Meditation doesn’t come easily for many of us. In fact, most people I know find it challenging and give up after a few tries. Because it’s definitely not one-size-fits-all, I’ve often felt that if everyone had access to a variety of different practices we would have a larger community of meditators. For me meditation is getting up at 5:30 in the morning to sit in the lotus position and connect to my greater guides. It’s also whatever I want it to be—taking three deep breaths, a cycling class that plays loud music and carries me away in the melody until I feel like there’s no one in the room but me, a drive in the country or a walk in the park where I become immersed in the beauty of nature and everything in my life gets put into perspective. Whatever it might be, there’s a meditation for you, too.

But what if it was as simple as taking a moment to connect to your heart center?

Would meditation be more accessible then? Rev. Catherine Mary Quehl-Engel recently completed a doctoral research project that tested whether heart-focused internal prayer/compassion meditation could contribute to personal and group healing. According to Rev. Quehl-Engel, “Participants were free to interpret indwelling life force energy or spirit as best fit their own religious, secular, or spiritual but not religious perspectives.” She based her research around heart-focused compassion and intention as well as the interconnection between all living organisms and incorporated a version of the Institute for HeartMath’s Heart-Focused Breathing Technique into her study.

The project was different from other ones I’ve read about, and I was especially drawn to how participants were free to interpret “life force energy” however they wished—instead of following a specific set of rules. For me, life force energy is what drives us to be better people, to be whole and to love others and treat them with kindness, the power that makes us us. No matter what your views on spirituality, religion, or science, it’s your path of understanding.

Now, take that understanding or belief and connect it to your heart. That’s what Rev. Quehl-Engel had the participants in her study do. The results confirmed much of what I knew intuitively—when people get in touch with their inner selves on a deep emotional and spiritual level they can heal their stress, fear, discomfort, and self-doubt and learn to live a life of healing and peace.

I’ve been a fan of the work of Dr. Rollin McCraty and HeartMath since the day I first learned about them. If you’d like to read more, take a look at these articles:






Rose Caiola
Inspired. Rewired.


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