Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Healing a Broken Heart

The path of spiritual healing is a powerful one. As we now switch from focusing on the mind, our next stop is into the realm of the heart and the many emotions that we feel. It's a sad truth that many people live their lives feeling broken-hearted after some major event with a significant other or close relationship. But you can't open fully into spiritual awakening without your heart. So for this spirituality blog post, we turn our attention to all those broken hearts and the spiritual tools that can help them mend.

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Forgiveness and Letting Go
In many ways, the reason that your heart continues to feel broken and so, so very tender is that you're holding on to the experience. In your mind, you are replaying the events that transpired and repeatedly breaking your own heart. It is important to feel through and accept what has happened. But the next step after that is learning to forgive and let go. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools on the spiritual path. It can transform your life. And you need to forgive the person who broke your heart. Most people don't even really understand how they are with their emotions and what they did. If this person did it intentionally, then let them now carry the full burden of that crime and broken trust. Forgive them. Let them go, and your part of the relationship can complete and heal.

Facing Yourself and Your Complicity in Breaking Your Heart
A lot of times, forgiving someone else is actually the easy part. The harder part can be forgiving ourselves. Some of you may be saying, "What did I do?" But you know. You let it happen, and a part of you hasn't forgiven yourself for letting it happen, not seeing it coming, not preparing, and for half a dozen other things that the mind thinks it can predict but actually cannot. Your heart was broken. An event happened. You did the best you could at the time with the tools that you had. It's now time to forgive yourself.

Breaking Your Heart Again and Again
It gets worse. You had the event, and then you replayed it over and over in your mind. You turned it into a thought pattern. You replayed the whole set of scenarios over and over. You told it to your mother, your brothers, close friends, and everyone else who'd listen to try and find a mental way out of it. But at night when you'd close your eyes, the mental movie was still playing. In this way, you continued to break your own heart again and again. What was probably a relatively short time period in your life got a long, long extension. So along with forgiving yourself in the moment, you need to forgive yourself for all the moments that you replayed and mentally re-lived the pain. Because each time you did, you shrunk a little more. You closed off your heart from others a little bit further until your heart started to have almost nothing left to give to anyone lest yourself.

Giving Your Love Away
The idea of giving your love away is sitting down at the root of the problem. You can't give your love away. Not like people have been thinking, anyway. There's a wonderful story in Don Miguel Ruiz's The Mastery of Love. In this story, a man finds a beautiful jewel that descends from the sky. It's so perfect and pure that he has to go show his love this jewel. He finds her and gives it to her, whereupon she drops it. The jewel shatters.

In this story, we have the allegory of giving love away. Initially, we all want to blame the woman for breaking the jewel, breaking his love (you can switch the roles and have the man drop the jewel just as easily). But the problem that Ruiz points out is this issue of giving love away. When we try and make someone else responsible for our happiness and love, we give up our accountability to our hearts. We make ourselves dependent on someone else, and if they have a bad day, then we're angry that they aren't giving us what we need. And if they drop the jewel and break our love, then we're angry at them for hurting us. But you can never expect someone else to make you happy and fill you with love. That love is always within you. You have to learn to own it.

The Healing Power of Owning Your Love
When your loves, partners, and external experiences are no longer necessary for your love, you have started to free and awaken your heart. The bondage and the pain of the heart in this world come from placing this love in other things and people. Take back your heart. Own all the pain and feelings there, and then let them wash away. You can shine your love in fullness on others, but do not give it away or expect it to be returned. When you begin to take actions and do things that align with your heart and what you love, your world starts to shift. People will be drawn to you who can reflect you in this higher way, although it will take some work at first. You probably haven't been resonating at this level before and have attracted other people with broken hearts and victim stories around you. Don't worry. The best way to heal is often letting go, and in letting go, you may find that the people around you will have more permission to heal as well.

Clearing Heart Wounds
As you own what you love and what nourishes you, you'll begin to have more energy to clear the wounds in your heart. If you have to confront someone who hurt you, then your heart will guide you to do that. Learning to love yourself is a big piece in healing a broken heart. It rebuilds your foundation in your heart, shifting it from an outward focus to an inward focus. Keep in mind that this is authentic self-love. This is about total acceptance of you in this moment. It's not about saying how great you are. That's the ego trying to create love, and it doesn't work. You are already great and amazing in this moment. As you come to appreciate that, you'll also see very clearly what darkness and things that don't serve you are in your life. You will need to fix them.

There are a lot of wounded hearts in this world. It is time to let go of the pain. It's the only way we can stop perpetuating cycles of pain, hurting ourselves and others. In doing so, you clear the way for more love to enter your heart and to fill your life and all those dear to you.

Next blog: Opening a Closed Heart 

For some more thoughts on healing a broken heart, you can watch this video:
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