Atisha's Heart Meditation
Transforming Suffering into Love
Modern therapy or spiritual human growth movements often call for 'getting rid of' or exhaling negativity and suffering and inhaling positivity.
The amazing thing is: the exact opposite brings about lasting transformation!
ATISHA, a Buddhist master from India who taught in Tibet, explored this truth and formed his insight into THE HEART MEDITATION.
This meditation uses the power of compassion to transform pain and suffering into love.
ATISHA, 982-1054 CE
Indian Buddhist Master, who reintroduced Buddhism into Tibet.
HOW TO DO THE MEDITATION
The essential method is to inhale suffering into the center of the chest, the heart center, and exhale love. You may be surprised at how simple this is.
Atisha's heart meditation can be done for any number of minutes, in 1-4 or more steps. Each step is suggested to be around 10 mins but can be more or less, depending on your inner judgement and feeling.
You sit in a comfortable, upright position. You can play soft music if you wish.
With the IN-BREATH imagine or feel that you are breathing suffering and pain into your heart center, in the middle of your chest. You may also be able to feel the love that is always in your heart. Breathe out again as if your nose were in the center of your chest. BREATH OUT all this energy of suffering as love.
1. breathe in your own suffering and breathe out love.
2. breathe in the suffering of everyone you know and breathe out love.
(between step 2 and 3 you may want to insert smaller steps of including your town, your land, your continent - before you expand to the world)
3. breathe in the suffering of the world and breathe out love.
4. finally, sit and rest and observe how you feel.
It is important NOT to force anything. Feel into your heart, see what it does on its own and be respectful to what is felt as your capacity in the moment. Expand the meditation each time as far as it flows without a forced effort. It is fine to just do it for your own suffering or for just a few people you know. It may feel differently every time you do it.
If you practice this heart meditation regularly over a period of time, you will probably notice changes in relating with yourself and others. You may feel more centered in your heart than in your head in your daily life.
We are very conditioned to solve problems in the head. Of course, the thinking mind is a very useful tool. But, it ha a habit of pretending to be "boss" when it should only be a serving part in our brain. Moving from the head to the heart will change the quality of your life and enrich it with calm, compassionate love for all that is.
If you work with people, Atisha meditation can help dissolve fears of "taking on other people's negativity."
Guided Meditation on our YouTube Channel
Especially in case you feel a bit strange towards this technique it is helpful to use the recordings with music and guidance.