Closing a Book

The following is my last entry from my first journal for morning pages. I felt like it spoke to many of the challenges and growing pains I have gone through in walking the Way in recent months and thereby thought it may be useful to others to share here.


Well, this is it: the final entry. The last few months have been quite a journey. I’ve continued on the path of practice with all the challenges that arise in such an endeavor, the endeavor to wake up. Furthermore, I’ve endured heartbreak. Perhaps these two go hand in hand…

I just looked back at the first few entries of the journal to get a sense of who I was at the time. I was finishing the Heartbreak Wisdom bootcamp. I was finding my way to digest my pain of the last few months before and transform it into strength as a spiritual warrior.

In some ways, I’m still at these steps, but at the same time, my focus on the open-hearted way is intensifying. I less readily get emotionally reactive, and when I do, I can better stay present with it or subvert it instead of fully running with it.

I more readily see our ways of spinning stories and creating our own drama. I see this all the time in others, and the pell-mell run towards happiness and away from an underlying anxiety leaves a smile on my face. I smile compassionately, and when I’m very awake, I can see when I do these dramatic shifts myself and can center myself with compassion.

Something that has been very interesting for me in recent spiritual adventures is the call to the mystery of being. Getting past the ego’s focus on “me“, on certainty, on the undying (or rather, a yearning for it) opens a door to the profound enigma that is emergence. Each moment is truly a miracle. We fail to see it, so we experience it boxed and filtered through our own interpretation. We throw labels like good and bad, like and dislike, interesting and boring, on everything before we’re even experiencing it. The rawness of it generally eludes us, and it takes a “doing nothing”, a “just sitting”, to open to the miraculous that unfolds every moment in the universe universing itself. This doesn’t mean that our flitting thoughts are to be discarded. They are part of this unfolding miracle as well. However, we generally give them weight–grabbing onto them and holding them as more important than the puffs of breeze we feel softly moving across our skin–but are they really that different? Do they not pass by just as quickly if we don’t flow along with them? Do we try to hold onto the wind or to run alongside it? Wonder is right here to behold, just waiting for an open heart.

Heartbreak Wisdom Journal – Entry 1: Wounded Heart’s Tender Flesh

Disclaimer: I’ve been working through heartbreak still. It’s a process. Although I’m much better than a couple months ago, I still work through sadness while diligently pursuing a path of compassion and learning. Each day goes by, and each day, I show up and practice a bit more. I recently purchased a book to work through to help me with processing all the challenges and opportunities of a broken heart. It’s called “The Wisdom of a Broken Heart”. The book recommends keeping a “Heartbreak Wisdom Journal” as part of the process, with many included activities to get you to see your situation more clearly and tenderly. I’ve started this journal and thought I would share some of the posts here for anyone else who may benefit from sharing the process of heartbreak.

A book to work and write through…

After starting this yesterday [there was an initial exercise in the book with some basic questions], I had strange dreams in which Lisa told me how little she loved me and for how long that had been the case. It was very upsetting. I think that sitting calmly through my feelings for months and reading many of the same books that inspired Susan Piver’s The Wisdom of a Broken Heart have put me several steps ahead of her initial points. However, I realize now that the feelings continue to drag on because I have not fully walked toward them and invited that pain into my tender heart: fully taking up the warrior’s heart.

These dreams felt like the opening of a wound–the emotional pus oozed out. The tender flesh underneath has much to heal and much to offer.

The point when I knew that The Wisdom of a Broken Heart was perfect for my healing process was when I was reading the introduction and found that the author was inspired in her heartbreak by the same book that touched me and brought some sense back to my shattered world a couple months ago. Furthermore, she quoted a passage from the book that sticks with me more than most any other. I will share it here in greater length than she did:

When you awaken your heart in this way, you find to your surprise, that your heart is empty. You find that you are looking into outer space. What are you, who are you, where is your heart? If you really look, you won’t find anything tangible and solid. Of course, you might find something very solid if you have a grudge against someone or you have fallen possessively in love. But that is not awakened heart. If you search for awakened heart, if you put your hand through your rib cage and feel for it, there is nothing there except for tenderness. You feel sore and soft, and if you open your eyes to the rest of the world, you feel tremendous sadness. This kind of sadness doesn’t come from being mistreated. You don’t feel sad because you feel impoverished. Rather, this experience of sadness is unconditioned. It occurs because your heart is completely exposed. There is no skin or tissue covering it; it is pure raw meat. Even if a tiny mosquito lands on it, you feel so touched. Your experience is raw and tender and so personal.

The genuine heart of sadness comes from feeling that your nonexistent heart is full. You would like to spill your heart’s blood and give your heart to others. For the warrior, this experience of sad and tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. Conventionally, being fearless means that you are not afraid or that if someone hits you, you will hit him back. However, we are not talking about that street-fighter level of fearlessness. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others. –Chögyam Trungpa Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, pp. 31-32

Warriors Rejoice at the Great Eastern Sun!

Months ago, I wrote a poem about a scab over my heart. This was right before I had my heart broken completely. Maybe it’s time to pick at that scab and reveal the tender flesh beneath… Then again, I think I have already started doing just that.

Next Heartbreak Wisdom Journal Entry: Entry 2: Gentleness Toward Your Experience