We often speak of hearts being broken, meaning unbearable pain from some sort of loss. But there is a state beyond heartbreak, which I call broken open. It’s the state you reach when you accept your losses and make them an integral part of your being–when you learn the lessons of loss. Breaking open means just that: your heart is open to others, to their needs and their pain without holding back. The empty place in your center becomes filled with compassion. You see beyond surface appearances and to the tender humanity beneath.
When your heart breaks open, there is no reason to be put off by appearances or behaviors. You feel equal unconditional compassion and love for the guilty and for the innocent because you recognize the pain and suffering in both. It is the love and acceptance demonstrated by the Buddha and by Jesus, by Gandhi and by Mother Teresa. It goes beyond creeds, conditions, ethnicity and politics. It even goes beyond species. It is the hope of the future.