108 – Our two-faced heart

Swami Niranjanananda describes our heart as being two sided. I like to call it two-faced. And of course, he knows best. The left compartment is the physical heart and the right compartment is the spiritual heart. The left chamber’s functioning is responsible for the circulation and the right chamber is responsible for the circulation of our feelings and emotions (bhava). It is our bhava which connects us to the universe.

Our left sided heart works on our physical and mental nature and our right sided heart works on our spirituality. When you see your loved one or ones, your left chamber of the heart beats faster, and when you think of devotion and your god, your right side pumps faster. Your left side of the heart is about you and you. The right side is about being in the presence of god. Both sides of our heart are vital, as one works on our physical and emotional level and the other side works on our spiritual energy (prana). Now you can see how our heart behaves.

Swami Satyanananda described a sentiment as one which bares the heart and called it open heart and positive. The meaning of bhava here is the recognition of a feeling that there is something greater than myself. Love which is possessive and corrosive is a destructive sentiment. Love which is filled with beauty and empathy is a constructive and refined feeling. Swamiji was Swami Niranjanananda’s guru and mentor. He stated to Swami Niranjana that humility has to be cultivated, and when we are humble, we have be cleansed of ill will and rancor. Our bitterness evaporates, and is replaced by bhavas of affection, compassion, empathy and kindness. This leads to development of our spirituality.

The practice

Reading is not enough; we have to apply this in our life. The easiest way is to practice the balancing pranayama. You visualize the prana in your breath, inhale to the count of 5, hold your breath to the count of 5, exhale to the count of 5, pause without breathing to the count of 5. Practice 54 times, counting backwards without making an error. You can also use a mantra, like So Ham or Om. If you make an error, you have to start again. If you find this too challenging, you can do 27, or 11 times. In this exercise, you are aware of your breath, you are concentrating on the mantra and counting and you are visualizing the prana flowing in your breath. You are therefore controlling your thoughts without attempting to do so and also reducing your negativity. Your responses to reactive situations will slowly become neutral and improve the quality of your heart.

Aim Hrim Klim


Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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