Traveler Hala Saleh- File photo
CAIRO- 29 June, 2017: Ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife. An afterlife with the quality of bless that was granted only by the gods to those with light hearts, others were stuck in their tombs forever. They believed that the weight of the heart was determined by the good deeds accomplished during one’s life, the more these deeds were, the lighter the heart becomes. The goal of preserving their bodies was to ensure the safe passage into that envisioned afterlife, all the organs were extracted and preserved except the heart, they believed the heart was necessary to stay intact in the body in order for the deceased to prove his goodness in the afterlife. The heart was a jewel.
Hotel's pool in Aswan- photo taken by Hala Saleh
A myth solidly believed with the result of a society that stood strong with its love and gratitude. A society that was solid enough to create a civilization that amazed the world across generations. A civilization that instills pride in each and every heart of ours to this very day.
As modern aged Egyptians we may think, do such myths transcend into any kind of current logic? Can we relate to them by any means? Or shall we exclude our ties to the past from our realm of existence? If that myth had no sense of logic, then why is it that we feel our hearts pound with happiness when we encounter an act of kindness, and on the contrary, why do we feel that they hurt when we are struck by any random act of delinquency?
Our ancestors taught us that the heart pilots our good deeds; I take that further and add that the heart is a sack that all good deeds pool into. Drifting even further, and away from any scientific explanation, I believe that the Egyptian heart, like no other, is a muscle that does not rest. A muscle that exerts force that displaces what we see to what we feel and extend it to what we give.
What we see is music to our eyes, and what we feel is music to our hearts. We are blessed to be surrounded with a landscape of richness, only available to those who observe; the vastness of our deserts, the fluidity of our river Nile,the depth of our seas, the history of our buildings, the diversity of our culture, the architecture of our characters. It is our duty to wipe away the pollution of our industrialized outcomes; we owe it to our eyes to extend its vision to the beauty hidden in the essence of our nature. What we feel will always be the result of what we see, and what we give will always be the reflection of what we feel.
Every now and then we hear the comment about our beloved Egypt, “there is something just so warm about it.” An intangible saying that we all understand yet cannot touch, we just feel. Does the warmth here refer to the climate of our geography? Not really, it more accurately refers to the climate of our giving hearts, our hearts that see the hidden beauty of our country and its culture, beat with the feeling of gratitude and give as an act of love to all of those around us.
We witness the humane generosity of our people over family iftars during the holy month of Ramadan, the extravaganza of our festive during Eid and Christmas, the donation of human blood without return, the love for sharing happiness in gatherings and entertainment, the daily acts of emphasis on what we are connected to rather than what we are separated from. We are blessed to witness the heart of a society orchestrating movement that continuously pumps blood to oxygenate its value system with love and gratitude.We are blessed to posses pounding Egyptian hearts.