In Sanskrit, ‘hridaya’ means heart, and ‘akasha’ means space. Therefore, Hridayakasha Dharana is translated as a technique to focus or concentrate on the heart space. In practice, space also represents a field, and Dharana is a stage of meditation where intensive attuning of awareness occurs. This technique involves getting our awareness attuned to the field of emotions and deeper emotional impressions.
You may find this practice simple or complex, easy or difficult – it depends on the intensity of feeling you generate, as this dharana specifically deals with the intensity of feeling. While practicing, ensure that the intensity of feeling doesn’t alter your mental perception. This type of meditation can easily evoke extreme emotions, so it’s highly recommended to practice Hridayakasha Dharana under the supervision of a qualified teacher.
The psychotherapeutic aspect of meditation aligns with Hridayakasha Dharana, allowing suppressed and blocked impressions to surface. Certain stages of the practice hold immense psychotherapeutic significance and benefits. This Dharana practice directly engages with one’s feelings and emotions, focusing on generating intense feelings and witnessing their manifestations in Hridayakasha.
Guidelines for Practicing Hridayakasha Dharana
When one feels a swelling of emotions, avoid trying to control it; instead, try to witness the reactions and associations with a specific feeling or emotion. The focus is to develop awareness and experience the feelings without moving into the analysis of them. During the practice, through guided instructions, practitioners intensify and then witness their feelings. Key points of the practice are to access, acknowledge, and witness the association with existing or created feelings in the meditative state.
In this process of Dharana, there is active engagement with the spectrum of feelings, and at the same time, there’s the practice of witnessing awareness of inner reactions and experiences. Any effort to suppress feelings is discouraged; rather, through systematic guidance, practitioners are trained to even witness their most challenging emotions and feelings with control.
Stages of Hridayakasha Dharana
Following are the key stages of Hridayakasha Dharana:
1. Existing feeling and flame
In this particular stage, one is guided to acknowledge one’s existing anxiety, mood, happiness, excitement, contentment, peace, silence, etc., or whatever is present at this moment. Behind the existing feeling, see the flame or point of light symbolizing the seat of the soul. Identify with that seat or image of the flame as your being, which is eternal and permanent amidst changes.
2. Colour of the feeling
Focus on seeing the spontaneous color being manifested at the time of observing the feeling. Mainly keep the awareness in Hridayakasha (Heart Space) while watching the feeling and see the space saturated with any spontaneous color at that time.
3. Creating the feeling
In this stage, you create one feeling and then intensify that experience. It prepares the awareness to deal with the reaction or intensity of the feeling. The reactions produced sometimes may associate with a completely different experience and might take another form of feeling. Therefore, one is constantly guided to watch the expressions with detached awareness. These reactions are part of memory activation.
4. Memory enacting
In this particular stage, we bring out the older memories that had impressions created in childhood. During the stage, we dissect and then watch the spectrum of associations with a particular event, person, situation, place, and experience. While going through the stage, we watch the child and its association and reactions with all these situations and the consequent impact on him/her. Secondly, how that is associated at present in Hridayakasha, i.e., the present repercussions.
This stage helps in resolving the impressions (samskaras) associated with one’s experiences of childhood. While observing the past memories from childhood, one is advised to visit one’s past as a visitor. As a detached visitor, one observes all the details relating to experiences of one’s childhood but without analytical judgment. And if certain emotions or feelings relating to one’s past are experienced during that moment, then one is encouraged to acknowledge the presence of reactive impressions with non-reactive awareness.
In the journey of Heart Space Meditation, or Hridayakasha Dharana, we delve into the profound connection between the heart and space. Transcending mere translation, this technique beckons us to focus on the heart chakra, where emotions and impressions unfold in a field of awareness.
Whether simplicity or complexity colors your experience depends on the intensity of emotions evoked. This dharana, a guide to emotional intensity, demands careful practice. Undertake this transformative meditation under the guidance of an experienced teacher, as it navigates the delicate terrain of extreme emotions.