Yesterday, I watched the movie, Black Swan, about a ballet dancer who becomes obsessed with her work and appears to be surrounded by disturbed people who in turn have a destructive effect on her life. This movie deservedly won the lead actor, Natalie Portman, an Oscar. Seeing this darkly disturbing portrayal, I too began to wonder if I have been guilty of being obsessed with work. But following our hearts is not about obsession, rather it is about about compassion– for ourselves, for our failings and for others. In Buddhism, compassion and courage are known as two sides of the same coin. Compassion without courage may be toothless while courage without compassion could be ruthless.
When we have compassion, our lives begin to move forward and other avenues open up. I realised that having compassionate courage is the path of following one’s heart. Interestingly, Black Swan’s director, Darren Aronofsky, has this to say about following one’s heart- “I try to live my life where I end up at a point where I have no regrets. So I try to choose the road that I have the most passion on because then you can never really blame yourself for making the wrong choices. You can always say you’re following your passion.”