In India, the heart–called Anahata–is the center of compassion, altruism, forgiveness, and acceptance. Within the Hindu tradition, it is in the heart that love manifests and gives us a sense of responsibility and pure behavior toward others.
The word Anahata means “unstuck sound.” It reflects the elements of air and corresponds to the lungs, the heart, the arms, and the hands. The element of air is important because it is here that the integration of thought and feeling is possible. The element of air connects spirit and the breath with its close connection to the lungs. It is in the heart that one discovers the Self and begins to individuate.
Heart consciousness, as the Hindu Anahata belief system has come to be known, can take you to a place of deep reflection, love, universal compassion, and detachment. How can Anahata help you? Jung discusses the integrative quality of heart consciousness, and why it is here that you find your own divine self:
“We say ‘You know it in the head, but you don’t know it in the heart.’ There is an extraordinary distance from the head to the heart, a distance of ten, twenty, thirty years or a whole lifetime. You can know something in the head for forty years and it may never have touched the heart. But only when you have realized it in the heart, do you begin to take notice of it.”
In the same way, Jung notes that there can be an equal distance between will, desire, and force, and the heart. The development of heart consciousness from the will, desire, and force is, says Jung, like the sun rising above the horizon.
In the heart is where consciousness is born that embodies the Self-conscious spirit. It is here one finds the eternal, unchanging spirit that is the essence of the human being. Jung writes that it is in the heart that you behold the divine self.