The death of a loved one. The rupture of a relationship. The loss of a job. The failure of a project. The dismantling of a dream. The end of an era. There are many reasons that the heart breaks, that we feel an emptiness in the center of our chests as the world around us seems to cave in. Sometimes, it hits abruptly, out of nowhere, and others, it crashes down on us only after a long period of foreboding. And yet the anatomy of a broken heart, regardless of the timing or cause, is basically the same. Energetically, there are just two reasons the heart hurts, and, once we understand them, we can begin to heal.
Have you ever seen the roots of a bulb like a tulip, covered in dirt and stuck together? Each piece is capable of growing a plant and flowering on its own, yet when you separate them, you hear a snap. The dirt falls over your fingers, and the sides of the bulbs, where they have broken apart, are raw. Although they are still whole, they need some time to cure. A heart is the same way; it forms attachments with other hearts, where they share the nourishment of the earth, growing their leaves and flowers together. When pulled apart, they literally tear. They are open, raw, and, perhaps, filled with some debris. This is the first reason why broken hearts hurt. In many ways, a broken heart is no different than the skinned knee of a child who has fallen while playing on the pavement.
Fortunately, like all wounds, a broken heart can heal with time. The physical body has cells, carried by the flow of the blood, that fight infection and mend tissues. In the same way, the spiritual heart has a flow that cleanses the wound and mends the tears. Some call that flow Dao, or they know it by the name of a god, but it is most simply love – life force itself. To access this flow, we need only take a few slow breaths. As we settle into our bodies, we visualize a pure rain falling on us from the highest light above. Perhaps the droplets are pink, golden, or shimmering white. Feel them gently tapping the top of your head and falling over your shoulders. Let them wash away the sadness and pain. Feel yourself like the skinned knee, as a gentle hand brushes away the little rocks and pieces of torn skin. Your tears begin to dry, and there is a pretty, fresh Band-Aid covering the wound, giving it a little time to heal.
But there is a deeper reason why broken hearts hurt. Many are much more painful than a skinned knee, or even than a broken limb. The wound may fester and spread. It may atrophy or get stuck in a cycle where it never seems fully to heal. Those with such a wound may fall into deep depression. They may experience other symptoms like panic attacks, outbursts of anger, or utter hopelessness. Think again of the pieces of the tulip bulb stuck together. The problem is not just that they snap as we pull them apart; it is that, while they are together, they nourish each other. They depend on each other’s flow.
None of us in human form is perfectly open and clear. We all have areas in our energy bodies that are closed, knotted, washed away, or not completely formed. These are areas where we do not fully or consistently feel the flow of love, where we feel instead lonely, hollow, numb, drained, confused, or even physically sick. When we are bound in love with another, the ecstatic energy of union covers up all of these little holes. In our moments of togetherness, we taste the world, our own existences, in their perfection and wholeness. To the extent that we remain in love, we continue to be nourished by this extra flow. However, when that connection is lost, suddenly, the veil is lifted. We see and feel every single human imperfection – every spot where we are stuck, where love does not flow well through us. It can feel as if we are suddenly broken, but really, with this extra layer of love now gone, we are suddenly revealed.
If you are in the midst of a broken heart, try this. As you are feeling a wave of pain or sadness, see if you can catch the thought that goes along with it. Perhaps the thought is, “I will never find love again,” or, “I will never be happy again.” See how many thoughts you can catch riding the waves, and continue to follow their trail. You will notice that they all have one theme in common: they are all thoughts of lack or of judgment. You are not good enough, you do not have enough, you are not enough to be loved, or to experience any of the sweetness you associate with love – happiness, success, health, wealth, acceptance, abundance, etc. Do not be afraid of these thoughts. They are just the knots and holes in your own energetic field laid bare.
As you identify more and more spots where your energy does not flow easily, you may feel full of holes, like a piece of Swiss cheese. Let yourself hang out for a moment in these spots that feel tangled, raw, or open. Imagine them breathing. The holes in the Swiss cheese are drawing in the nourishing flow of love. They fill with light as you breathe in and shed their pain as you breathe out. You are being nourished and cleansed. Give yourself a moment to remain in the flow of love. Your head warms with the light from high above, as cool droplets of rain begin gently tapping on the crown of your head. The rain washes over your shoulders, clearing the space around you and filling every cell in your body with the rainbow light of love. There is nothing more you need to understand or to do right now. The actions and insights you need will come later without effort, all on their own. They will come simply because you have connected yourself again with the flow of love.
You may think that this is interesting advice, but that you are not strong enough for it. You do not want to be in this situation, caught up in the business of mending a broken heart. You’d rather forget about it. You’d rather escape. You’d rather be anywhere else facing anything other than this. Rest assured; this is the path that will take you beyond a broken heart. Running in any other direction will only prolong your pain. “Why does the heart have to break?” you ask. “Why should any of us have to suffer so?”
When a healthy child is born, the first thing they do is to cry out. They are in the midst of receiving the great blessing of new life, yet they cry out as if in terrible pain. They cry as their lungs fill with air for the very first time. Sometimes, a quick shock of pain is just the feeling of energy moving into new, unopened space. When the heart tears open, we cry out for the very same reason. Light suddenly reaches inner depths we have not yet explored. We probably did not even know they existed until they began to fill with what first feels like intense, unbearable pain. Yet, over time, we begin to see that a broken heart is just the path to an open heart. There is no need to rejoice at our losses, or to thank the Universe for taking away what we held dear. But I promise that, as you call in the nourishing light, you will find new life. You will grow stronger and brighter than before.
Ready to try the healing exercises described here? Check out my (free) guided meditation on YouTube. Reply in the comments, and let me know how it went for you!