From heartbreak to soulbreak.
“Man must face the perils of worldly passion if he is to secure the precious pearl of Enlightenment. He must first be lost among the mountainous crags of egoism and selfishness, before there will awaken in him the desire to find a path that will lead him to Enlightenment.” ~Buddha
Individuation? Self-actualization? Satori? Nirvana? Zazen? Enlightenment?
It all seems so serene and peaceful, so smooth and effortless, so tranquil and full of light. But it’s not gentle and sweet. It’s jagged and elusive. It’s not artificially blissful; it’s authentically painful. It’s not pretend-forgiving; it’s ruthlessly absolving. Indeed. Some brutally hard shit must hit some unpleasantly fast fans before you can even think about placing a single toe on the Path toward Providence. Too heavy of a colloquialism for you? Okay, try this: before you can experience the stillness on the tip of the iceberg of illumination, you must first have reconciled the hidden iceberg of annihilation. Too cryptic for you? Fair enough…
Here it is, plain and simple: It has to hurt first. In a word – heartbreak. First your ego’s heart has to break, then your soul’s heart has to break. You need to go through a meta-ton of pain: mental, physical and spiritual –soul-caliber pain, tantamount to existential proportions, far exceeding the trivial pain of the hyperreal plane. Then, and only then, may you proceed along the path.
But remember, the pain doesn’t end there. Many a Buddha will pop up along the way trying to convince you that you’ve made it –that you’ve achieved the spiritual Mecca, that you’ve earned the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, that you’ve secured the sharp-as-god Golden Ratio, that you’ve merited the Sacred Phi of enlightenment. But you haven’t. And you should do as Linji Yixuan suggested, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” Indeed. The journey must remain the thing.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” ~Mark Twain
Heartbreak is the end of innocence; the realization that this world does not belong to you, but that you belong to it. It’s when the independent blood in your veins recalibrates into interdependent lifeblood, and the earth in your bones rectifies its posture as a force of nature first and a human second, that you understand yourself as the world and the world as yourself. It hurts because it’s the end of unreasonable expectation. It’s an embracing of the cosmic joke, and the irrefutable fact that you’re the butt-end of it. But like the Dread Pirate Roberts tells the princess in The Princess Bride, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”