What is the heart? On one hand, obviously, it's a literal thing- a muscular organ that pumps blood through the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to cells. It's the center of the circulatory system, and it's essential to life.
Then, there's the metaphorical “heart-” the center of all human emotion. People say a lot about this “heart:” “Listen to you heart. Follow your heart.” They talk about “matters of the heart,” “your heart's desires,” and speaking or acting “from the heart.”
Then finally, and least well known in Western culture, there is the heart chakra. This center is located in the center of your chest. You can picture where it is by locating your sternum and sensing that it is between and the vertebrae opposite of your sternum (T4-T6.) This energy center, like all chakras, looks like a spinning vortex that extends out into your energy field (aka the aura) both in the front and in the back. This one particularly correlates to your heart, your lungs, the chest, arms, and thymus gland (which secretes t-Lymphocytes for immune defense.) Emotionally and spiritually, it helps you sense a connection to yourself, to others, to the world at large and your life's endeavors.
Now, let's try a simple heart meditation. Set aside five minutes, sit with your eyes closed or with a soft gaze into the middle distance. Tuck in your chin, and let your hips be square with your shoulders. Relax your chest, and let your elbows fall naturally to your sides.
-Take a few nice deep breaths, way down into your lower abdomen.
-Count down from Three: Three. Two. One. As you say each number to yourself, picture the number in your head. Do this three times.
-Now- do the same thing counting down from two three times. Then count down from One Three Times.
Then, count down from ten.
Now picture a ball of radiant light in the center of your chest. Breathe into your chest, and imagine a column of light that comes down through the crown of your head and goes through your body and ultimately into the Earth.
Picture this light extending out through the room you are in, then through the building, then out into the world- your street, your town, then the whole world.
Finally, imagine the light getting smaller, its scope contracting until it recedes back into you where it began.
So there you have it! A few Holiday appropriate thoughts and a useful and easy to perform meditation!