Healthy Living – How to Find Alignment Between Your Heart and Mind
I do a gratitude meditation every morning that is working for me. I’m sharing because it might work for you. I do this meditation because I want my heart and mind to be in alignment. I have come to understand that I have caused the most damage to my relationships with others and myself when I am not in alignment with my heart and mind. They are two different animals that don’t always play on the same team. In order for me to be my best self, I need them to practice getting along. I need my heart to take the lead. Here’s how I am doing so.
Especially now – with so much anger and fear permeating our climate. You can’t be grateful and angry simultaneously. So every day in the first moments of waking I have to make my first choice: grateful or fear? What kind of person do I want to be? The obvious conclusion for me is that I want to be grateful.
BTW: I originally learned this from Tony Robbins and after doing it for awhile adapted it for me.
It starts with deep breathing. I try to imagine my breathing oscillating up and down my spine.
I do this as long as needed. Then I hold my breath and listen to my beating heart like I’m under water. That’s the first thing I am grateful for: my beating heart. It’s the only heart like it in the entire Universe. It was given to me for a reason, which is the second thing I’m grateful for (currently) because I have the wonderful opportunity of discovering the purpose of my heart every single day. In doing so, I am better able to let go of all the unknowns. I trust that the unknowns will unveil themselves perfectly as they are destined to do so. I trust that as long as I’m doing my work, my practice of being healthy, that things will be as they should. I am getting better every day.
Still with a focus on breathing into my heart, I consider who I want to be.
What kind of person do I want to be? What are my values? Since I’m a word man, I think it terms of words. They come and go with my breath. Words like self respect, integrity, confidence, creativity, committed parent (family), connection, love, courage. I start breathing those words into my heart. They’re like daily vitamins for my heart.
Then I start to let my mind into this… my mind wants to go through the “to-do” list for the day.
That’s fine. I’m compassionate with myself and understand that it’s a commitment to myself. My mind wanders. It wants to solve “problems” and mull over complexities and contradictions that exist between my mind and heart. It wants to worry about things that are currently without a solution. Once I open this door, I succumb to letting in those thoughts. Interestingly, that’s the moment my heart feels the squeeze and my stomach feels knotted and nervous. I start breathing deep into my belly and ready myself for a transition to get my heart and my mind in alignment.
I think of my all-time great gratitudes. Most of the gratitudes I acknowledge are day-of or recent gratitudes.
For example, a recent gratitude is of my almost 8 year old daughter doing the dishes with a smile and saying, “How about some music, Dad? If I’m going to be standing at this sink doing dishes, the least you could do is play music.” I love my daughter. That moment made me smile. I’m grateful for it. But it’s not an all-time great gratitude. Not yet anyway. It’s an in-the-moment gratitude that forces me to be present. Very important for sure because I’m always trying to combat time traveling far into the future or back into the past. The idea, for me, of thinking of the all-time great gratitudes is to get my heart and my mind-body into alignment.
Making sure I have my hand on my heart, I breathe deep (again) into my heart and conger a few all-time great gratitudes.
Like the morning of February 4th 2009, after having been up all night with Kaitlin in labor with Ella, and being witness to the power of the Mother birthing a child into the world, and the birth workers who were present, and Patti and Irma present with camera and pot roast and support. Then finally, the sun coming through the windows and our daughter Ella Rose entering the world in the comfort of our own home and how I made eggs and toast for Kaitlin afterward and held my new daughter as she nourished herself. This is an all-time great gratitude. I step into that memory. I am there again. I hear what I would hear then. I see what I would see then. I fill myself up with that all-time great gratitude. I hold that for a moment.
I then consider how I smile when I feel that gratitude. What’s the look on my face? How am I holding my body? How am I breathing when I’m grateful?
I do this once or twice more. I go to whatever all-time great gratitude that was magical, tremendous and I breathe it and fill up with it.
I step into it and ask ‘What was I so grateful for?’ Or it could be coincidences in the moment, that in retrospect, had a deeper and more significant purpose for entering my life. I hone in on that initial “coincidence” and all the insights and value that resulted from it. I always ask, ‘Was it a coincidence or was I guided?’
Now here is the most important part of the process. Do this to find alignment between your heart and mind.
I return to breathing into my heart. I think about a situation in my life that is unfinished business, or something that is unresolved, or something that is unknown. Maybe it’s something that is stressing me out. I keep breathing. By now I am in a good state so it’s a good opportunity explore these unknowns. I say to myself ‘All I need to focus on… All I need to remember is … (what is it?)… All I need to do in this situation … (is what?).’
Your heart knows the answer. Your heart knows the answer. Your heart knows the answer.
Your mind might not always like the answer. If you practice this meditation enough, you’ll start to find alignment and acceptance between your heart and mind. This is what’s working for me.
Your next steps might be to make a list of your all-time great gratitudes. Your next step might be to give this meditation a try. You don’t have to get it right to get it going. Your next step might be to start a conversation with me about this. I’m your healthy living agent. Subscribe to receive updates here.