Buddhism & Heartbreak 2: For Celia and Rich

April 11, 2008   |   3 Comments

Dear Celia and Rich,

Thank you so much for your comments to my blog post, Buddhism & Relationships.

The issues you both point out are so monumental and confusing. It sounds to me like the questions you’re posing are along these lines: Which kind of love is the kind I should seek? Where does my heart belong? How far should I go for love? And when I lose it, how is it possible to ever get over it?

These are good questions, but they are not possible to answer. They imply that the locus of control lies within you, that you can choose a certain person or vision of love and then go after it, or even that you can somehow dispose of the pain of heartbreak. But love just happens and its outcome can’t be controlled, no matter how passionately you love. And trying to choose between what you had once and what you have now is simply not possible. What you had is gone. It can’t be gotten back. Even if that person came back on their knees, you still could not have what you once had. Trying to re-enter love is like trying to dip your foot in the same river twice. It’s always rushing forward. Each time you step into it, it’s different. Sometimes the current is rough and other times it’s still. All you can do is feel what it feels like now and now and now. I’m not trying to say that this is all great or anything. It’s just how it is.

The issue then is authenticity. How clearly and vividly and tenderly can you be yourself, feel what you feel? How truthfully can you express yourself, without hope or fear? How patiently and gently can you embrace yourself as you ride the waves of passion, remorse, boredom, longing? This is fearlessness. When your heart is broken, you enter the territory of the spiritual warrior. The warrior’s weapons are curiosity, open heartedness, and sadness.

So, much as we all might like (myself included, certainly) we can’t strategize about love. We can only welcome it when it appears, no matter what its form, and mourn its absence should it depart. And right now, you’re both engaged in the only battle that matters: to keep your heart tender, soft, and alive, no matter what. Accepting your experience with kindness is the best way you can support yourself right now and I truly hope you will both be kind toward yourselves and those you encounter.

Let me know what you think of what I’ve said. It may or may not be helpful.

I wish you both well. Please keep me posted.

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  • Posted by:  Sarah Jackson

    excellent. very, very excellent.

  • Posted by:  Ken

    You once remarked how you sat with your garbage on the curb
    to help cope with your wounds
    and become a fearless warrior.
    To have to sit with this image
    makes me seriously consider
    driving in circles due to karma.

  • Posted by:  susan

    I guess you never know what will cause karmic fruit to ripen…

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