This week I received a couple of questions about how to move on after heartbreak, where you have lost someone who has died or have been betrayed by someone. The writer was having trouble moving on to become happy.
Whether you have lost someone due to death or betrayal, there is still the loss of someone you have cared about and there is the loss of the relationship itself.
In the case of a death, we can always chant for our loved one during gongyo. My personal experience with the prayers for the dead is that they comfort the heart. They are also a way of caring for your loved one after death when they can’t chant for themselves. You can help them make their transition more peacefully, for we are always connected to one another both in life and in death.
But even while chanting, we still must go through the grieving process. Grieving allows us to gradually detach ourselves from the relationship. Sometimes we hold onto the grief because we aren’t ready to let go. If that happens grieving is just going to take more time. So be patient with yourself. That being said, we don’t want to park there, but to keep moving through the process.
Reach Out, You Won’t Be Alone
Reaching out to others who are grieving can strengthen our own ability to meet our own problems with courage. In the World Tribune there is the story of Mrs Chang, an artist and activist who was grieving and noticed that most people avoid talking about death. She wanted to engage with others around this so she found a crumbling house in New Orleans and with permission from the owner and the community she covered it with chalkboard paint and stenciled, “Before I die, I want to______.” The wall encouraged people passing by to pick up a piece of chalk and reflect on their lives. They responded by writing
Tell my mother I love her.
Abandon all insecurities.
Get my wife back.
Straddle the international date line.
Live off the grid.
Be completely myself.
Mrs Change both teared up and laughed out loud. The wall reminded her she wasn’t alone. Walls have been erected in over 75 countries and in some 35 languages.
Reaching out to other people is one way to help with the grieving process, so you aren’t alone.
Betrayal Allows Us to Grow Spiritually
Betrayal adds a whole other dimension to the grieving process. In order to move on from a betrayal we have to be willing to let go of our resentment and anger.
It’s important to remember that the events of our lives, whether we would have chosen them or not, are the curriculum of our evolution. No matter what the circumstance, there is always a valuable insight to be mined.
Betrayal, just because it’s so difficult, is a good opportunity to do our human revolution and grow spiritually. To grow spiritually might require forgiveness. You might ask, “How can I forgive the unforgivable? This person needs to pay.”
This person will pay, as the workings of karma are quite strict. The seeds the betrayer set in his/her life will bear like fruit in the future through the simultaneity of the law of cause and effect. You can rest assured about that.
You might say, “This person does not deserve forgiveness.” This may well be the case, but forgiveness is not for the betrayer. Forgiveness does not mean you are condoning abusive behavior or becoming a doormat, and you always stand up for what you believe in.
Forgiveness is for the Betrayed
Forgiveness is to free you, the betrayed, who doesn’t want to be ruled by resentment and anger any longer. Your anger is toxic to you, but isn’t affecting the betrayer at all. Anger is like drinking poison yourself while expecting the other person to suffer.
Somehow we need to recognize, however deplorable the behavior, at their core the betrayer is an spiritual being having a human experience. He/she has a Buddha nature, an infinite side as we all do. Remember Bodhisattva Never Disparaging who recognized the Buddha nature of all those who threw stones at him. He was able to see their Buddha nature no matter how unskillful their behavior. He separated the person from the action, knowing that at their core they were infinite beings.
We can sit in front of the gohonzon and chant to see the person differently so that by raising our own life condition, we can better understand and develop compassion for a person who has to be suffering to behave in this way. This is what human revolution is all about. It is taking whatever happens in our lives and however difficult it is, being willing to use it to evolve to a higher state of being.
Forgiveness is an ongoing process. It doesn’t just happen once but you will know you have achieved it if you run into that person unexpectedly and find you are wishing the best for them. You will have broken the old patterns of thought and created new ones.
Today we looked at how to move on through grieving the loss of a relationship through death, or having been betrayed. We discussed the fact that grieving is the way to gradually detach from the relationship and it can be helpful to reach out to others so you aren’t alone.
Chanting for the dead during gongyo can allow you to influence their lives in a positive way and make their transition more peaceful.
Then we discussed what to do when you have been betrayed. Karma will handle the feeling that the person should pay. The other side of betrayal is to release yourself from the prison of toxic feelings and resentments, which only hurt you, not the betrayer.
It is using the events of our lives to evolve to a higher spiritual state by in the case of betrayal by chanting to see this person differently so you can expand your heart and develop compassion for them. That might require separating the core of the person from the unskillful behavior, knowing that at the core they are an infinite being as you are.
Finally we noted that forgiveness is an ongoing process, but you will know when you achieve it by finding you are wishing them well.
1. Your life is Your Curriculum https://youtu.be/hkURlDFUBAQ
2. Just How Responsible Are We For Our Problems https://youtu.be/8QU8cwKQ-q8
3. Know How to Use Troubles to Nourish Your Growth? https://youtu.be/uZIy3wQ8uPU
Script download:Death and betrayal
Thank you for your comments and questions. I love hearing from you. I try to answer comments as they come up and when there is a particularly universal question I turn it into a vlog. Keep them coming and I’ll see you again the first Thursday of September.