When I was 15, I first saw a map of #Australia and knew it was home. At 35, I stood in #Sydney Town Hall and became Aussie. I am now watching footage of so many Australians dying and so much lost. While I might be on the other side of the ditch, my heart is in Australia, cobbers.
There is a thing that happens when you open your heart – you are vulnerable. Some say that this makes you weak. I disagree. A person with a heart open to the pain of others has to process these feelings, not shutting them out, but rather sitting with them and, sometimes, sitting with the people experiencing the pain. I have been opening my heart to the suffering of all, not just those who look like me. It has changed many things in my life.
Over the last weeks, like so many others, I have been watching online coverage of the bushfires in Australia. They have been going on almost four months and there is no end in sight. As of today, 20 people are confirmed dead and experts at the University of Sydney say that half a BILLION animals have perished in the bushfires. So much suffering, on such a scale!
I have found myself more edgy than usual – and more emotional. I had to stop and realise what has me upset. I am Australian and as I think of the terror and suffering in Australia, it begins to wear me down. Opening your heart to others can be painful, yes, but it is much preferable to creating a world for yourself where you only focus on yourself.
I will be discussing loving-kindness meditation soon. It allows you to expand your heart, from your own self, to those you love, to those for whom you have indifference to – finally – those you may hate. Opening your heart to empathy, compassion and kindness not only makes life better for those with whom you find yourself in contact, but it helps you to develop a part of your mind – a loving and soothing part – that many do not know the joy of developing within themselves.