Healer, author and Reiki Master Tanmaya Honervogt explains how living from the heart is essential on your life journey of self-discovery and healing
Kindred Spirit (October 2013)
‘So we let love grow all the way, so we let love grow all the way without end.’ (Unknown source)
These are the words of a song that touched me deeply.
They awaken the longing we all carry; the ordinary human longing for love and harmony. When we give and receive love we are connected through our hearts.
We are able to use the natural qualities of the heart, such as love, joy and peace, as well as understanding, compassion and forgiveness, to help ourselves and others, too. These qualities are essential on our life-journeys of self-discovery and healing. However, it’s a sad fact that in our individual upbringing, we tend to lose the natural qualities of the heart and forget about who we really are.
In the process of growing up, we often learn to do the opposite – to doubt ourselves, to believe that we are wrong, that we are unworthy and unlovable. This is because, as children, we believe and accept what we are told by our ‘elders’ and ‘betters’ and we hear a message of unworthiness a million times as a truth that we cannot challenge.
We all carry hurt and wounding from our past and from our upbringing. From very early on we learn to cover up our emotions, so that we appear to be a ‘good girl’ or a ‘good boy’. Society and our parents want us to be a ‘normal’ child.
In early childhood we realise that if we really need someone to comfort us in our fears and our hurts, and if support is not available, we feel alone or abandoned. Then we quickly learn to close off our emotions. Because we need to survive we start to distance ourselves from our fear, anger, hurt, sadness and pain.
As adults we keep ourselves busy and distracted, so that there can be no room for these unpleasant emotions to bubble up to the surface. We continually practise disconnecting ourselves from our heart and from our feelings. In this way we push ourselves away from the experiences of our own heart and create a mask and a false personality. Later on we may come to believe this to be our true selves.
As we develop spiritually we learn to rise above, and even transcend, our own limitations and self-judgements.
First we need to become aware of our old, ingrained belief systems, our negative thought patterns and our behaviours, before we can let go of them. And we can rest assured in the knowledge that life itself will always confront us with appropriately challenging situations in which we can practise our new, growing awareness with a positive attitude.
On my own journey towards healing, I passed through many phases of feeling ‘wrong’, ‘not good enough’ or ‘not worthy’. My history with my inner work comes through my own experience. I was privileged in being guided by life to meet my spiritual master, Osho, in 1982. Through his presence and teachings, I learned to look deeper inside myself and reconnect with the true ‘me’ that I am and have always been. Guided by him, I learned to meditate and I found out a lot about the mind and human conditioning.
Going through many different therapeutic processes and meditating regularly, I experienced and learnt that all the things I had been looking for, such as happiness, love, joy, peace and contentment, in fact lie within myself. I had to become aware of negative beliefs, emotions and hurts inside me before I could let go of them. This helped me to gain understanding and awareness, and to have compassion for myself.
We all want to be happy and we deserve to be so – this is our birthright. We are here, on this earth, to love ourselves and to enjoy life. When we are born, we bring these qualities of love and joy, happiness and contentment with us. This is our human nature.
All true healing methods channel the energy of love and light. I have learnt a great deal from being a hands-on Reiki healer and teacher. This technique channels the universal (Reiki) energy and I have found this to be particularly helpful for myself and for healing others. Reiki universal life energy, in its very essence, is love, and love is the energy that heals.
I started training in Reiki healing in 1983, in California, and since that time I have explored, learnt and taught a wide range of complementary healing modalities including energy and chakra work, colour therapy, psychic massage, Bach flower remedies, counselling, active and silent-meditation techniques and guided- healing meditations. My personal commitment has always been to the path of healing, meditation and awareness, so that we can come to know our true nature: ‘who we really are’.
Healing From Head to Heart
The healing process I have developed specifically teaches how to ‘come down’ from the head a d to connect with the innocence of the body and the unconditional love that lies within the heart. It helps you to experience the transformational power of the heart, which has its own intelligence and wisdom.
