One – Four – Two.
This is a simple breathing exercise, which helps us to bring rhythm to our breathing. It is based on the principles of pranayama, but is quite a simple exercise. When we breathe in we repeat one long mantra, such as, “Supreme”. We then hold our breath, as we quickly repeat the mantra four times. Finally, we then exhale, counting twice as our breath is exhaled. The mantra we choose is not important, but I prefer to choose a mantra, rather than just count numbers. This is because a mantra like, “Supreme”, embodies a Cosmic energy.
Like any meditation exercise, we need to be as focused as possible on our breathing and exercise. Also, we should avoid repeating the mantra mechanically. When we breathe in, we should feel that we are breathing in a real sense of peace and revitalising energy. When we hold our breath, we can feel this energy spreading through the body. Personally, when I hold the breath, I feel my consciousness is inside my heart; when we do this it is easy to become aware of our own heart beat. Finally, when we breathe out, we can imagine that we are exhaling all our useless and undivine thoughts.
Sri Chinmoy suggests this exercise can bring tremendous purity and energy into our system. Because it is energising, it is not advisable to do late at night. As with any pranayama exercise, we should be careful we do not put any strain on our respiratory organs; if we feel it is difficult to hold our breathe for four counts, we can try other exercises. In the beginning, it is best to practise this exercise for a short period; over time we can extend the time we spend on it.
The Spiritual Heart.
If we focus our attention on our spiritual heart, over time we begin to feel the awakening of this psychic centre (or chakra). The spiritual heart is located in the centre of our chest, very close to our physical heart. It is in the heart that we can feel most easily the presence of peace and unconditional love. It is in our heart that our soul is located; when we enter deep into the heart, our thoughts lose their power to disturb. It is only when we live in the mind, that our thoughts feel overwhelming. The nature of the mind is to welcome thoughts, but our heart naturally identifies with the expansive qualities of meditation. To enter into the heart, we can feel that we have no existence, apart from the heart. We can imagine throwing our mind into the heart. When meditating in the heart, we should identify ourselves as being deep inside the heart. To enter into the consciousness of the heart we can try a few things.
- Listen to our heart beat.
- Imagine a small disc of light rotating in the centre of the chest. This is similar to the sensation of the heart chakra. – From imagination we can bring to the fore the reality.
- Repeat the mantra. “I am in the heart, I am the heart”
By: R.Pettinger, Oxford Sri Chinmoy Centre