07 Dec The Guest House – December 8 2018
Posted at 18:49h in Daily Thoughts
THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
Because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
Modern day studies show that often times we are at the mercy of feedback systems in which a thought will lead to a feeling that will then cause more thought, which in turn will cause even more feeling, the whole of it can bring up our history, leading us to a mood that will cause even more thought and more feeling, etc.
Many of us have spent extended periods of time in depression or sorrow, fear or anxiety, anger or despair; feeling stuck and at the mercy of the experience, seemingly unable to make any kind of meaningful shift.
Much of this seeming inability to cope with our feelings and emotions is because of judgments we have about ourselves. Many of us are taught it’s not okay to be angry, or depressed, or sad; or we’ve been taught that we’re bad if we have ‘inappropriate’ sexual feelings; we’ve been taught to judge ourselves harshly if we become jealous or if we gossip or if we have a desire to hurt somebody. Each of us has something that will at times bring up feelings of shame and self-judgment and the belief, conscious or unconscious, that we are somehow not worthy of life.
This always is a mistake.
We are human. Thoughts and feelings arise in us, unbidden, every hour of every day. None of these thoughts or feelings define who or what we are. What we are is spirit, beyond all thought and all feeling and all imagining. Who we are is determined by the actions we take that are expressive of, or not expressive of, this truth of what we are. The thoughts and feelings are almost beside the point.
Each time we meditate we contact the place of Being within ourselves, the place that is transcendent of all thought. We rest in this place of Being, healed by it, uplifted by it. And then, in our eyes-open state, we remind ourselves of this other thing we are. Inundated with thoughts and feelings, we make the effort to step back from them, to not be swept up in them; to let them roll through us, but to know that what we are is something else. We seek to know ourselves as the silent witness of it all, of the whole parade of humanity that streams through us continually. And when we know ourselves as this silent witness, all these thoughts and feelings and moods become for us what they actually are: passing waves and ripples on this vast ocean of life, coloring our experience for a moment and then gone.
Today I will accept some thought or feeling or idea within myself that once was unacceptable. I will see myself exactly as I am and accept myself exactly as I am, as I know that God/Life/Nature accepts me.
Temple Lake, Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India