There is a wonderful Japanese proverb that says: Fall down seven times, stand up eight.
In life, we get many chances, many opportunities, many do-overs. When we've been hurt, abandoned, embarrassed or ashamed, we can be left feeling as though we are on our proverbial knees. It's hard to care or even want to try again. We become apathetic, indifferent, numb or hard. We are tired. We get beat up in love and just don't want to bother. Teenagers say it best in that slangy, twangy way, and with a dramatic roll of the eyes, "what...ever." These hurt feelings can get buried deep in our bones, and over time, a deep sense of resignation can begin to apply to everything, especially our hearts.
And it's our hearts especially, because this is where we are the most vulnerable. More than almost any other subject, love is where it hurts most, because it's personal.
We never want to be in that position again. We say, "I am never going to open my heart up again like that to anyone!" And then, we don't.
And there we are.
So, how do you open your heart again, knowing full well that you could get hurt?
Love is vulnerable. And vulnerability feels, well, vulnerable! It must, or it would cease to actually be vulnerable. There is just no getting around this part of it. To open our hearts, we need to take our guards down - and be vulnerable. If we don't our lives will suffer for it.
And, if somehow, we do manage to get into a relationship with our hearts closed and guarded, the relationship will suffer for it. Our partner will complain that they can't reach us, that we're not really there. Because we're not.
If you close your heart off to love, you are basically closing your heart off to life, too. You can't close off love in just one place. It will be global. Every part of your life will be affected.
From a spiritual perspective it is ALL about love. It's only about love - the love of our family, our friends, our neighbors, our enemies, and most importantly, ourselves.
So, you have to take the risk, right? You have to know going in that you likely could, and maybe will, get your heart broken. And still, be willing to love again.
That's love in action.
That's falling down seven times, getting up eight.
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of
OPENING TO MEDITATION - www.DianaLang.com