Meditation for an Aching Heart

Learn how to explore, welcome, and accept your toughest emotions to begin to make peace with them.
yoga woman relaxed meditation

Learn how to explore, welcome, and accept your toughest emotions to begin to make peace with them.

Let your body settle into a position of ease and relaxation. Gently close your eyes.

Spend a few minutes tracing the movement of your breath in your body, from its beginning to its end.

Pay particular attention to following your out-breath to its very end. With each out-breath let your body soften and relax. With each out-breath feel the release of tightness and tension.

Now expand your attention to be aware of your whole body and all the different sensations that are arising in it.

Spend some minutes just calmly attending to the spectrum of sensations you feel—the pleasant, the unpleasant, and the neutral.

Bring your attention to an area of your body that has been injured, painful, or ill —it might be your heart, your back or any part of your body that has occupied your attention in a painful way.

As you focus on that part of your body, sense what emotions or images might arise. Be aware of any feelings of fear, anger, tightness, or resistance that appear.

Notice if they affect your body. Your breathing might tighten, your shoulders or jaw or stomach might begin to tense.

Take your attention gently, without judgment, directly to the part of your body that is registering the emotion, and if possible make a quiet mental note of what it is. Note simply, "This is anger," or "This is fear."

Explore the sensation of the emotion in your body, seeing how it changes. Place your attention directly within the feeling, without judgment or trying to get rid of it in any way.

Sense the anger, fear, apprehension, or judgment registering in the sensations in your body.

Sense whether it is possible for you to accept the emotion just as it is, to make peace with it. It too is changing, inviting a compassionate attention.

If memories, thoughts, or judgments begin to flood your mind, just go back to being aware of your breathing for a few minutes.

When you feel there is once more a greater sense of calmness, return your attention to your body and its companion emotions.

Ask yourself whether it is possible for you to welcome, accept, and make peace with those emotions.

When you are ready, open your eyes and gently come out of the posture.