The heart has an enormous capacity and empty space inside; we just need to learn to access this space. We can take anything, such as an uncomfortable feeling or a difficult situation experienced in the past, inside our own heart. We can stay with this feeling or emotion and remain present with it. Then the transforming quality of our heart comes alive.
Healing and transformation
When we say ‘yes’ to our feelings, we experience healing and transformation. The heart is capable of transforming any feeling of sadness, anger, pain, hurt or fear into its opposites, such as joy, compassion, peace, love and understanding. Saying yes’ is acknowledging what we feel. This ‘yes’ brings us in contact with what we experience. It opens the door to a positive way of relating to what we feel.
When we are feeling an emotion, either good or bad, we must spend time with it, face to face, without judging it or wanting it to be different or wanting it to just go away.
If we are able to be gentle and present with our hurts, to own them and not to blame others, then the transforming quality of our heart comes
alive. We can learn to develop a positive attitude in being present with a feeling or emotion. Feelings can come; they can go and can come back again. The first step you can make to help you reconnect with the inner wisdom of your heart is to learn to give yourself a little time and energy for silent moments in your daily life. Then you will know better what love and peace really is.
Four steps towards healing
- Start loving yourself. Start thinking of yourself as being your own best friend – one who values and supports you in everything that you do.
- Become more aware. Become aware of your thoughts and thinking patterns; about your body, your feelings and all the actions you take in your life.
- Rest and be present. When you are really present, you are also aware in that moment. Rest and relaxation helps you to release tension in your body and mind so that you can become more present.
- Realise who you really are. When we rest in ‘beingness’, we have arrived in ourselves. We then know ‘who we really are’. We know our true nature and we know that we are manifestations of love and peace. We are divine beings of light.
Two healing meditations to try
These two healing meditations can help you get in touch again with the natural qualities of the heart, which naturally knows how to relax, enjoy and celebrate life.
1 Joy of the Heart Meditation
This meditation comes from Atisha, an ancient Tibetan mystic.
It is based on the understanding that the deeper we melt into the heart (via the heart chakra) the more we can disappear as a separate ‘I’.
This meditation teaches us to absorb any emotion, anything that causes us suffering, into the empty space of the heart.
All these ‘ghosts’, such as fear, worry, anxiety, struggles, feelings of unworthiness and judgments are welcomed.
As they enter the heart chakra when we breathe in, they dissolve and disappear into the empty space inside the heart.
And once the heart has absorbed and transformed these negative energies, we can breathe out positive energies, such as love, joy and peace.
- Sit relaxed, with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths and sigh deeply on each out-breath. Place your hands on the middle of your chest area (the heart chakra) and connect with your heart.
- Now bring into your mind a current or past situation that has caused, or is causing, you suffering or pain. Breathe in and welcome the feeling. If tears come, just let them. Accept any emotion that arises and allow yourself to move deeply into the simple energy of the feeling, without judging it.
- Embrace the feeling and just be with it for a while, acknowledging it. Now ask the feeling, ‘What do you need from me right now?’ Wait for the answer to come.
- After a little while (perhaps five to ten minutes), as you breathe out, reconnect with a feeling of peace, love or joy, coming from your heart. Allow the out-breath to carry these blessings of peace, love and joy.
2. Connecting with Inner Peace Meditation
This meditation harmonises the heart centre (the fourth chakra) and brings us into contact with the love and peace that emanates from the heart.
The low humming sound harmonises your heart centre. It is a perfect way either to start or end your day.
- Sit with your eyes closed and your hands resting in your lap or on your upper legs. Breathe naturally, in and out, and relax. Make a deep humming sound on each out breath (as long your breath lasts), maintaining the same note all the way through. After five to ten minutes let the humming fade away.
- Place your left hand beneath your right armpit and your right hand beneath your left armpit. Focus your attention on your chest area and allow your heart to become calm Allow a feeling of love and peace to arise from your heart. Enjoy this feeling for about five to ten minutes.