Raise your hands, and be honest here, if you’ve ever had your heart broken. This can be in any capacity, romantic or otherwise. If I could count your hands right now, I’ve a sneaking suspicion everyone, everywhere, has their hand up. I would imagine that if you’re actually doing this, there are fingers aimed skyward in living rooms, in bed sheets, at dining room tables, in home offices. I can see them, I can see you all bravely admitting that your heart has been tested, bent, stretched, and maybe felt fractured. I know this because I have felt this, too, because if we are alive we’ve suffered.
This fine Sunday, I want to invoke a bit of memory, I want you to sink into the soft and familiar folds of nostalgia, and I want you to remember someone that we all forget to remember, a person we would most likely no longer recognize were we to meet them on some dark and dusty road. Us, but new, ourselves, but unburdened with heartache, unencumbered with distrust and suspicion. Us, but who we were before the inevitabilities, just before those fateful words, events, twists of fate that finally introduce us to the reality of things, to the first of the Noble Truths that Buddhists have long since studied: Life is suffering.
When I say this to people who have never dipped their toes into Buddhist waters, everyone immediately assumes the worst. It’s seen as negativity, as a pessimistic view of the world around you, it’s seen as depressing or even sad. Truth is, I get where that viewpoint can come from, and if I didn’t know what I do about Buddhism, I’d probably share those sentiments with you. Knowing what I do, however, I understand the opposite. Life is suffering, the first Noble Truth, is without a shadow of a doubt, honest, and it’s right. We go through life and we lose, so much we lose. We lose those we love, we lose jobs, we break our favorite coffee mugs, we watch pets die, we get sick, we age, we slow down. Life is a long list of suffering, and the origin of that suffering brings us to the second Noble Truth: The cause of this suffering is our attachments, our desires, and our own ignorance. The good news is, the next two Noble Truths speak to the ending of our suffering, and even provide a path out, but that’s another story for another day. Today, we’re just talking about the first two, and in a sense, stepping back to before all that ignorance, desire, and attachment began to filter into our lives. Before we noticed the inevitable suffering, that is.
If you allow your thoughts to drift back, back to the before times when you weren’t carrying the knowledge of heartbreak or betrayal, you’ll probably even see the lack of attachment, the lack of desire and craving that lead to the heartbreak in the first place. This is good. The hard part is, once Pandora’s Box has been opened, there’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube, and we know what we know…forever. What we Can do, however, is take lessons from that youth, that innocence, and apply them going forward. By remembering, and often, the simplicity of our own youth, the clean slate before we began the ever-evolving process of writing and erasing and writing and erasing, we can glimpse a version of ourselves that is not in fact carrying all that weight. We can, if we try, learn from that person, we can begin to cut out what doesn’t work in our current lives, we can adjust our own perspectives from the heartaches we’ve endured, we can be thankful for the time we had, for the love we enjoyed before it was lost, the connections we made before they broke, the trust we were brave enough to give, and we can remember to be willing to go through it all again.
First, we must remember. First, we must meditate back on who we were, how we felt, the color the world was painted in prior to any and all pessimism or distrust that leaked in, that stained our perceptions time and again.
Do you remember who You were before all the broken hearts? Do you remember who you were before trust was destroyed? Sink back into yourself, try to recall.
*Also, if I spoke in the podcast about needing, but not having, Intro music or a "theme song” please note, I recorded the audio before I figured out the theme music :) Sorry for the confusion.*
Remember that person,
before all the broken hearts,
before trust destroyed?
Song of the Week
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