Much of our heartache in life comes not from other people but from our expectations of other people and what we feel they can and should bring into our life. If our heartaches were truly caused by other people, we would have little power to heal our frustration and hurt. It would primarily be left to the passage of time and, even then, the big heartaches would easily be reignited. The, often, unrecognised assumptions which have brought about our grief will be based on a myriad of beliefs ranging from reasonable to downright ridiculous. However, this makes no difference at all to the pain we feel because our pain is not coming from our mind but from our heart. It’s no point arguing with the heart. It doesn’t help to talk reason. The heart doesn’t even hear. It doesn’t know that language. It is instinctive – for good and bad. Whereas the mind will try and patiently think through the reasonableness of any situation, the heart is powerless to do so. The heart is all feeling and it flows from a great line of experiences and expectations both remembered and forgotten.
The most pressing thing that we generally want from other people is a sense of love and security. It is a wonderful feeling to bask in the warmth of another’s affection, attention, and protectiveness. It is equally as unwonderful to feel that the source of that love has, in some manner, betrayed us. We can go through life shutting people out or, alternatively, keeping people around but blaming them. We can close the door of our heart. However, without our heart we become an empty shell. Perhaps an intelligent empty shell but empty nevertheless. The heart carries the beat of life. It makes existence meaningful and beautiful. The heart bypasses language and so it doesn’t lie. Everything moving and powerful has heart.
The first step in healing is to take responsibility. It is to stop blaming. It is to accept that we are not an innocent victim that other people have decided to hurt for no logical reason. It is to honour that life is complex and other people may see things differently or have their own agenda. Most humans are, after all, self-centred. We can hardly blame them for that – it is the instinctive programming of the ego. Knowing all this makes us wiser, safer, more patient and tolerant. We become capable of healing situations which could otherwise become totally fragmented.
The second step is to realise that there are other ways of getting what we want. Mostly we want love. When the source of love seems to have disintegrated, instead of feeling bereft and loveless, we can choose to look for it in a different place. Many people look for it in another person with varying success. There is another place to go. One could say it is in oneself, but perhaps it is more correct to say it is in life itself. We can work with the idea that we already are that very love we seek. We can stop peering at the outside love we are trying to seduce, cajole, intimidate or win and focus elsewhere. What love can I find within? What love can I give? The heart-hole will heal when we stop looking at it. Opening one’s heart to love and healing always carries risks. One can be sure of sorrow but one can also be sure of happiness and peace. The more we give from our heart, the bigger it becomes. It is able to carry more love even if that also means carrying pain.
In the end, love is all that matters. It has the power to heal and the power to transform. It gives us a surprising strength and adds a beauty to life that is more touching and pure than any other thing that life could possibly offer. It gives us courage to endure sorrow, knowing that it will pass. It also gives perspective to joy, knowing that human joy must be gratefully taken when it is offered. Spiritual equilibrium is on a different level and tends to ride through both human joy and human suffering.
This article is from Love’s Longing