The wounded heart can be the source of pain, aggression or the source of great compassion and kindness.
When we are in pain, we can feel isolated. It seems that the world is carrying on as always, but somehow, we feel apart from it. We only make it worse if we try to make comparisons between our own life and the life of another, because we can never do more than compare that person’s “exterior” with our “interior”. Such comparisons are largely pointless.
We forget that to be human implies suffering. All of us carry some sort of pain. All of us have things about ourselves that we would rather not share. However, if we do the work if we practice, then we begin to realise that pain is inevitable but most of the time suffering is optional.
Think for a moment of some hurt that somebody did to you years ago. If you still feel angry, humiliated and anxious, then you are creating that suffering. The pain was perhaps years or months ago, but you still suffer. The roots of suffering are to be found in the rational mind and the stories that it tells us.
It may be that great wrongs were done to you; maybe you suffered great pain at the hands of another. You walk around, live your life with a wounded heart beating in your chest. But the real question is just what are you going to do with that?
You could, as I did for many years, protect your wounded heart, trying to ignore your pain. But it will find a way out, usually destructively, usually in your relationships with those closest to and around you. This much I know: the pain I have caused others can be traced directly to the pain I myself carried in my wounded heart.
The alternative is more difficult and requires a certain amount of courage and determination. That alternative is to heal yourself, to face that pain with an attitude of open curiosity, kindness to yourself and a sense of humour. There is no short-cut and there is no single path. That is why we also need to approach this with a sense of humility and patience. We then each day can master the practices, attitudes and perception that will allow us to create our own path. As the saying goes: the path is also the destination. We accept ourselves, we are kind to ourselves until our hearts become softer. As we allow ourselves to feel vulnerable and more connected, then compassion arises for both ourselves and others.
So back to the original question; what will you do with your wounded heart? Will you let your pain cause even more pain to yourself and others or will you turn your darkness into light?