"The heart is a muscle, and you strengthen muscles by using them." – Mark Miller
In The Wise Heart, Jack Kornfield tells a magical story about a trip he took to India as a burnt-out meditation teacher. At the tail end of this trip, he spent a few hours with Dipama Barua, who he describes as “one of the most accomplished meditators of the Theravada lineage.” Here’s Jack:
Dipama stroked her hands gently across my head and my whole body. She blew her breath on me and recited loving-kindness chants. At first it seemed like a very long prayer, but as she continued blessing me, I started to feel better and better. After 10 minutes my whole body was tingling and open. I was smiling from ear to ear. ‘Go and teach a good retreat for all those people,’ she said at last. 'Go with mother’s blessings.’ I felt as though a loving grandmother had sent me off with her good wishes, amplified with special yogic powers. I was in bliss.
For the next few days, Jack had a heavenly smile on his face that nothing could take away – not the boiling Calcutta weather, nor the two-hour taxi ride to the airport, nor the endless line-waiting in customs, nor the hours and hours of stuffy plane time ahead of him.
His joyful, uplifted feeling actually lasted for several months – all after a 10-minute blessing by a woman who was fully in her heart.
When I read this story, my whole body yearned to get that same blessing from Dipama. And yet, just by going into my body during meditation and sending love to all of my organs and every inch of my being, I can get a powerful glimpse of that blissful state.
Want to strengthen your heart muscles today? Here is a lovingkindness meditation to get you started.
The kinder you are to yourself, the greater your capacity to shower others with kindness too.
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