One such task is opening myself – my heart – to fully grieve the pains of life. Small, medium, large, whatever the size, I keep my armor on and my guard up. I suck it up, man up, wall off, close down…do whatever it takes to avoid living the pain. Yet, I know from research, observation and experience that this is the exact wrong thing to do.
When I open myself to the suffering (i.e., experience) of life, with all of its joy, sorrow, exhilaration and pain, I tap the vitality being alive. In this space, there is no better or worse. There is no fair or unjust. It is what it is…and it’s glorious.
So, why do I still try to protect myself from it? Because the experience requires me to, as Fred Luskin (Forgive for Good) says, “feel the anger, hurt, and trauma in all it original pain” before I can let it go. And, I just don’t want to do that.
But I know that I can’t let it go if I’m trying to keep it out of my reach.
So, I take the plunge. I open myself (my heart) to what Jack Kornfield calls the pains and pleasures we have feared. It’s amazing. It’s awful. And I need to keep doing it.
Somehow, in feeling our own pain and sorrow, our own ocean of tears, we come to know that ours is a shared pain and that the mystery and beauty and pain of life cannot be separated. This universal pain, too, is part of our connection with one another, and in the face of it we cannot withhold our love any longer. Jack Kornfield
Here is an excerpt from Jack Kornfield’s book, A Path with Heart, on Healing the Heart (read now).