Protecting Your Heart From Pain

Apr 9, 2013 | Sufism

Have you ever held a newborn child?  You can feel the purity radiating off of them.  They are still very close to God.  We can feel the deep place in them that holds the throne of God.  The newborn has not yet experienced the hurts and frustrations of the world that cause us all to cover over and protect our hearts. They are still with their purity, and you can feel this purity just holding them.

We were that newborn once.  And as we began to have experiences in the world, some were of joy but some were of disappointment and pain.  A painful experience may have been as simple as our mother not coming quickly enough when we were crying.  Or it may have been as harsh as abuse. As human beings, we  try to make meaning of the events of our world.  And even as children, we gave meaning to what happened and a story about ourselves and the world came into creation.  The story may have been “nobody is there for me.”  It may have been, “I am not deserving of love.”  The story may not have been true, and so it created a veil over the heart and we then begin to see life through the veil, our interpretation of events, rather than through our initial purity.

As life continued, because the veil is now in place, we interpret events based on the veil vs. reality.  A loved one is late for a dinner date, so you see it as “I am not deserving of love, if I were more deserving, then he would not be late,” or, “see, nobody is ever there for me.”  So a situation hits an old wound, we interpret it in a way that causes pain, and another veil is born,  moving us  further away from our own purity, our own connection with God which holds the truth.

People generally believe that protecting the heart from pain means creating more walls.  On the psychological level, walls could mean deciding, “I am not going to let myself be vulnerable again.”  On the physical level, it could mean isolating from others.  On the spiritual level, you might do visualizations in which you wrap your heart in armor of light.

Unfortunately, none of these strategies works.  Pain comes from our interpretation of the events of our life.  And when we interpret events from a veil of our own creation, rather than from the deepest place in our heart that connects to God, we only get more pain.

The only protection comes from remembering our own essential purity and living from it.  It means dissolving the walls and stepping into who we truly are. The purity of the newborn child is still deep inside our heart.  That purity is our essence, it is our birthright.  It is the throne of God, seated in our heart; and it is only when we are in touch with that deep place can we see the true meanings behind events.  This clear seeing is the protection from pain.

Sally is a 35 year old woman, the youngest of five children. She would often want to play with her brothers and sisters, but because she was so much younger, she could not keep up.  Try as she would, she was developmentally not capable of riding the bike with them or jumping rope.  So she would have to sit on the sidelines and watch.

Sally developed an inner voice that said, “Nobody loves me enough to want me around.”  This voice destroyed many friendships, because when she was not getting what she wanted, she believed it was because others did not love her.

She began to do the Sufi practice of remembrance. The remembrance opened her to experiencing the real truth held in her own heart.  As she recited the name “Allah” into her beliefs, they began to fade away, and she could see that her siblings actually did love her. Then it became ok that there were times when they played on their own without her. She stopped interpreting the actions of others as proving her voice of “Nobody loves me.”  Her friendships and relationships improved. She started interpreting events from the deep place in her heart that carries the truth, rather than from her veils.

What Sally discovered is what we all can discover, that place buried deep within that Houston Smith writes about.  When we ground ourselves there, we can see things for what they are.   It is the only true protection for hurt.