When Our Hearts Break – Inspirational Quotations

the dark Iris

The Zen of an Aching Heart

“Your days pass like rainbows, like a flash of lightning, like a star at dawn. Your life is short. How can you quarrel?”

~The Buddha


In the Jewish mystical tradition, one great Rabbi taught his disciples to memorize and contemplate the teachings and place the prayers and holy words on their heart. One day a student asked the Rabbi why he always used the phrase “on your heart” and not “in your heart,” and the master replied, “Only time and grace can put the essence of these stories in your heart. Here we recite and learn them and put them on our hearts hoping that some day when our heart breaks they will fall in.”

But when our heart breaks—in love, in friendship, in partnership—it is always a very difficult experience. Modern neuroscience has even discovered that the emotional suffering we experience registers in the same areas of the brain as physical pain. So when we’re feeling abandoned and rejected, we don’t want to eat, we can’t sleep, we have difficulty breathing, our bodies feel as if we have the flu or we’ve been run over by a truck.

So, what can we do when we have to accept the loss of a friend, a lover, or a loved one? What truth can we find beyond the stories we tell ourselves about how they’re wrong and we’re right, or that we’re wrong and they’re right? What can we do besides spending fruitless hours trying decipher everything they said or did? Can we do something more useful than justifying to ourselves what we said or did, or wishing that we had said or done something else? And what can we do when the story spreads to nearly drown us in despair over feelings that there’s something wrong with us, that we’re unlovable, that we’re the reason things didn’t work out?

Like a sandcastle, all is temporary.

Build it, tend it, enjoy it.

And when the time comes

let it go.

The first thing you need to do when you’ve suffered loss or betrayal is to find a way to regain your wise heart so that you can let it hold the aching of your heart. The Zen teacher Karlfried Von Durckheim speaks of the importance of the need to go through our difficulties in a conscious and clear way.

The person who, already being on the way, falls upon hard times in the world, will not as a consequence turn to those friends who offered them refuge and comfort and encourage their old self to survive. Rather, they will seek out someone who will faithfully and inexorably help them to risk themselves, so they may endure the difficulty and pass courageously through it. Only to the extent that a person exposes themselves over and over again to annihilation and loss can that which is indestructible be found within them. In this daring lie dignity and the spirit of true awakening.


Sometimes suffering the losses and the unexpected betrayals and break-ups that befall each of us becomes the places where we grow deepest in our capacity to lead an authentic and free life. Here is where the heart grows in dignity and care. By grieving honorably and tenderly and working our way through our difficulties, our ability to love and feel compassion for ourselves and others deepens, along with the trust that will help us through similar problems in the future.

Breathe. Remember, there are countless others who have suffered in this way and gotten through it. We are not alone. Learning how to survive our present difficulties is one of the few things that will help us to know the right things to say and do when others whom we love suffer as well.

This excerpt is taken from the book, “A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times“ Jack Kornfield

Play Of Life, Anandamayi Ma – Child Of Light



Alexander Lipski wrote in his book  “The Essential Sri Anandamayi Ma”: The days I stayed in the Ashram of Anandamayi Ma flew by. Throughout my stay I had a feeling of utter contentment and peace – world problems were temporarily eclipsed. As though in the presence of a gigantic spiritual magnet by mind was engrossed in the Divine. When thinking of the blissful experiences I had there, there flashes even now through my mind a scene of a kirtana with Mataji. And I hear her chanting “He Bhajavan” ” to the accompaniment of a harmonium. Her chanting is the very expression of divine love and ecstasy and prompts me to echo the words of the Persian inscription on the Divan-i-Khas:

“If on Earth be an Eden of bliss, it is this, it is this, none but this” … Here is an excerpt from Lipski’s book on the topic of suffering.

