Open Hearts

 

hearts

How do you hug? I know this is a rather odd question, but think about it for a moment. Do you put your arms around someone with your head toward the left and their head toward your right, or is it just the opposite? Perhaps because I’m right-handed, it’s always been my habit to hug toward the left. However, I’ve learned that hugging toward the right is best because that aligns your heart with the other person’s. While it may feel awkward to change your hugging habits, you’ll likely find that heart-to-heart hugs foster a deeper connection. The next time you go to hug someone remember, “Right is right” and hug in that direction to open your heart to the other person.

You may be thinking, “Whoa! I’m not going to open my heart to another. That’s too risky.” We’ve probably all experienced the pain of a broken heart at one time or another. In order to keep from being hurt again, you may have chosen to protect yourself by not allowing your heart to be open and vulnerable. While a certain degree of guardedness can be a good thing, for instance, not getting into a car with a stranger or taking on someone else’s misery can be wise self-preservation. However, closing your heart off pushes people away and can lead to loneliness and lack of intimate, meaningful connection.

Opening our hearts can make a positive difference in our lives and relationships. An open heart increases our ability to love, to forgive, to be generous and compassionate. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, when your heart is open to love, when you feel worthy of being loved (all love must begin with self-love), when you come from a place of love, that’s what you attract.

In addition to hugging the “right” way, there are a number of other practices that can create open hearts:

An easy place to start is with your posture, drawing your shoulders back and down while raising your sternum.

Praying on another’s behalf both opens and uplifts the heart.  Plus, it’s much more positive than worrying.

If you practice yoga, there are many poses that are heart-openers: Bridge, Wheel, Cobra, Upward-facing Dog, Fish, Bow, Camel, Gate, and Crescent.

The meditative practices of Loving-kindness and Tonglen increase your level of compassion for yourself and others.

What have you found most helpful in opening your heart?