Until the heart becomes an inlet, it cannot be free.

It is true, there is such sadness in the world. But there is a difference between feeling the pain of things breaking, ending, or drifting apart, and the sharper pain that comes from measuring the inevitable events of life against some ideal of how we imagine things are supposed to be. In receiving hardships this way, life is always falling off. Life is hard enough without viewing all our pain as evidence of some basic insufficiency we must endure.

There is a beautiful Tibetan myth that helps us to accept our sadness as a threshold to all that is life - changing and lasting. This myth affirms that all spiritual warriors have a broken heart - alas, must have a broken heart - because it is only through the break that the wonder and mysteries of life can enter us.

So what does it mean to be a spiritual warrior? It is far from being a soldier, but more the sincerity with which a soul faces itself in a daily way. It is the courage to be authentic that keeps us strong enough to withstand the heartbreak through which enlightenment can occur. And it is by honoring how life comes through us that we get the most out of living, not by keeping ourselves out of the way. The goal is to mix our hands in the earth, not to stay clean.

-Mark Nepo, from The Book of Awakening