Again and again, Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan asks us to investigate nature, then apply what we learn to ourselves.
One aspect of nature is how naturally the world around us evolved to support our needs and allowed for the gradual emergence of the human being. More than any other creature, we humans then naturally developed the capacity of greater consciousness and directed will. Through this development, we now at least partially have become able to direct our further evolution and that of the planet, for better or worse.
As in nature, when we look at our individual selves we also find how our own human capacities, such as the qualities of our heart, develop naturally, without any particularly conscious intent (see Secrets of the Heart, published by the Art of Healing Foundation). Over our lifetime, as the human individual develops his or her consciousness and willpower, this great receptor and transmitter in the center of our body can be further refined through conscious intention and practice. It can develop even greater capacity to feel, radiate, and even direct healing energy, just as human beings in general have become more able to consciously affect and direct their evolution.
The practices below are from the Secrets of the Heart and the Heart of the Healer, mostly from Pir Zia and Pir Vilayat, with a few extra nuances for good measure from Murshid Shahbuddin. They may help in recognizing the sensitivity and power of our heart to feel, transform, transmit and even heal.
First: Recognize the heart center in its fullness (Pir Zia and Pir Vilayat): Place your attention on the left breast, the Qalb, related to but not the same as the physical heart. It is the center where transformation and integration can occur, the bridge between the physical and the abstract, where currents from the depth are brought to the surface and vice versa. Qualities of Being reveal themselves in one’s experience and lead to transformation.
Then, place your attention on the right breast, the Ruh, the spiritual heart, referred to in Genesis as where God breathed the divine spirit into the body. Here we become more aware of our angelic counterpart, with a less bounded identity, and the need for the Sacred in life.
Then place your attention at the center of the chest, the Sirr, the secret heart, where we find access to deeper and broader levels of perception and identity even less bounded than the angelic. Here we have access to pure “intelligence”, presential knowledge gained through direct presence, the light that sees.