Q: I have a lot of anger, resentment, disappointment, and pain in my heart because of things that have happened to me, and to my loved ones, in the past. Sometimes, I will see something or someone that will cause those feelings to rise up to the surface. I often feel heartbroken all over again.
How can I mend my broken heart? Once and for all.
A: The simple answer is, all you need is love. But it’s a bit more complicated than that.
First, you must understand that love is not something you fall into. It’s not something that finds you. It doesn’t come looking for you. It won’t hit you over the head, and take you by surprise. Love is not something that someone else gives you.
Love is something that you cultivate. Constantly, consistently, and with great care. One way to cultivate love is to meditate on it.
The first step is to sit, quietly, with no distractions. Just breathe. Notice your feelings, without any judgment. Then invite in some gratitude for your breath, and for the body you occupy.
The second step is to practice a loving kindness meditation. Start by sending thoughts of loving kindness to yourself. I like to use four phrases, because that rhythm suits me. You can use more, or fewer. I use words that are something like this:
May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be free from suffering. May I love and be loved. (Notice the feelings that arise in you.)
Next, think of someone close to you, someone you love. Then send the thoughts out to them. May they be happy. May they be healthy. May they be free from suffering. May they love and be loved. (Notice the feelings that surface.)
Next, send it to someone who gets on your nerves a little. May they be happy. May they be healthy. May they be free from suffering. May they love and be loved. (Notice the feelings that arise.)
Next, send it someone who you don’t really know very well. A co-worker, the cashier at 7-11, the mail carrier… May they be happy. May they be healthy. May they be free from suffering. May they love and be loved. (Notice the feelings…)
Next, send it to someone who has wronged you in some way. May they be happy. May they be healthy. May they be free from suffering. May they love and be loved. (Notice the feelings…)
Next, begin to expand the thought slowly to people, and creatures, in your neighborhood, state, country, and then to everyone in the world. Everyone. May each of them be happy. Healthy. Free from suffering. Love and be loved. (Notice…)
Finally, bring it back in to yourself again. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be free from suffering. May I love and be loved. (Notice…)
You can change the phrases that you use, to suit your own therapeutic needs. Perhaps you’d like to include other phrases. May I/they be open-hearted. May I/they release the past. May I/they forgive and be forgiven…
As you do this, remember that you are just sitting there and thinking. You may notice that sending the words to someone you love brings up different feelings than sending them to someone who wronged you. It might be difficult to even imagine sending the words to some people. Send them anyway. Sit with all of the feelings, allow your heart to hold them, and soften to them.
Whenever you come upon someone in your day to day life who triggers your anger, or sadness, allow yourself to feel those tense feelings. As your chest tightens and your heart hardens itself against the emotions, take a breath. Invite the practice into your mind. Imagine your heart softening to the feelings and wrapping itself around them rather than shutting them out. Imagine the loving kindness,and send the words first to yourself, and then to your trigger person.
May you both be happy. And healthy. And free from suffering. May you both live a life of loving kindness.
I promise you, if you make this a daily practice you will begin to notice a change in your reactions. You will see a change in yourself. The love and kindness you cultivate will begin to overpower the anger, resentment, sadness, and self-righteousness that you have become accustomed to. You will slowly replace all blame and judgment with kindness and compassion.
Your heart will heal itself over and over again. With love.
[If you are working through, or healing from, something specific and would like statements that are more tailored to your needs, I would love to help! Feel free to message me so we can talk about it and come up with the words that might be best for you.]