there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in

18 Aug
Image by Lynn Park

Image by Lynn Park

Like many people, I’m turning to my spiritual side in a time of turmoil. I’ve called myself a Buddhist for a few years now. I’ve joined Zen centers and gone on retreats and practiced meditation on and off. Now, I’m committing myself to a regular meditation practice.

I’ve started reading a lovely book by Susan Piver called The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. It has been very helpful for me. It looks at dealing with a breakup from a Buddhist slant, but could be helpful to people of any faith as it is not overtly dogmatic or religious. This Buddhist viewpoint tells us that it is best to acknowledge and allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling. We should lean into the pain without grasping on to it or pushing it away. Piver gives suggestions for a meditation practice and useful exercises peppered with personal anecdotes and observations about love and the human heart. I’m not usually into anything too new-agey, but this book is just right. Piver brings the good news that with a broken heart comes the opportunity for total transformation. She writes:

Although it is tremendously disorienting on one hand, on another, you will never see so clearly as you do when your heart is broken. If you’ve ever wanted to get at the truth about your life, your character and destiny, the depth of your friendships, you can choose to see these things now.

Something else that she brings up that I wholeheartedly agree with is that when one has a broken heart one has a unique opportunity to feel emotions more intensely and to empathize with others more completely.

When your heart is broken, sadness begins to soften you whether you want it to or not. Your normal defenses are gone. When you think of the pain you feel, the tears come. A sad movie or song could make you cry, but so could a happy one; the poignancy of any genuine emotion is inescapably touching. When you see that others are in pain, you cry for them, too. The world actually seems alive in a way it never had before – every moment seems laden with meaning.

…Heart break presents a very important choice: you can either open to it and allow it to soften and strengthen you, or you can fight it tooth and nail and turn away from it, which is tantamount to giving it permission to harden your heart.

In my experience this is utterly and completely true, and I intend to take full advantage of it.

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One Response to “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”

  1. Bev Leroux August 20, 2011 at 12:57 #

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leonardcohen/anthem.html

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

    The pain of heartbreak breaks down the ego…then the Light comes in. This I know from personal experience.

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