An Introduction to Heart Rhythm Meditation

Heart Rhythm Meditation is a heart-centered exercise in which you become conscious of your heartbeat and your breathing.
 
To begin with, let's try a preliminary exercise to verify that you can indeed feel your own heartbeat. This is a small part of Heart Rhythm Meditation, like dunking your head under water is a small part of learning to swim.

At first, you can feel your heartbeat best when you're holding your breath. The longer you hold your breath the stronger your heart's beat will feel.
 
Just take a big inhalation and hold it. You can probably hold your breath for 20 to 30 seconds, and in that time you'll feel your heartbeat.
 
You might feel the pulse in your face, or your neck, or somewhere else than in your chest. That's helpful -- now you know the beat you're looking for -- but keep looking for the source of the beat in your physical heart.

The pulse is the echo of the heartbeat. You might find the pulse anywhere; the heartbeat occurs only in the chest.

Although it is just a first step, for me this was an incredible experience: to first feel my heartbeat. All I wanted after that was to be able to make the experience continuous rather than an isolated event. [Ken Carrier]
 
This brief experience may give you confidence that you can indeed become aware of the contractions of your heart muscle deep inside your chest. You may find it surprising and exhilarating, or you may find it anxiety-provoking because of the need to hold your breath. When you learn the full Heart Rhythm Practice you'll find it becomes sustainable and comforting.
 
By following the instructions in the book, you will be able to sit calmly and have a clear and continuous experience of your heartbeat for as long as you desire it. The beat will open up to become a rich and profound experience of all that is within you, and you will marvel at what the sound of your heart tells you. Let's try it again.

You can adopt a breathing rhythm that has a pause in it so that you can hold your breath for half the time. To do that, you need a full inhalation. It's easy to hold your breath when your lungs are full. (Never hold the exhalation, when your lungs are empty -- you could pass out.)
 
To get a full inhalation, you need to breathe out more fully. Don't try to take an exceptionally big breath -- that may work once but it won't work continuously. Instead, try to extend your exhalation three seconds longer than normal. Then let the inhalation return immediately afterwards. It will be much larger in volume and will sustain you between breaths. When you feel the urge to exhale, do so gently and silently, and always extend the exhalation. Never hold the exhalation, only the inhalation.
 
Now, while you're holding the inhalation, look into your chest, in your mind's eye, for your beating heart. You will likely feel it towards the end of the time you're holding your breath. The motion of breathing will obscure the beat, but you'll get it back again after the next breath.

Extend awareness to both your heartbeat and breath. Hold your breath after you breathe IN.

This experience is a major accomplishment in inner-awareness. You will have gained a life-long asset, a tool you can apply to your personal development and accomplishments in life. You'll be able to rely upon an experience that is not a fantasy, not supernatural, but which few people believe is possible.
 
Learning Heart Rhythm Practice would benefit anyone. It's for business-people, educators, artists, designers, scientists, home-makers and managers. It is a technique that you initially learn from another, then make your own, and finally apply to the fulfillment of your life as you desire. It doesn't take you out of the world; it helps you be effective as yourself, in concert with the world.

After a few minutes, you'll find that the sensation of your heart comes earlier and persists for the whole pause. Then try to keep the beat in your mind while you breathe out and in again, and see if your mental beat coincides with your next sensation of it.
 
If you need a clue, you can hold your left wrist with your right hand and gently press your right thumb against the artery (under your watchstrap) next to your tendon. This will make your pulse clear until you can feel the same beat elsewhere, at which point you should stop pressing your wrist.
 
The objective is to feel your heartbeat in your chest. With a little practice, you'll find that you can feel your heartbeat throughout your breath cycle. With a little more practice, you'll be able to do this easily. That's when the benefits begin -- when listening to your heartbeat is no longer an effort.

You can be aware of your heartbeat through your entire breathing cycle.
 
This leads to a wonderful condition of centered, inner strength and a natural kindness.