Open Your Heart

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. – Dalai Lama

ImageI’m sure you are aware of the current refugee crisis in Europe. I won’t go into much detail here, but I will say that the news and images that have appeared on international media are devastating and heartbreaking. At this point the situation is so urgent that even countries in the American continent (the U.S. and Mexico, just to name a couple of them) are being called upon so that they may assist Europe in an effort to control this situation and welcome millions of Syrian refugees, offering them an opportunity to start anew.
Of course, there have been not one, but hundreds or even thousands of tragedies experienced by these families. Such sadness and despair should make us at least question many of our attitudes towards life and towards others. Imagine, just for a minute, to have to flee your home, grabbing only what you can carry, knowing that it’s very likely that you will never return. This already stressful uncertainty becomes unbearable when you have a family. Many of these Syrian families have been torn apart at some point during their escape, some irreparably.
Many of the European countries were extremely reluctant, or even flat-out opposed, to the idea of allowing refugees into their borders. Right now, things have gotten so bad, that the focus has shifted from ‘control’ to ‘coordination’. The citizens in Europe are realizing that humanity has no nationality, and no borders. It’s a matter of common sense, and it’s a matter of love.
This made me think: helping others should be ingrained in our nature – yet for so many of us, it’s something we only do in extreme situations. Sometimes other people don’t ask for our help, but something else, even more subtle and undefined. Maybe there are people who have tried to establish a friendship or another kind of relationship with you, and you refused – explicitly or implicitly – just out of habit. Perhaps your trust has been hurt in the past. Maybe you have never been hurt but you are cautious. Certainly, it’s not a matter of being reckless – but usually I find that the heart, the ‘gut’, the instinct, always knows what we should do. Knowing when to open our hearts to give and to receive is one of the greatest lessons we will ever learn. We just need to learn to listen to our heart and follow it.
Whenever someone asks for your help, how do you respond? Is it an immediate ‘no’? Do you take time to think about it? Do you say ‘yes’ at first and then say ‘you know, I’ve thought about it and I can’t do it’? Do you investigate before making an informed decision? Has there ever been a time when you regret not helping? Should helping another person in need even require questioning? I’m always listening at docbeverly@aol.com.

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