Love is painful, because it creates the way for joy, for bliss and for compassion. Love is painful, because it transforms you. Love is growth.
Love itself does not hurt. It is growth that hurts, the ego that stings.
Each transformation is painful because the old situation is being left behind for the new. For example, when a relationship ends we feel hurt, our hopes and dreams have crashed and we feel lost and lonely, wondering what comes next. Fear arises because the unknown is in front of us, and the mind usually assumes the negative, saying things like, "I'll never meet anyone else," "I'm too old/overweight/unattractive" or "I don't have time for a new relationship." The temptation is to shut down, open that bag of potato chips, pour that glass of wine, turn on the TV and give up on love.
Here are six keys to help you face this challenge and keep your heart open, so that you can have the abundance of love that you want and deserve.
1. Understand The Real Problem
The real problem is the mind. Fear lives in the mind, and the mind wants you to hang on to a situation that is known and comfortable for you. The ego-mind resists change because it is afraid of losing control and feels insecure about the unpredictability of the unknown. Love means the death of the ego, because love cannot be controlled, it can only be received and accepted. Love is fragile. One day it is there, the next day it may be gone -- like the wind. We cannot grasp the wind in our fist; we can only enjoy and appreciate it while it is there. With this awareness, be present with love, and it will grow and expand.
2. Practice Gratitude
A gratitude practice is of tremendous help with all matters of the heart. For example, when that relationship ends, be grateful for the good times you shared, for what this person gave you with their energy, time and heart. Thank them for being in your life, and wish them well as they move on to what's next for them. When you hold this person with love in your heart, even though they may be the one breaking up with you and even if they've already met someone else, you are healing yourself. It's love that heals your broken heart. By refusing to shut your heart down, and by facing the hurt and fear, you are able to receive all the love you need to heal and move on.
3. Surround Yourself With Loving Friends and Family
At a difficult time when you are, for example, going through a divorce or a difficult breakup, your youngest child has left for college or you feel betrayed by a friend, it's important to keep your heart open to receiving love and support from friends and family. Life doesn't always seem fair, but love is always there, available for us; we just have to be open to receiving it. Be careful not to expect support from people who have nothing to give or who do not wish you well. Avoid them, and focus on the people you know do love you. Sometimes a professional counselor can be just the right fit if family and friends are too overwhelmed with their own lives.
4. Take Responsibility for How You Interpret Your Situation
Bring loving awareness to yourself, and be careful not to judge yourself or compare yourself with others. You have a choice between experiencing resentment, pain and suffering or love, peace and joy. It all depends on your interpretation of the situation. Do you perceive yourself as a victim? Or, can you accept the situation -- which doesn't mean you have to like it -- for what it is, and receive the blessing that is often revealed later on.
What if you created this very situation so that you could continue to grow and expand in love?
By taking the responsibility on your own shoulders, you are having integrity -- which portends well for you -- and you will discover a rich well of creativity, strength and wisdom inside you that you didn't know you had!
5. Watch the Mind
For the mind, love is a dangerous path. The mind will advise you to avoid love, but this is even more dangerous, because love is the central core of our lives. A life without love is a life that is withered and dried up.
It is because of the pain of love that millions live a loveless life -- like a rotten seed that has never opened to flower to it's fullest potential. If you don't go into love, as many people have decided, then you are stuck with your bags of potato chips! Then, your life is a stagnant pool. You need to keep the energy flowing, like a river that keeps on flowing to the ocean.
6. Always Choose Love
Always choose love because even though there is pain, to suffer in love is not to suffer in vain; it takes you to higher levels of consciousness. There is a positive, creative outcome for you. If you choose the mind you will also suffer, but it will be useless suffering with an unproductive outcome. Life will be dull, and you will become neurotic from lack of love. To be afraid of love and to be afraid of the growing pains of love is to remain enclosed in a dark cell.
The transformation we all go through is from control of the mind to vulnerability of the heart, and the agony can be deep. But, you cannot have ecstasy without going through agony. If the gold wants to be purified, it has to pass through fire.
Love is fire.
Find your courage and love, fully and completely. Trust and live in your heart. Love takes you from the head to the heart and nurtures, comforts and heals you even as you pass through the fire.
With love, the ego drops and the soul arises. Love is food for the soul.
You can ask yourself, "Is this pain for my growth?" "Is my heart breaking open to give and receive even more love?" Every time your heart breaks open, yes, it's painful, but it means your heart is expanding and deepening. The pain is productive.
Learn from each experience, watch the ego and choose love. Go through the dark night and you reach a beautiful sunrise. It is only in the womb of the dark night that the sun evolves. It is only through the dark night that the morning comes.