind instead of experiencing the heart as it is supposed to be.
Natural Way of Living is launching a new “Open Heart Mindfulness” program. In this interactive workshop, you will be invited to do simple yet effective exercises to open your heart and let it help you disengage from distractions and negative emotions or patterns. Experienced instructors will also guide you to let go to fully experience the heart and recognize the habits that unintentionally inhibit your heart and disrupt the heart-mind balance. By opening your heart, you will experience the happiness and benefits of both mindfulness and heartfulness at the same time.
Open Heart Mindfulness by Natural Way of Living
Learn this natural & comprehensive mindfulness method to help you clear your mind, be fully aware and be more happily engaged with the present moment.
Join our Open Heart program series
Click here to see workshop schedules and get more information.