To begin the practice, settle yourself in a comfortable sitting position, either cross-legged on a cushion or in a chair. Now reach up and touch the area below your breastbone. Do you feel a subtle sensation of warmth? This feeling is not your physical heart but your wisdom or spiritual heart.

Now give this area under your breastbone a name: the word friend. As you breathe in, repeat the word silently to yourself, but from your chest, as though a little voice had piped up there, saying the word. Put that word into the heart territory. Picture it floating inside your chest silently.

Now expand the voice. Have it say "Best Friend." . . .

Perhaps you feel a bit odd. Such a practice can feel odd at first. But that sense of odd is itself a testament to the fact that the practice reaches you. The part of you that says "odd" is holding back, skeptical, unwilling to give up the status quo. But it is still responding.

As you go through your workday, three or four times a day, lean back in your chair, take a deep breath, and recollect the practice of the Friend in the Heart. Rekindle that sensation, and let your heart voice whisper its word in your chest.


"Best Friend."

This is particularly helpful when the next kernel on your string of popcorn has turned red, when things are not going well, when you have just made a mistake or been criticized. What would your best friend do if she could suddenly materialize before you? She would comfort you, reassure you, forgive you.

Can you do that for yourself?

Lewis Richmond in Work as a Spiritual Practice