If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Invisibility, flying, super-strength, being impervious to injury, heat vision, x-ray vision… there’s a lot of choices out there.
But how much would these powers really improve your life?
If you could fly, wouldn’t you basically be the same person, with pretty much the same problems? Instead of walking around, you’d be flying. I admit, that’s got to be pretty awesome for a while. But would it really help you, in the grand scheme of things?
As I got older, I realized, what I want is practical superpowers. I want powers that will help me face the challenges of life with courage, compassion, and love; I want powers that will truly make life better for everyone.
I’ve also learned that meditating on your heart is an incredibly effective way of developing these powers.
Control your temper. The ability to control your temper is super-important, even in the comic books. How many heroes have been brought down by their temper? A lot. In real life it’s also hugely important; controlling your temper is a basic element ofemotional self-control. Bruce Banner didn’t turn into the Hulk unless he lost his temper. That is a good lesson for us all.
Related power: control your fear.
How to get this power: Meditation on your heart, particularly in conjunction with techniques that use a full breath and involve the holding of the breath, are excellent for controlling yourself physically and emotionally, including controlling your temper.
Patience. If you can wait, many things fall into your hand. Patience is like having a horse that will steadily pull a plow. Having patience is hard (as I think you can see by the look on the face of Ben Grimm (aka The Thing) in the image above. With patience, all things become possible. If you need it right now, well, you might just be out of luck.
How to get this power: It may seem that the only way to develop patience is to be patient, but I have found that meditation on your heart works wonders, because of the act of being still. There is something about learning to hold still that makes you more patient.
The ability to work steadily without seeing immediate results. It’s one thing to work hard when you can see results, quite another to work without seeing evidence of progress. But nearly everything that is worth doing will involve periods of time when it seems that not much progress is being made. The ability to weather these periods is a great power.
How to get this power: When you turn within your heart, you feel the energy to you receive from all around you, as well as the energy your heart projects out into your environment. You learn that the energy that you send out is always returned in some way, and this gives you the ability to work even without visible or immediate results.
Faith in yourself. Another word for faith is self-confidence. If you believe in yourself, you have a source of power that is truly awesome. When you have faith in yourself, others have faith in you. They may help you with something that is beyond your ability to do on your own. Self-confidence comes through in everything you say and do, and in the way you hold yourself, like this drawing of Wonder Woman. She is in a reflective moment, but you can see the confidence in her posture and the way she holds her shield.
Bonus power: the ability to believe in yourself when others that you care about don’t see the value in what you’re trying to do, or don’t think you can do it.
How to get this power: When you meditate on your heart, you come into contact with the power of your heart, the flow of emotions within you, and by experiencing deep and intense emotion in the context of sacredness, you come to feel that your heart is larger and more powerful than even the most intense feelings. This gives you great faith in yourself.
Balance. Isn’t this picture incredible? When I say “balance”, I mean that no one can work all the time, or play all the time, and the same goes for any other activity you enjoy. A key superpower is having balance; knowing when it is time to work, when it is time to rest; for everything there is a season.
The metaphor of physical balance is apt, because when you balance physically, you are not still — you must make corrections. When you go too far one way, you must correct it. You must listen and act. Too often we only do one of these, and then we fall.
How to get this power: The best way to cultivate balance is to make your breath balanced, which we do in Heart Rhythm Meditation very effectively by paying attention to the breath and making the in-breath the same number of beats as the out-breath. (If you can’t feel your heartbeat, no problem — you just imagine a steady count. You will feel it eventually if you keep trying!)
Heal yourself or others. The modern world seems designed to cut us off from the rhythm of nature, which in the past had been the source of rhythm for people, and rhythm is the key to health. And modern life exposes each of us to a host of toxic substances that previous generations never faced. So something new is needed that can purify us on an ongoing basis, but also has the power to correct an illness, as well as prevent one from taking root.
Bonus power: Prevent yourself from getting sick.
How to get this power: The ability to heal yourself or others is a sign of skill at perceiving, moving, and transforming energy, the three fundamental skills of heart-centered meditation. Learning healing will take time, and is best done in the context of our two-year program.
Know what you’re feeling. It may be a surprise that I chose knowing what you are feeling as a superpower. But it is. Too often we try to tell ourselves what we should be feeling, we hide our feelings or deny them because the truth isn’t consistent with our limited understanding of ourselves. This denial cuts off the great source of power within us: the power of your heart, which is emotional.
The superhero pictured above, Jean Grey, aka The Phoenix, is an example of this because her energetic powers get cranked up to a whole new level when she feels intense emotion. The same is true for all of us.
To truly feel your emotion deeply and fully requires diving into your heart, leaving behind labels and categories, and simply swimming in the ocean of feeling.
Bonus power: Feel your emotion, but choose how you express it.
How to get this power: Meditating on your heart gives you the perfect opportunity to explore your feelings. After a session of Heart Rhythm Meditation, I feel alive in a whole new way, both calm and energized.
Change the rhythm of a group or situation. Ever notice how a group or an environment has a certain rhythm? An example is a feeling the runs through a crowd during a great performance — you feel the group moving toward the expression of some feeling, like cheering, surprise, wonder, or deep feeling. Another is when a crowd suddenly becomes angry or even violent. When the attention of a group is focused on a speaker, you can feel a group losing patience with a poorly-delivered speech, or catch the enthusiasm of an inspirational speaker.
Most of the time we’re unconscious of how a group or an environment is affecting us. If we could not only be aware of it, but have an influence that we can control, we can change the atmosphere, and have a real impact on the course of events.
How to get this power: Your own personal atmosphere becomes more an more influential when you meditate on your heart, and you learn to use your deep, slow, rhythmic breath along with your ability to perceive, change, and transform energy to intervene in situations that before seemed outside your ability to change.
Wake up and go to sleep at will. Like balance, there is a rhythm of waking and sleeping, and if you have the ability to create this rhythm, you have a great power. We all have inertia, that makes us want to stay up when we’re up, and stay in bed when we need to get up. Having the ability to sleep when you choose to is very important, and the ability to wake up when you choose is very handy.
Bonus power: wake up at the time you say you will when you go to sleep, without using an alarm clock or any external aid.
How to get this power: meditation on your heart gives you control over your rhythm and over your breath. You see and understand that there is a breath for sleeping, and a breath for alertness, and you can choose the one that is appropriate. (More tips on this are here.)
What do you think? Are there powers I didn’t list here that you feel are important? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share a comment!
Yours in the One Heart,
P.S. This post was inspired by Living from the Heart, by Puran and Susanna Bair, which has many wonderful examples of practical powers you can gain by Heart Rhythm Meditation, especially in Chapter 2.
P.P.S. The best way to really learn this is to take the University of the Heart program.
Update: A great power that I neglected to add here is forgiveness. To err is human, to forgive, divine.