Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Cry for Sirens...

This morning, as I was driving to my mother’s to take her to the eye doctor, I passed an ambulance speeding down the fast lane coming from the opposite direction across the medium; lights flashing, sirens blaring, horn frantically honking to get the traffic ahead of it out of the way. I immediately started to cry. I had forgotten that since childhood the sound of ambulance sirens makes me cry… It’s as if my heart leaps out of my chest, knowing that whoever is in that ambulance is in trouble and needs help. I can hear it in the sirens – of course – that’s what they’re for.

This morning I recognized this strange phenomenon as the heart of compassion. I felt the heart of compassion that actually lives here wake up again. I had never thought of it that way before. I’ve always tried to hide this little quirk of crying at sirens; to stuff those feelings, to hide the love that wants to express itself, to stop myself from crying. I thought there was something emotionally wrong with me. Or maybe that it had something to do with being hospitalized many times as a child after birth. I have rationalized that because I had been hospitalized so many times that maybe I had *heard* sirens a lot, and that’s why they made me cry.

Today I recognized the tender heart of compassion – crying *for* someone in trouble, in danger, maybe dying, or in pain and possibly suffering. It has always been here, since childhood – this little heart of compassion. It has been covered over with layers and layers of fear; not allowing myself to overtly *feel* and express the compassion that is there. I also hid it behind a mask of adulthood, and a mask of “spirituality.” That’s easy to do in some “spiritual circles,” you know – to not feel, to hide what you feel behind a mask of ideology, belief, ritual or religiosity. “Spirituality” becomes clinical, intellectual, philosophical, detached.

I learned to wear the “spiritual mask” early in life, and later in life to talk myself into lofty, wordified “spiritual” places. Please slap me if I do it again. :) I learned on “the spiritual path” that there is no “me”, and therefore no “other” because there is only Beingness. The danger of misinterpreting that is that another’s pain then somehow becomes invisible – instead of recognizing that our pain is all the same. How ironic. We separate ourselves from one another's heartache – dismissing it as just a story of a “me” that doesn’t exist - because feeling another’s pain leaves us too vulnerable, too engaged; and because we’d have to face our own – Heart that is. I know this is not true for all of us. I hid my Heart. But - the Heart remembers – and Love *sees*, hears, notices, *feels*, and *cares* - with deep compassion…

Today the rawness of an unprotected loving Heart exploded in my chest. And I remembered how that *feels*… And I rather liked it. I hope I never lose it; never stop *feeling*, whether it’s sadness, grief, or love and joy. I’m sure there will be more opportunities as Life opens this Heart more and more :) I not only cried, I smiled, because I knew it meant that the Heart that lives here is *Alive* – feeling – caring – loving…


  1. "The danger of misinterpreting that is that another’s pain then somehow becomes invisible – instead of recognizing that our pain is all the same. How ironic. We separate ourselves from one another's heartache – dismissing it as just a story of a “me” that doesn’t exist - because feeling another’s pain leaves us too vulnerable, too engaged; and because we’d have to face our own – Heart that is."

    Beautifully said and I thank you for this. I have noticed that not only do folks dismiss another's pain as just a story but often (well-intentionedly) quote various contemporary healers and spiritual persons-- out of context I might add-- as their "generic" response to anothers pain. Rather than speaking kind words in their own words from their heart of compassion.

    I think the sirens also worked this day to open you to your own unique vision and to speaking it here for us. A wake up--like the gong at the end or beginning of meditation.


  2. Resonating so much with what you are saying today, Christine... Hearing the sirens, the calls, the cries of the Universe the compassionate heart beats all the more. I've always found it hard to separate myself from another's heartache actually, even a person unknown to me. I think for a long time I've been "training" in compassion before I even knew what I was doing. ;o) The compassionate heart is a powerful thing, I think. Like you, I do believe there will be plenty of life presenting us with opportunities for cracking open the heart. Your insights and wisdom bring so much light to my week--thank you! :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

  3. Suki ~ Yes, I have had that done to me as well - people dismissing my experience. And I have done it as well - unfortunately. One guy said that doing that was a form of "non-dual detachment" and I'd have to agree with him on that. My experience now is that "Beingness" is not some detached, esoteric "Emptiness" that doesn't "care" - but the Heart of Being is intimately involved with "us", because Beigness *is* us - our Heart. It's been in our Heart all along. It is Self caring for ItSelf - and is deeply compassionate about all that occurs Here.

    I love that the sirens were my "gong" :)

    And thank you for the lovely comment. Bows to you - Christine

  4. Thank you Tracy... Yes, when the Heart cracks open we do *feel* more! And I realized that innocent, loving, caring, compassion has *always* been there. It *is* our True Nature. We just need to experience it first hand I think. It's like the Heart of a child really - the Heart of Being.

    Isn't it amazing how Life works to open the Heart! :)

    Happy Days to you as well! ((♥))

  5. I love the "crying and smiling at the same time" You have described the essence for me of really stopping to feel what is going on inside us.

    And in that conventional cultural view we do feel like we must be a little crazy when we cry at the sound of the ambulance. But as you show us, it is about looking deeper and asking what that is about. Being willing to experience our own tender, helpless heart, the one that fills with compassion at the unknown suffering of another sentient being. A recognition of our own "Buddha nature"

    many bows to you for this lovely post and to Suki and Tracy for their insightful comments that followed.

  6. ZDS ~ And thank you for adding your lovely comment, sharing your heart here. You have said it well, for me it is about being willing to *experience* that tenderness of heart under all those layers of guardedness that have built up; beginning to feel the depth of "Buddha Nature" that is there, allowing it to "bleed through"...

    With gratitude and bows for the journey we share.

  7. Hello Mystic Meandering, thank you for visiting my blog today and for your kind words. This post certainly resonates with me as well. It makes me think about my mom who, when I was a child, used to tell me to say a little prayer when I saw an ambulance, for the benefit of whoever might be suffering inside of it. As she grew older and more frail herself she took several rides in ambulances and I hope someone sent healing thoughts her way as well as they heard the sirens...

    I also know what you mean about spirituality sometimes bordering on clinical and detached, as if it's shameful to reveal one's emotions. To me compassion is at the core of spirituality - how can one not feel the pain of another living being should be the question, but as we are constantly bombarded by the media with news of suffering from all over the globe I wonder if people become numb or try to shut themselves down a bit as a measure of self-preservation...and yet if more people were in touch with the heart of compassion the world would be a gentler place.

  8. Hello Uma ~ And thank you for visiting here and leaving your loving comment. Yes, imagine if we all opened to our True Heart, our own Buddha Nature/Being-Self, however one knows That to be - just imagine! I seem to need to keep discovering this over and over again... :)

  9. I found my way to this post by Googling:

    ambulance siren start to cry

    I searched this because I've been having this same reaction for years, but today, as an ambulance whizzed by with siren blaring, I wondered if I was really weird or if other people had that reaction. I never use the word weird pejoratively. I think truth is found more often in the peculiar, the odd, the weird, than it is found in the mundane and commonplace. The weird is always there, but there's a human tendency to reject it, or ignore it, mundanizing (made up verb) everything.

    Anyway, I was happy to read that another person has noted this experience in themselves. When I experience it, I physically feel the deep pain building inside me, and I feel so sad for the person in the ambulance and the people who love that person. And hope they'll be okay.

  10. Hello Anonymous! I think this "reaction" we have touches something deep inside us. It awakens us to the Heart, to our feelings of compassion. I don't consider it weird at all. Just allowing ourselves to *feel* - to be touched by Life itself, without pulling away and numbing ourselves to the suffering of others...

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment! Christine


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