Regardless of your experience or familiarity with meditation, sitting alone in silence can at times be challenging. Guided meditations are a great tool to focus your mind, kindle your imagination, and enliven your practice.
This guided meditation brings our awareness to our Heart Center. This is the seat of our soul where we can connect with the creator and all of creation. Most individuals identify only with their physical body and limited perspective, their ego. Through spiritual practice, however, one can progress by detaching their identity from their body to identify wholly with God.
From our heart center, we can come to know our life’s purpose and a boundless love for ourselves and others, inviting a harmonious joy and sense of unity with the world. Opening your heart center requires devotion and positive intention.
Regarding the spiritual heart center, the spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy wrote,
You have to feel that there is something called the spiritual heart, which is inside the physical heart. Then you have to feel that inside the spiritual heart there is something called the soul. First open the heart-door. Once you are inside the heart, feel that you are trying to unlock another door.
That is the door of the soul.
You are the soul, which is unlimited. Your soul is infinitely powerful. Your soul defies all time and space.
Whether guiding yourself or another through these meditations, allow for a comfortable pause whenever you’d like to focus on a specific exercise. Each should be repeated for several cycles of breath or until you are ready to move on. Enjoy!
Guided Meditation for Self-Love
Begin by finding a tall seat. Rest your hands lightly on your thighs and gently close your eyes. Without changing anything, bring your awareness to your breath. Simply observe the sensations as your breath moves in and out of your body – the rise and fall of the belly, the chest, the movement of air at the tips of the nostrils, the quiet oceanic noise of the air flowing in and out. Allow each breath to calm the body, your mind, and focus your awareness on the present moment. (pause to practice breath awareness)
Begin to deepen and slow down your breath. Make each inhale and exhale smooth and steady. (pause) Now, inhale and imagine that you are taking in energy from the soles of your feet. Watch as the energy ascends through the back of your body to the crown of your head. Exhale and watch the energy descend down the front of your body back through the soles of the feet. Visualize the energy having a quality of light and purity, removing darkness and negativity from your body. Repeat this exercise for several breath cycles.
Now center your awareness in your spiritual heart located in the center of your chest. Connect with the rhythm of your heartbeat. To help, hold your breath at the top of an inhale for a few seconds. Simply observe your breath and heartbeat. (pause for several cycles of breath)
Keeping the awareness of your heartbeat, inhale and visualize a bright, warm, harmonious light deep, deep inside your being shining forth from the center of your chest. Exhale and feel this light carry divine love, peace, and bliss through your body. With each inhale, imagine the light intensifying and growing around you. Perhaps it has a color or movement. On your exhales, let the peaceful feelings grow within you as your body releases and relaxes.
Your heart center is the seat of your soul where harmonious union with the world resides. Unlocking that energy, you recognize the singularity of existence and foster a divine love within you for yourself and all of creation.
Return your awareness to your heartbeat. Observe how your body breathes itself free from your control. (pause) Take your awareness deeper within you. Visualize your body as a vehicle and your mind as an instrument for your soul. Try to locate your sense of self deep within your body. (pause)
Now, visualize a vast blue sky in the center of your chest. Floating in the center of the sky, in the center of your chest, is a bright blue flower. Inhale, and watch as the flower grows and blossoms. Give your flower a quality to harness: love, purity, humility, devotion, strength. On your exhale FEEL that quality growing within you, showering down through your body. Feel a radiant energy coursing through you.
Continue with this or one of the previous exercises until you feel ready to end your meditation.
When you are ready, gently invite your awareness back to your breath and the physical sensations of your body. Try to hold on to the feelings of peace, joy, and love that you’ve cultivated, remembering that your breath and awareness of the present are your portals back to the harmonious union with your soul and the rest of creation.
Sujantra McKeever is the founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, which serves over 1,000 yogis a week, and also helped create Pilgrimage Yoga Online. He is the author of five books on eastern philosophy, success and meditation. Sujantra studied meditation with spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy and has lectured on meditation and yoga in over 30 countries.