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Making Mistakes Wakefully

Art by Michael Shapcott

Every spiritual life entails a succession of difficulties because every ordinary life also involves a succession of difficulties,

what the Buddha described as the inevitable sufferings of existence. In a spiritually informed life, however, these inevitable difficulties can be the source of our awakening, of deepening wisdom, patience, balance, and compassion. Without this perspective, we simply bear our sufferings like an ox or a foot soldier under a heavy load.


Like the young maiden in the fairy tale 'Rumpelstiltskin' who is locked in a room full of straw, we often do not realize that the

straw all around us is gold in disguise. The basic principle of spiritual life is that our problems become the very place to

discover wisdom and love.


As we follow a genuine path of practice, our sufferings may seem to increase because we no longer hide from them or from ourselves. When we do not follow the old habits of fantasy and escape, we are left facing the actual problems and contradictions of life.


A genuine spiritual path does not avoid difficulties or mistakes but leads us to the art of making mistakes wakefully, bringing them

to the transformative power of our heart.


Jack Kornfield
A Path With Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life


Art by Michael Shapcott



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