in yoga practice, the heart centre is called anahata.
anahata means the sound that is made without striking one thing upon another (as with a drum or gong). it is regarded as the sound of the celestial realm and holds balance, calm and tranquility. this is a space where we can connect with ourselves, with others and with spirit.
the heart, in many western cultures, was, and often still is, regarded as the seat of emotion. warm-hearted people are attractive, while the opposite is true of those who might be regarded as cold-hearted.
as the years pass, the heart can become a space that holds fear…heart attack? pacemaker? high blood pressure? coronary artery disease? valve replacement? cancer and heart disease are now neck and neck for the dubious honour of number 1 killer, both in the US and the UK, with cancer just beginning to overtake heart disease. in the UK more women die of heart disease than breast cancer.
and to find the amazing heart, read on…
~ every day the average human heart beats around 70 times per minute—100,000beats per day. ~ though it’s a muscle, the heart never gets fatigued. ~ it will beat more than 2.5 billion times by the time we are 70. ~ our blood travels 19,000 km every day—the equivalent of london to hong kong and back. ~ it pumps 7,200 litres of blood every day. (“the surgeon who fell in love with broken hearts”, the i, 12 june 2018)
and what of the anahata, the space of tranquility and balance? what can we do to foster calm with each heart beat, with each ‘unstruck sound’ that can take us to the celestial realm?
recently i heard the sound as i walked barefoot in the grass and felt each blade tickle the soles of my feet. i smelled roses in the air. my heart was calm. then i chopped bok choy and onions for my lunch, and seasoned them with toasted sesame oil and soya sauce. my heart was calm, beating the unstuck sound. later, i spoke with a friend who lives far away, giving thanks for (some of) the amazing technology i have available. my heart was at peace. it becomes more possible to hear the anahata sound in the small things as we become elders, as we become more conscious.
not every day is filled with sunshine and roses. and yet, the heart space remains, the anahata, the space of the celestial realm. it is with us at all times, always available. we need only remember the sound.