The insight at the heart of nonviolence is that we live in a tragic gap—a gap between the way things are and the way we know they might be… If we want to live nonviolent lives, we must learn to stand in the tragic gap, faithfully holding the tension between reality and possibility in hopes of being opened to a third way... [of breaking our] collective hearts open to justice, truth, and love.
There is an old Hasidic tale that tells us how such things happen. The pupil comes to the rebbe and asks, "Why does Torah tell us to 'place these words upon your hearts’? Why does it not tell us to place these holy words in our hearts?" The rebbe answers, "It is because as we are, our hearts are closed, and we cannot place the holy words in our hearts. So we place them on top of our hearts. And there they stay until, one day, the heart breaks, and the words fall in."