Sure Heart’s Release

From After the Ecstasy, the Laundry:
How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path

by Jack Kornfield

For almost everyone who practices, cycles of awakening and
openness are followed by periods of fear and contraction.
Times of profound peace and newfound love are often over-
taken by periods of loss, by closing up, fear, or the discovery
of betrayal, only to be followed again by equanimity or joy. In
mysterious ways the heart reveals itself to be like a flower that
opens and closes. This is our nature. The only surprising thing is
how unexpected this truth can be. It is as if deep down we all
hope that some experience, some great realization, enough years
of dedicated practice, might finally lift us beyond the touch of
life, beyond the mundane struggles of the world. We cling to
some hope that in spiritual life we can rise above the wounds of
our human pain, never to have to suffer them again. We expect
some experience to last. But permanence is not true freedom,
not the sure heart’s release.

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