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   BARE BONES HEART-CENTERING TECHNIQUES

Contents of this Page

          These links will take you to short, basic instructions for the heart-centering techniques we describe at greater length in the Techniques section of this site. Where applicable, we provide a link to the more detailed description. 

          You may find these brief written instructions are all you need. However, most people find it easier to be guided verbally.  Audios of guided instructions with Don's music in the background will be available in our Store.

Heart-Centering Basic Practice
Heart-Centering with Light Imagery

* Heart-Centering Basic Practice *

Preparation:  

  • Get into a comfortable position – either lying down or sitting up with your back straight.  
  • If at any time during the meditation negative feelings come up, see if you can be compassionately present with them, without fear or judgment.  However, if they start to feel overwhelming, just stop the exercise and try it again another time when you’re feeling a bit calmer.

Basic Instruction:

  1. Bring your attention to the area of your heart in the center of your chest.  See if you notice any sensations there – it may be just a faint tingling or pulsing sensation.

        If you don't notice anything, try imagining a gentle sensation like the fluttering
        of a butterfly’s wings.  Or place your hand over your heart and become aware of
        the sensations of your hand against your chest – perhaps feeling its warmth
        penetrating your skin.  

        Bring all your attention to whatever sensations you're aware of there in the area
        of your heart in the center of your chest.

  2. Let your hand rest in your lap and take some slow deep ocean breaths, imagining that you’re breathing into and out from the area of your heart. (Click here for Ocean Breathing instructions.)

        See if you can gradually slow the breath down to a count of 4 for the inbreath,
        and 4 for the out breath. 

  3. Continue breathing into and out from your heart as you bring to mind a time or a place when you felt peaceful, happy, or relaxed -  or a time you felt caring or appreciation for a friend, a child, a parent, or a pet.  Or it could be a time you felt grateful for something nice that happened to you, or to someone else.  

        If no memories come to mind, you can imagine an ideal place, person, or situation
        that would evoke for you a feeling of peace, ease, gratitude, or contentment.

  4. As you continue to breathe into your heart, let the positive feeling become more and more vivid.  When it feels quite strong, you can let the memory or image you used to evoke the feeling fade away.  Just stay with the experience of the positive feeling, as you continue to breathe gently into and out from your heart.  Notice how that feels in your body. 

        If the feeling begins to fade, you can bring back the image or memory to help make
        it more vivid again.  

  5. Continue breathing into your heart, and as you exhale, see if you can let the positive feeling expand throughout your whole body.    Continue breathing and letting the positive feeling expand.

  6. With your next few exhalations, let the positive feeling expand beyond your body to fill the room you're in.   

  7. Now, with your next few breaths, imagine that feeling extending to all the people you know and care about, and to all the people you've ever known or ever met.  

  8. And with your next few breaths, imagine that positive feeling going out to everyone, everywhere, filling their hearts, their minds, their bodies. 

  9. As you go on to whatever your next activity may be, see if you can retain an awareness of your heart and the positive feeling you generated.

* Heart-Centering with Light Imagery *

Since you can’t close your eyes and read the instructions at the same time, here are a few suggestions: 

  • Do your best to experiment with the technique with your eyes open
  • Read the instructions for one step, then close your your eyes to experience that step, go on to the next step, etc.
  • Obtain a guided audio version of the instructions in our Store

Preparation:

  • Settle into a comfortable position with your eyes closed, and begin to take a few slow deep ocean breaths (Click here for Ocean Breathing instructions.)  
  • With each exhalation, let yourself release tension from your body, release any thoughts or concerns that were occupying your mind, and release any feelings, fears or desires that were occupying your heart.  
  • Gently relax into this moment – letting go, getting calm, and preparing to turn your attention inward.

Basic Instructions:

  1. Bring your attention to the area of your heart in the center of your chest and notice any sensations there.  Now imagine that in the depths of your heart, there's a softly glowing sphere of light – it can be any color you like - and imagine that with each inhalation its glow becomes a little brighter, a little warmer, a little softer, and with each exhalation it expands, filling your body and your mind with its gentle light.  
  2. As you breathe into and out from your heart, see if you can call up a feeling of gratitude or appreciation, or just a simple feeling of peace, calm, or ease. It doesn’t have to be a strong feeling, just the hint of a feeling is fine. If you're able to do this, just stay with that feeling, letting it grow a little stronger with each new inhalation.
  3. Continue breathing into your heart.  If you need a little more help to evoke a positive feeling, you can bring to mind the image of a person, a pet, a fond memory, or a special place, that evokes for you a feeling of peace, joy, gratitude, love, or just simple appreciation.  Hold that image in mind long enough to really get in touch with the feeling.   And then let the image go and stay with the feeling.
  4. With each inhalation, imagine that you’re entering more deeply into that feeling within your heart. If thoughts or other emotions arise, imagine they’re dissolving in the warmth of that positive feeling in your heart.
  5. With your next exhalation, imagine the warmth of that feeling filling your whole body... penetrating all your organs, muscles, and cells.
  6. With another exhalation, let it expand beyond your body to fill the room you're in.
  7. As you exhale again, imagine extending that feeling to all the people you know and care about, and to all the people you've ever known or ever met.  
  8. On your next exhalation, imagine your feeling going out to everyone, everywhere, filling their hearts, their minds, their bodies with its warmth and glow.  

All Bare Bones Techniques

Breathing:
Abdominal Breathing
Ocean Breathing
Spinal Breathing
Alternate Nostril Breathing
3-Part Breath w/ Breath Holding
Alternate Nostril w/ Breath Holding
Fast Belly Breathing
Breath Watching

Relaxation:
Tense-Release for the Face
Tense-Release for the Whole Body
Body Scan
1-Minute Mindful Relaxation, Whole Body

Imagery:
Creative Visualization: Preview of Day
Creative Visualization: Review of Day
Light Imagery
Imagery for Relaxation
Ocean Imagery

Concentration:
Breath Counting
Breath Watching
Breathing with Words
Thought Counting
Thought Noting and Labeling
31 Points

Heart-Centering:
Basic Practice
Heart-Centering with Light Imagery

Mindfulness:
Wheel of Awareness Meditation
Beginner 1-Minute Mindfulness
Intermediate Mindfulness
Advanced Mindfulness
Space of Awareness

Mindful/Heartful CBT:
Basic CBT
Basic Mindful/Heartful CBT