The first technique that I’m going to share with you is an easy, yet fascinating technique that demonstrates how thoughts affect the physical body. It was taught to me in early 2013 by yoga master Aadil Palkhivala.
Where does your intuition reside? Is it a gut feeling (residing in your abdominal area)? Is it a 6th sense coming from beyond your body? Is it just another thought in your brain? We hear all different responses to this question. Aadil Palkhivala teaches that our true self resides in our heart centre and we must live from our heart if we are to achieve happiness and connect with our inner being.
Try this (actually take the time to do this):
- Place the middle finger of your right hand on your heart centre (around the middle of your chest along your sternum, also known as the heart chakra) and press lightly.
- Picture a bright light extending from your finger through your heart centre and filling your heart and chest.
- Notice how you feel.
- Keeping the finger there, now picture darkness extending from your finger through your heart centre and filling your heart and chest.
- Notice how you feel. Was there a change?
What many people usually notice when picturing the bright light is a sensation of expansion through the chest and a feeling of happiness/ease/lightness. When picturing the darkness, many notice a constricting sensation and more of a heavier feeling.
If you did not notice a difference between the two thoughts that’s 100% ok. Give it another try later. Instead of a bright light, you could try conjuring a feeling of love (maybe picture giving a hug to someone you love) and instead of darkness think of the feeling of hate or anger. See if you notice a difference in your chest between those two feelings.
What does this mean?
It means that your body is physically reacting to the thoughts you are thinking. Your body reacts to every thought you have but you may not notice it because the differences are so subtle. The exercise uses polar opposites to make it easier to notice a change. The expanding sensation is a connection to your higher self or inner being. It represents a thought/decision/situation that would align with your true self. The constricting sensation is a feeling of disconnecting with your inner being and represents what it would feel like if something you were doing/thinking of didn’t align with your true self.
How can I use this?
Play with this. Repeat the exercise. Try putting your finger on your chest when faced with a decision. Start off small. I used to do this when ordering from a menu in a restaurant. I would think of ordering the hamburger and notice whether my chest expanded or contracted. I would think of ordering the salmon and notice whether my chest expanded or contracted. I would then make my decision based on how my body responded.
It’s extremely important in the beginning to simply play with this. Use it to make decisions where you don’t care what the outcome is or if you get it “wrong”. When you care what the outcome is there’s a range of emotions that enter the picture and confuses things.
As you practice, the feelings of expansion and contraction will become more noticeable to you and you will no longer need to place your finger on your chest. As you build this skill, it may eventually be able to help with larger decisions. Just start with the small decisions first!
I’d love to hear your feedback on this first technique. Stay tuned to learn more techniques in my upcoming posts.