We tend to carry our former partners around with us on the inside. Some of the more pleasant experiences and memories continue to nourish us as we go on in life. My former fiancé demonstrated to me that a woman could love me very deeply. That part of our experience together was very healing for me.
We also faced a lot of very difficult challenges in our relationship. Suganya lives in Sri Lanka and I was commuting back and forth every few months. My desire is to eventually settle in this part of the world, but I still have work to do in North America before I’m free to go. The geographical distance between us and the expense involved in traveling to see one another created huge amounts of stress.
There’s a form of narcissism that’s fairly prevalent throughout South Asia. Many parents feel entitled to tell their adult children who they can and cannot marry. Those who fail to comply are sometimes disowned. There have been many instances where young men and women have been killed by family members for marrying the person of their own choosing. The stress created by certain members of Suganya’s family eventually pushed her to the breaking point. I know she gave the best she could and yet the loss was still very painful.
It took me a long time to get over Suganya. I continued to dream about Suganya and the painful longing for her stayed with me for quite some time. The longing would gradually ease up every time I went on the vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water.
I was still carrying Suganya around on the inside of me. I had to make a conscientious effort to “digest” Suganya, our experience together and all of the subsequent emotions so that I could let go and move on in my life. I started my practice by picturing Suganya and then I would notice the feelings and physical sensations that arose and where they were situated in my body. I would then breathe softly and deeply with my awareness centered in the midst of these feelings and sensations.
The feelings were very painful right after the breakup but they gradually diminished in intensity over time. Every now and then I would get hit with these waves of hurt, sadness, loss and the horrible feeling of knowing that I wouldn’t get to be with her. I would breathe into all of those feelings whenever they surfaced. After some time I felt a sense of emptiness, flatness or deadness in my chest. I realized that parts of me had shut down as a result of losing Suganya. I made a real concerted effort to remain fully present to this more subtle sense by breathing into the dead empty void.
Breathing into whatever I felt at any given time dislodged all kinds of feelings and energies that had been trapped within my body. I would find myself remembering all kinds of things that happened over the course of our relationship. And that brought even more feelings to the surface. With continued practice I could tell that I was breathing life back into the parts of me that had shut down. That made it easier for me to let go of Suganya, while freeing up my heart so that I could gradually move on.
I still miss Suganya at times, and part of me will always love her. She’s very warm, caring and fun to be with. I could see her growing stronger and becoming more independent during the time we were together. She even went back to school during that time. I had hoped to encourage her growth, but she couldn’t sustain it. I don’t know that the relationship could work over the long term because she seems more interested in pleasing her family and following the traditional roles ascribed to men and women. I couldn’t see that she was learning and growing beyond a certain point. Losing Suganya definitely hurt, but I learned a lot from her, our relationships, mistakes that I made and I have grown from the experience. Making use of this practice and the various healing interventions has made it possible for me to transform my experience with Suganya into fuel for growth.
People show up in my classes all the time after a painful breakup or divorce. The many years of intensive practice has opened my sensory channels to the extent I can see and feel how they continue to hold their former partners in their bodies and minds. I can often feel the pain emanating from their bodies. At times they appear battered and bruised. Their hearts may even be torn open from the pain of their losses.
I’ll take these individual through a meditative process to heal from the loss of a love described below.
There are five steps to the meditation to heal the loss of a love
1) Picture your former partner as though he or she were immediately in front of you. See and feel their presence.
2) Notice all the feelings and sensations that arise as you continue to hold your former partner in the forefront your awareness. Experience the feelings as they are without trying to change them.
3) Notice where these feelings and sensations are situated within your body.
4) Breathe softly and deeply as you fully immerse your awareness within the middle of these feelings and sensations.
5) Continue to follow the feelings and sensations as they go through their progression
Most people never fully process the loss of a love. Much of the hurt and disappointment that we experience when our partners say and do hurtful things remains trapped within our bodies. The resulting deadening of our consciousness diminishes our capacity to love and be loved. Breathing softly and deeply whole holding our former partners in our awareness helps us to bring the feelings anger, fear, resentment, hurt and disappointment to the surface so they can be processed. Processing these feelings facilitates the awakening of the innate healing intelligence residing with our body and mind. Everything we experience within the context of our relationships can then be transformed so that it becomes fuel for growth.
I began to develop this practice during my mid-twenties. The grief of losing a love could be excruciating at times, but the feelings would gradually soften as I continued to breathe into them. Some losses took a long time to work through and others would resolve themselves fairly quickly. Many of the same feelings would resurface for quite some time. I just keep reminding myself to breathe into them.
I made a conscientious effort to be fully present with the feelings whenever they arose and to allow the process to take whatever time it needed to take. I would sometimes breathe into the feelings of loss for hours at a time when I was in the midst of a breakup. I would continue to breathe into the feelings whenever they surfaced during the days, evenings and when they woke me up during the middle of the night. I could usually put a lid on the feelings and attend to the task at hand whenever I needed to be fully functional. I could always pick up where I left off afterwards.
The process became much easier over time and that helped me to let go and move on when I needed to. Working with this practice has opened my heart so that I can be more present in my interactions with others. It has also increased my capacity to love and be loved.
The loss of a love can at times be especially devastating. The meditation practice that I’m describing in this chapter is a very critical part of the healing process. There are also times when we need outside intervention to facilitate the parts of the healing process that we cannot do completely on our own. To this day I still rely upon the vision quest. The vision quest is far too intensive for most people. However, those who work with me one on one experience many of the same kinds of changes as a result of the individual healing sessions.
The presence working through me during the individual sessions actually heals the parts of the self that have been deeply wounded. You will “digest” your former partner, everything that’s happened over the course of your relationships and along with any feelings of grief, loss, hurt, sadness or disappointment. You will find it easier to let go and develop the resilience needed to bounce back and move on in your life. Your heart will open thereby increasing your capacity to love and be loved.
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Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.