In Sanskrit hridaya means heart and akasha means space. Therefore Hridayakasha Dharana is translated as a technique to focus or concentrate on the heart space. Here from the point of view of the practice, space also represents field and Dharana is a stage of meditation where intensive attuning of awareness takes place. This technique of Hridayakasha Dharana is a process of getting our awareness attuned to the field of emotions and deeper emotional impressions.
You may find this practice simple and easy, or you may find it complex and difficult. It all depends on the intensity of feeling you are able to generate, because this particular dharana deals with intensity of feeling. While doing this practice makes sure that the intensity of feeling does not alter your mental perception. In this type of meditation it is very easy to feel totally depressed or totally elated. Therefore it is highly recommended that this technique of Hridayakasha Dharana should be practiced under the supervision of a qualified teacher.
The psychotherapeutic aspect of meditation is actually a form of hridayakasha dharana because many impressions which are suppressed and blocked are allowed to surface. There are certain stages of the practice which are of immense psychotherapeutic significance and benefits. This Dharana practice deals directly with one’s feelings and emotions. Focus here is to generate the feelings or emotions to their full intensity and witnessing the manifestations in Hridayakasha.
When one feels swelling of emotions; avoid trying to control it; try to witness the reactions and associations with a specific feeling or emotion. Focus is to develop the awareness and experience of the feelings without moving into analysis of the feelings. During the practice through guided instructions practitioners are guided to intensify and then witness their feelings. Key points of the practice are to access, acknowledge, and witness the association with the existing or created feelings in the moment in meditative state.
In this process of Dharana there is active engagement with the spectrum of feelings and at the same time practice of witnessing awareness of inner reactions/experiences. Any effort to suppress the feelings is discouraged rather through systematic guidance practitioners are trained to even witness their most challenging emotions and feeling with control.
Following are the key stages of Hridayakasha Dharana
In this particular stage one is guided to acknowledge one’s existing Anxiety, mood, happiness, excitement, contentment, peace, silence etc. or whatever is present at this moment.
Behind the existing feeling see the flame or point of light symbolizing the seat of the soul. Identify with that seat or image of the flame as your being which is eternal and permanent amidst changes.
Focus to see the spontaneous colour being manifesting at the time of observing the feeling. Mainly keep the awareness in Hridayakasha (Heart Space) while watching the feeling and see the space saturated with any spontaneous colour at that time.
In this stage you create one feeling and then intensify that experience. It prepares the awareness to deal with the reaction or intensity of the feeling. The reactions produced sometimes may associate with completely different experience and might take another form of feeling. Therefore one is constantly guided to watch the expressions with detached awareness. These reactions are part of memory activation.
In this particular stage we bring out the older memories which had impressions created in childhood. During the stage we dissect and then watch the spectrum of associations with a particular event, person, situation, place and experience. While going through the stage we watch the child and its association and reactions with all these situations and consequent impact on him/her and secondly how that it associated at present in Hridayakasha i.e. the present repercussions.
This stage helps in resolving the impressions (samskara) associated with one’s experiences of childhood. While observing the past memories from childhood one is advised to visit one’s past as a visitor. As a detached visitor one observes all the details relating to experiences of one’s childhood but without analytical judgement. And if certain emotions or feelings relating to one’s past are experienced during that moment then one is encouraged to acknowledge the presence of reactive impressions with non-reactive awarenes.
Sushant is Meditation & Philosophy Teacher and Academic Director at Rishikesh Yogis. Sushant carries long years of experience teaching practical as well as philosophical aspects of Kundalini yoga, Kriya yoga, Hatha Yoga and Tantra philosophy.