Broken hearts are just the worst. The end of a relationship can devastate us in ways we never thought possible, wrecking our image, trust, and ability to love again. But fear not! Surprisingly, Buddhism has some fantastic wisdom to give in this department. Who would’ve thought Buddha could have such profound wisdom for heartbreak?
Buddha’s advice can be summed up by Pema Chodron: “Feel the feelings. Drop the story.”
Remember this — love can never be made safe. It is the opposite of safe. It takes courage to love, and so you must learn how to embrace that. Here’s how.
1) Take a step back from your thoughts
The reality is strong emotions put us in touch with a part of ourselves that’s not healthy at all: obsessive thinking.
“I should have…If only….why didn’t he say…how dare she…I hate love…” on and on. It’s quite amazing we do this to ourselves. But without addressing our mind going in a million different directions, the chances of being able to work with your feelings in a positive way is pretty small. But relax! There is a remedy: discipline.
There is an ancient Buddhist practice of mindfulness that does wonders for our thought process. By doing this, your mind can remain steady and calm. The technique? Just watch the thoughts. It’s so simple, right? Doing this practice every day will radically change your mindset. Most people try and control the thoughts, and squash negativity — but that doesn’t work.
Just watch the thoughts. It’s so simple, right? Doing this practice every day will radically change your mindset. Most people try and control the thoughts, and squash negativity — but that doesn’t work. Instead, watching the thoughts shows you (quite powerfully) the fact that you are NOT your thoughts. There is a part of you that’s separate from the negativity that spins you in a million different directions.
2) Keep your heart broken — and open
After you’ve attained some clarity in your thoughts, your attention will immediately go where the pain is — the heart. Heartbreak can be the worst kind of pain, worse than even broken bones. After all, bones hurt for a time, but heartache can go on and on forever. That is, until, you let it go.
Like a raw, open wound, the heart longs to be rejoined to its safe space. So it’s easy to try and close it back up, right? That’s the quickest way to stop the hurt. But that’s not the right way. Instead, Buddha and Buddhism say this is the best chance to lay the groundwork of kindness, compassion, and the ability to connect deeply to those around us. That’s why you need to leave it broken.
Yes. Leave it broken.
You must learn to shift you heart away from looking for someone to love you, and towards looking to give away your love. This is probably the most powerful lesson of Buddha. With this small change in thought, the entire world changes. Think about it like this: if you’re waiting for someone to love you in order to give your love back, you are putting a condition on your love. This is the way of selfish love.
Conversely, if you give your love away freely (such as volunteer work) your heart expands. This is the secret way to heal a broken heart, forever.
3) Embrace your life as a path
With a clear mind and an open heart, the last stage because simple and easy. This is not a practice…it’s a natural state that every person is capable of, and honestly, deserves.
Your entire life, from start to finish, becomes a spiritual path. The foundation of a strong mind and open heart creates an authentic life of joy, giving, meetings and partings, and deep meaning. This is a powerful story created by you and your life path.
The disappointment and pain of heartache can shatter us…or bring us in touch with something we already know we are.
Remember: you are more powerful than you realize.