The Islamic Garden
When you break up from a long-term relationship there is always pain. Even if the marriage ended with an element of bitterness and blaming, there will inevitably be memories of better, happier days, lost dreams, hidden regrets, and moments of love that are now lost. What happened to change something that was once so beautiful and happy, and now it lies broken?
We could sit and worry and analyze and remember trying to collect the pieces of the now broken life, to understand what went wrong. There is a certain amount of satisfaction in doing this because it keeps the mind busy and focused on the past. Indeed, the past is far easier to reckon with than the all-important present.
Anything. Anything is better to focus on than that awful, drowning, sinking feeling of nothingness that grips your insides when you are coping with loss. That awful emptiness that nothing seems to be able to fill. Where does this yawning gap within you come from? Were you born with it? Will you have to die with it? Is it inevitable that you have to experience this? If you are living through such a situation and feeling the loss; feeling the pain of being shattered, then yes, you have to live with the emptiness and accept it.
Accepting the emptiness does not mean it will never change and go away. It simply means that experiencing loss and emptiness is a part of life; something we must confront and deal with if we are to continue on journey of self-discovery and inner strength.
Emptiness is disguised pain. Pain comes in all shades and depths. There is sharp, striking pain that you feel at the onset of difficulty. Then, there is the deep, thudding pain of regret. There is also numbness where the pain is so severe, the soul turns aside. Then there is emptiness, where the soul realizes that deep within us is a place that is so different from our transient world, and in this place is vastness; the universe and beyond; the potential we conceal; the horizons we can comprehend – a place that is scary and from which we run if we are ruled by ego, pride, selfishness, and greed. It’s a place for warriors, for only the brave at heart and calm of mind can enter and stay. It is the place where peace is found, and pearls of wisdom drop like rain. It is the place of guidance and light. But, most of us run away from it. We can only enter it and endure is vastness and opportunity if we submit. How?
When the pain of loss, the pain of disappointment, the pain of regret, the pain of shame, the pain of fear overwhelm the soul and cause it to rise and seek escape, we run and flee from the very thing that contains the answers we need.
We hold and grasp onto anything to keep us from falling into the emptiness that opens and ushers us in when the heart is broken and soft; when pride is gone and fear has been so severe that we see its other side. We hold onto things that make us feel safe, things that comfort us and make us feel successful, wise and strong. It might be work, or a relationship, or a hobby or interest about which we are passionate – not that these things are in themselves bad or negative, but just that we define ourselves according to them; live for them and enslave ourselves to them. We might live our whole lives holding onto them, feeling successful, being called and labelled as successful, happy, triumphant, but you know, if you dare to look that the emptiness is there, inviting.
And what would happen if we submitted to our reality, allowed ourselves to feel the pain, experience the loss, bear the storm? What would happen if we stopped holding on to things, people, hopes for the future? When we let go; when we allow ourselves to become immersed in the emptiness we take a step back from our everyday life and enter a world of meditation, a world of remembrance of the Creator, a world where wisdom, guidance and compassion are the rule. It is a place where your soul sees itself and what it does everyday, the people it meets, the places it goes, the situations it confronts, the problems it faces and from this distance, it sees the life that exists within us. It sees the possibility of experiencing joy in simple things because truth attaches itself to everything and life is governed by compassion but in the busy, transient world we do not stop long enough to perceive or feel.
The emptiness is only scary when we allow ourselves to be governed by fear and hesitation. It becomes a place of rest when we learn to let go and stand alone.
So when the pain of the broken relationship weighs so heavy on the heart that it breaks and the emptiness is clear and threatening, take a moment to stop. Remember how this life was created with compassion in all things. Remember that no soul carries a burden it can not bear. Remember that often what we dislike is good for us, what we like is dangerous, what we seek is often harmful and what we lose was not meant for us. If we do this we will accept what we can not change and we will gain strength to change what we can.
You will remain so until you learn to stand alone.