Atman. Where Is My Heart?

By Steve Eaton, March, 2013

Recently, I’ve found myself in a confusing place. I used to spend much of my time “listening to my own heart” and “serving my heart”—or what I thought of as my heart. I’d close my eyes and feel my desires, bow my head to the center of my chest and connect with something that felt peaceful, soft, and still. I really felt like I knew where and what my heart was. Now, since my daughter, Harbor, was born just about a year ago, I literally watch my heart crawling around and interacting with the environment from every angle. Rolling on the floor, playing with food, calling out, smiling, crying, laughing, and sleeping, it is existing without any interference from my head, and it is absolutely the purest most beautiful thing I know. The strange thing is that I don’t even recognize it as the heart that I felt like I knew so well.

Now I’m on the ferry making my way back home to Shelter Island thinking about how foreign everything feels when I’m not with Harbor. Where is my heart (the one I’ve gotten to see clearly now with my head out of the picture)? Here are some places I’ve found my heart since asking the question:

My sacrum in virabhadrasana I.

The unadulterated sunlight coming through a clear sky after days of cold damp rain and cold.

A moment of forgiveness after a misunderstanding.

Unrestricted belly breath.

A feeling of sadness after learning of someone else’s misfortune.

Sand in constant movement; wind, waves.

Vibration of Radha sounding in my mouth while chanting.

I no longer understand my heart as some secret place at the center of my chest (although my heart is there, too). Now that I’ve had the chance to see my heart liberated from my mind’s definitions, I know my heart is Atman. Free from attachment, my deepest reality is Atman, the same Atman contained in every object, both living and not, in the universe.

Now I’m watching my heart melt away in a fading heap of snow, feeling the earth swelling with moisture and seeds of spring. “We are all bound like broken mirrored glass. Together we reflect Brahman.”

Happy coming of springtime.

Steve Eaton

Steven Eaton was introduced to the yoga asana practice at a young age by his mother. He began to deepen his personal practice while studying music at Princeton, and started teaching his friends and fellow students there. After traveling to India in 2008, he began leading kirtan and accompanying yoga classes with his meditative musical style. In 2010, after completing the Yoga Shanti Teacher Training, he began teaching at Yoga Shanti Sag Harbor. He now lives on Shelter Island with his partner and young daughter.

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