I have observed this before, but this morning was even more striking. Sitting with lots of fiery energy still, and deep sadness also, awareness naturally settled on the heart. Body relaxed, mind willing, breath out of the way, all that remained was pulsing. Strong, compelling, in the place of turmoil. Each heartbeat, a new anchor for awareness. And the mind becoming calmer, and calmer. And the body, cooling down, more and more. I could have sat for a very long time . . .
Once during a Dharma discussion at IMC, someone asked the teacher about feeling the heartbeat more than the breath. Where to go from there? No place in particular, was the teacher's answer.
Rereading the Kayagata-sati Sutta, on Mindfulness Immersed in the Body, I found no mention of the heartbeat as an object of meditation. Breathing meditation, whole body scan yes, heart meditation no. This is puzzling to me. After all, one's heartbeat, although more subtle than the breath, is probably the physiological activity most tied to our emotions, particularly difficult ones. It would only make sense to calm the heart by placing one's attention there.
Have you had any such experience of calming the heart by focusing your attention on the heartbeats? Are you aware of any such practice?