Let's first talk about the experience of awakening the heart in meditation. It begins with a feeling of pleasurable peace around the center of your chest. Then, from the center of your chest, you feel an opening. You can actually feel it on the physical level. Although physically nothing is happening, the experience is not just subtle, it is quite noticeable.
Most who practice meditation on a daily basis can relate to the experience of pain in the solar plexus or the center of the chest. This is the energy moving against blocks in this area of the body. Many people give up meditation at this point because this pain seems to be never ending, and with the pain comes the feeling of being separate from everything.
But when your heart begins to awaken in meditation, this pain is gone. Instead there is a feeling of an opening. It is very pleasant. Sometimes it may feel as though your whole ribcage is opening up. But again, it is not painful nor is anything actually happening at the physical level that you need to worry about.
Heart awakening might feel like a hole in your chest, not in a negative way but as an opening, and out of that opening flows divine energy which is felt as unconditional love, peace or bliss. It can even feel as though you are breathing out of this opening. And as the energy flows out of this opening, the opening expands, and as the opening expands, more energy flows out of this center. You begin to radiate divine energy (Shakti) from the center of your chest.
When you experience your heart awakening, you feel absolutely complete, in want of nothing. You feel unconditional love in a way that is beyond all emotion.
Often people mistake heart awakening as simply an emotional experience. Perhaps emotion may be there at times, but this experience of unconditional love is completely beyond emotion. It leaves you completely fulfilled, completely at peace.
Heart awakening takes you completely beyond yourself as you know yourself to be. The â€œmeâ€ with all of its problems, worries and self importance seems to be completely absent. You expand beyond the sense of separateness into your true nature of unconditional peace. You feel unconditional joy.
This is usually known as the first level of self realization.
Meditation is often the main practice used for heart awakening to happen. It is most important to really allow yourself to feel whatever sensations are here. With this practice you learn to surrender more and more into this moment, allowing the heart to awaken.
The use of prana/breathing techniques can also be very helpful. Most importantly, Shaktipat / Deeksha from a fully enlightened teacher is usually needed for full heart awakening to happen.
Try this breathing-meditation technique based on Japa that can be very helpful to awaken the heart: While you sit in meditation, silently repeat the name of a saint, Guru or God of your choice once on the inhale and once on the exhale. Or if you prefer, repeat â€œI amâ€ once on the inhale and once on the exhale and notice the feeling of simply â€œbeing.â€
Start with your hands and fingers touching in front of the center of your chest as though you are in prayer. As you inhale, slowly and silently repeat the name you have chosen allowing the breath to move into your chest and solar plexus and then exhale repeating the name. Breathe deeply.
So if you have chosen â€œI am,â€ silently repeat â€œI amâ€ on the inhale and â€œI amâ€ on the exhale, allowing the breath to move into your chest and solar plexus.
After a few minutes, place your hands flat on top of each other just below the back of your neck so that your elbows are pointing upward, arms gently touching your head expanding your chest. Repeat with the inhale and exhale as before.
These two hand positions help open up the chest and heart center so that prana can flow into the various energy channels surrounding the heart.
After a few minutes, simply sit with your hands folded on your lap or flat on your thighs. Sit in meditation with your eyes closed and continue to repeat the name on the inhale and exhale allowing the breath to move into your chest and solar plexus.
If you practice this technique on a daily basis you will begin to experience deep healing, and joy which will help lead you into heart awakening. Even when you are not practicing the technique, throughout your day you will begin to experience a sense of deep peace moving through you.
But the most important factor in awakening the heart is Shaktipat/Deeksha. Shaktipat/Deeksha is the spiritual energy that effortlessly awakens your heart from the inside out. It is the divine energy we spoke about before, the underlying energy of peace at the essence of everything. And this underlying current of peace moves through you awakening you into your natural state of peace.
Usually you would receive Shaktipat/deeksha through a fully enlightened guru but you can also receive Shaktipat through sound. There is a unique CD that has recorded Shaktipat/Deeksha with special sound equipment and turned it into music. So simply by listening to some beautiful meditation music, you receive Deeksha and heart awakening / self realization effortlessly happens.