YSP: “Or the mind can also find peace by contemplating the luminous light, arising from the heart which is the source of true serenity.” tr, Stiles

The Sanskrit name for the heart chakra is “Anahata,” translating as “unstruck.”

The first time I let this sink in, I could feel my world slightly shifting to take in the implications and the truth. The heart chakra designates more than a literal or even metaphorical heart, it refers to a “region” and a process of being. In one of the Upaya ZenBrain lectures I referred to yesterday, one of the scientists speaks of his struggle to make sense of the yogic system of koshas, or layers of being. The problem with the notion of  “layer” is that it’s spatial, and things extended in space should be detectable & interact with other things extended in space in way recognizable with visual, or at least wave detecting, technology. The same problem comes with our language about chakras, but what resolved the conflict for this scientist was to recognize that the spatial references designate processes and ways of being that describe the spatial phenomena from different experiential perspectives.

Anahata is a way of being accessible to any person with a heart: unstruck. Unstruck by the things that strike us and occasionally knock us down. Our original nature never left and is not covered over or lost, it arises from our heart in each and every moment.

Satchidanda’s reflection on this Sutra is simple and challenging, because its often the obvious things we gloss over in pursuit of accomplishment.

“You can imagine a brilliant divine light which is beyond all anxieties, fear and worry – a supreme Light in you. Visualize a brilliant globe in your heart representing your Divine Consciousness. Or imagine your heart to contain a beautiful glowing lotus. The mind will easily get absorbed in that, and you will have a nice experience. In the beginning one has to imagine this Light, which later becomes a reality.”

Nice experiences are important. If getting on the mat or cushion was a drag every single time,  you might persevere, but human history says that without any signs of progress or pleasure or effectiveness you’ll turn to something that seems more worthwhile. I would. So the experiences we have along the way are important. But the being there is the real game, and it’s what we’re learning to be, and so I would go so far as to say the Light is always a reality, but before training in being present our most subtle way of interacting with the world – our bodies, our experiences, feelings, & others – is imagination, so we start there. As you enter the space of your Anahata, or unstruckness, or original nature, through imagination or visualization, you learn new ways of interacting and recognizing the world and the light becomes more stable because you are better able to apprehend it.

  1. jenni said:

    Hi Christine – I love that quote! Would you write a reference on what texts you use to work (or to get worked by)the sutras?
    In my head Solomon Burke sings “always keep a diamond in your mind” (tom waits track) beautiful 🙂 love jenni

  2. Unstruck. It’s a metaphor I like… On another topic completely, do you have a link for those Upaya Zen lectures you’ve been mentioning?


  3. Hello Jenni & Kate! Here’s the url for the blog where I linked to the translations and texts I used to get worked by (like your way of looking at it!) the Sutras: https://yogaeveryday.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/yoga-sutra-intro/ – the second paragraph has links to the editions or pages about them 🙂 The Upaya webcasts are at http://www.upaya.org/dharma/ – scroll down & they were posted in order, so the first you’ll see is Zencast11, under the last several posted. Also accessible by iTunes – which you can just listen to on the computer! Looking forward to reading your posts!

  4. Another thing on the list of things to do…….. I’m seriously channeling winning Lotto numbers

  5. jenni said:

    Hi – thank you Christine – I read it, but didn’t pay attention to the links… Is it “Integral Yoga: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali “? Do you call yourself an Integral yoga teacher? I took classes with a woman who called herself that. I belive that; when the same author/philosopher/source is recomended to me repedeatly from different persons- I act upon it. My favourite teacher in Denmark (who inspired me to start working the sutras Iris Schneider)also recomended Satchidananda – but I was unshore since I’ve seen another spelling of his name… But it’s the same. Love and good day (undisturbed wensday:)

  6. shanti said:

    How beautiful this heart of light in all of us. It is the teaching of just this light ~this one teaching which has inspired me so. In my yoga practice with the principles of the heart I received my own expression to met the Self on and off the mat.

    This morning the luminous heart softened which is my experience of grace. A beautiful softening in Being and witnessing without judgment -totally being in LOVE.

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