Anandamayi Ma’s view on suffering and poverty are so diametrically opposed to the whole philosophy of modern western man that it would require revolutionary changes in his attitude for him to agree with her. All our attempts to wipe out poverty and the doctors’ frantic quest for eliminating physical pain are undertaken in the belief that perfection can be attained by physical means. They are based on a ritualistic view of the universe which labels certain things as evil without acknowledging their redeeming potential. Above all, this applies to modern western man’s aversion to suffering, which is regarded as an unmitigated evil.. In contract, Andanadmayi Ma holds up to us the attitude toward pain as exemplified in India’s great epic, the Ramayana. There, Hanuman, the loyal devotee of Rama built a bridge to Sri Lanka, in order to rescue Sita, Rama’s consort, who had been abducted and taken to Sri Lanka by the demon King Ravana. During the construction of the bridge, Hanuman accidentally hurt a squirrel. The squirrel thereupon complained to Rama and demanded that in punishment Rama step upon Hanuman. Rama did so and told Hanuman not to commit such a deed again, if he did not want to suffer similar punishment. But Hanuman retorted: “I will very often commit such faults so that I may repeatedly feel the pressure of your feet.”

Further to stress the purifying effect of suffering, Anandamayi Ma tells the story of a pitcher which became a puja vessel. Originally it had been just an ordinary clump of earth on which people trampled and into which people dug with sharp spades. Later the earth was taken to a potter who kneaded it and put it on a potter’s wheel, turned it around, moulded it and fired it to make it hard and solid. Only then was it fit to be used as a puja vessel and sacred Ganges water poured into it. Similarly human vessels have to be moulded to become fit instruments for the divine spirit. “Be enduring as earth, then divine life will be awakened in you.” By looking at suffering from a truly monistic point of view, another dimension emerges: “Who is it that loves and who is that who suffers? He alone stages a play with himself. The individual suffers because he perceives duality. Find the One everywhere and in everything and there will be an end to pain and suffering..

I Love Because I Love – Love And Friendship


Why hide your feelings from the one you love? Why love the one who loves another? Why give everything if only pain comes in return? Why wait if there’s nothing to wait for? I guess the answer is love. Here’s a beautiful essay from David Whyte.

UNREQUITED love is the love human beings experience most of the time. The very need to be fully requited may be to turn from the possibilities of love itself. Men and women have always had difficulty with the way a love returned hardly ever resembles a love given, but unrequited love may be the form that love mostly takes; for what affection is ever returned over time in the same measure or quality with which it is given? Every man or woman loves differently and uniquely and each of us holds different dreams and hopes and falls in love or is the object of love at a very specific threshold in a very particular life where very, very particular qualities are needed for the next few years of our existence. What other human being could ever love us as we need to be loved? And whom could we know so well and so intimately through all the twists and turns of a given life that we could show them exactly, the continuous and appropriate form of affection they need? Requited love may happen, but it is a beautiful temporary, a seasonal blessing, the aligning of stars not too often in the same quarter of the heavens; an astonishing blessing, but it is a harvest coming only once every long cycle, and a burden to the mind and the imagination when we set that dynamic as the state to which we must always return to in order to feel ourselves in a true, consistent, loving relationship. Whether our affections are caught in romantic love, trying to see our neighbors as ourselves or trying to love a great but distant God, our love rarely seems to be returned in the mode that it is given. That gift is returned in ways that to begin with, we rarely recognize. Human beings live in disappointment and a self-appointed imprisonment when they refuse to love unless they are loved the self- same way in return. It is the burden of marriage, the difficult invitation at the heart of parenting and the central difficulty in our relationship with an imagined, living God. The great discipline seems to be to give up wanting to control the manner in which we are requited, and to forgo the natural disappointment that flows from expecting an exact and measured reciprocation, from a partner, from a child, from a loving God. We seem to have been born into a world where love, except for brilliant, exceptional moments, often seems to exist from one side only, ours – and that may be the difficulty and the revelation and the gift – to see love as the ultimate letting go and through the doorway of that affection, make the most difficult sacrifice of all, giving away the very thing we want to hold forever.

Excerpt from UNREQUITED taken from The Reader’s Circle essay series. ©2011: David Whyte.