The Heartwork process enables you to find your own unique way of looking into yourself. Guided Heartwork gives you an opportunity to directly experience the "classical” Heartwork process of surrendering into and through layer after layer of your false self until you arrive back in your true home. You can do this exercise alone or with another person facilitating your process. To assist you further in this exercise, the sequence is recorded on the CD included with my book, Heartwork: How To Get What You Really, Really Want, or you can order the CD separately from the Heartwork Institute, Inc., by visiting the institute's website: www.awakentheheart.org.
The following sequence, while representative of the stages that generally unfold during the course of a Heartwork session, may vary from person to person:
It is very important that you are physically comfortable. Being able to forget about your body as much as possible will allow you to focus all your attention on your internal process.
First, make any necessary adjustments in your environment. Where in the room would you be most comfortable? Where do you want your facilitator to be in relation to you, and in what bodily position? If the room is too warm or too cool for your maximum comfort, adjust the temperature. If the room is too bright or dark, change the lighting. Adjust anything that interferes with your maximum physical comfort. Now find the most comfortable position for your body. You may be most comfortable sitting erect, slouching, lying down (on your back, side, or stomach), or in some other position. Ask your body what position it would most like to be in right now, and assume that position.
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and allow yourself to relax as much as possible. If you have difficulty letting go of some of the surface tensions, just watch your breath come in and go out for a few minutes until you feel as relaxed as you can be at this time.
It is very helpful to adopt an open, friendly, curious attitude towards whatever you encounter on your inward journey. This welcoming attitude will allow you to "witness" your process non-judgmentally, making it easier to see whatever is there because you have a more aware and less "attached" mind-state.
Defining the Problem
Define your problem as clearly and concisely as possible. Ask yourself: "What is it I would like to change as a result of doing this process?" If you have no clearly defined issue, you can simply ask yourself: "Of all the issues that are present in my life, which one most needs my attention right now?" Allow the issue needing attention to choose itself by coming to the foreground. You can ask: "If I had encountered a genie who was willing to grant me one wish, what would that wish be?" If some problem other than the one you had intended to work on demands your attention, even if it seems irrelevant to the original problem, trust it and go with that issue.
Locating the Problem
With curiosity and an open attitude, look around in your body to find the area where the problem is centered, where it is experienced as blocked energy, stress, anxiety, tension, or pain. "Body" refers to that place where you experience not only physical sensations, but also senses in a more subtle way. Notice how deep inside your body it sits. You can work with thoughts or mental metaphors, sensations, feelings, or visual images in this process.
Keeping your attention focused in this inner feeling-space, describe in as much detail as possible, what you experience here. If you have difficulty getting in touch with what is happening in this place, you may find it helpful to ask curious questions, such as: "How big is it? What's its shape? What color is it? What is it made of? What is the texture of its surface? What does it smell like? What is the feel of this thing? What's it like? What would this part of me say if it could talk?" Vivid visual imagery, memories, and intense feelings often arise at this stage of the inward-looking process.
Slowly and carefully, move your awareness toward and ultimately into the very center, or point of greatest intensity, of this feeling-space. You may find it helpful to follow these steps:
- Allow your awareness to get close enough to the feeling-space to be able to experience the energy coming out of it. It is similar to feeling the heat a hot stove gives off when you walk past it. What is emanating from this place inside you that you have spent most of your life avoiding?
- Make direct contact with the "surface" of the space. Can you get close enough to this thing inside yourself to actually "touch" the surface of it with your awareness? What is it like? How does it feel?
- "Move" into the surface layer. Can you find a way to get inside it, to become one with it, to experience what this surface layer that splits you in two is like from the inside? Can you determine exactly what it is made of? Take your time so you can experience every step of this most incredible journey. In so doing, you will begin to see exactly how you work and who you really are: the real "you" beyond all your ideas, beliefs, and images of who or what you thought you were.
- Move through this layer into the interior while still being in contact with the surface from the inside. What is it like to be inside it? How does it feel? What do you sense in this space? Rest here for a few minutes and let yourself be. Let whatever wants to come into your consciousness arise: thoughts, feelings, images, memories, or sensations.
- Let go of your grip on the surface layer and let yourself be drawn inwards, downwards, towards the center or bottom or other end of this yearning space. This is much like a magnet drawing you toward something. Slowly and with great awareness, let yourself go and allow whatever wants to be revealed to you to come into consciousness.
As you move inward, you may become aware of reluctance, resistance, hesitation, or fear that prevents you from entering into the next space. Work with each barrier you encounter, and gradually soften into the resistance. You may find a different way to get through the barrier, such as plunging into it, embracing it, merging with it, being filled by it, looking directly at or into it, caring about it, or surrendering to it. Ultimately, it makes no difference what means you use; the moment you make the decision to face the barrier directly, the barrier begins to open by itself.
Don't assume extensive spiritual practice or years in therapy are prerequisites. Sometimes people who have never done a stitch of inner work come all the way home in one session. And sometimes those with a great deal of innerwork experience have the most difficulty because they think they know what to do. As in all things, it is helpful to avoid expectations as much as possible. Keep letting go, through layer after layer, until you get all the way to the center, bottom, end, or other side of the inner space, or until you have gone as far as you feel you can go at this time.
When you pass through the last barrier, you will usually enter into a wide-open space where you experience a deep sense of peace, wholeness, and oneness with the universe. Once you arrive there, or when you have gone as far as you can, rest in this space for a while.
Look back at where you began this journey. Start with the problem you wished to change, as you originally defined it, and see how the work you have done relates to that problem. See how you created the suffering for yourself—how you moved out of this place of wholeness, connectedness, and peace; how you forgot your deepest truth; and how you became lost in fear, confusion, and delusion. How can you relate differently to this problem when it arises in the future? Let yourself know that you can always return to this place whenever you are willing and that you can take however long it takes to come back again.
Now check to see if you wish to go further in the process of opening more deeply into the center of the problem. If you do, repeat any of the previous steps that would take you deeper, and continue the process until you are totally satisfied that you have gone as far as you can for now.
Do you feel complete? If not, take the time to say, feel, or do whatever you need to in order to complete this experience. You may need to express feelings, integrate and assimilate insights, or simply remain quiet.
Learn more about this process by going to Dale's website at http://awakentheheart.org.
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