The Pain of Unrequited Love

By Lama Shenpen Hookham
Buddhism Connect

A student writes:

“You make it seem quite simple to deal with unrequited love. But from my experience it is not so light-hearted a matter.

Of course every case is different and the unrequited love may be rather a withdrawal of love by the partner or a denial that it ever existed. In any case the pain is real and seemingly devastating to one’s Buddhist practise, which in my case is not at all well-developed.

My heart wish is for oblivion. I would dissolve in my lover and exist only in him. So, if love is withdrawn or never existed where does that leave me? That’s where I am at the moment.”

Lama Shenpen:

The pain is real. That is the point. Turn towards that pain again and again. It is your open and sensitive heart hurting. Don’t shut it down – let the hurt open you up – it’s no use trying to shut it down. It doesn’t get better that way. It is like trying to kill something that just won’t die. Better accept that the pain is real.

What else are you going to do with it if not try to smooth it away? Let it be what it is – open out – let it hurt and notice again and again that it is this pain that unites you will all other beings.

Everywhere you look others are suffering just as you are. It is universal. Everyone longs for that love, that being known, that being accepted for what they are – for companionship, for communication deep and meaningful, for trust, for warmth, for the joy of discovering what is true and genuine in oneself and others.

So let your heart open and feel the pain of yourself and of others. That pain cannot destroy you and it cannot make things worse – at least when you open to the pain you feel alive and where there is life there is hope. >>More

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