32: On Being Human and The Guest House
In Episode 32, I share The Guest House by Rumi. Each and every time I encounter this poem, whether it is shared by a meditation teacher or colleague, I gain a sense of comfort and footing. I am reminded that our inner worlds are vast and wide and no matter what is arising within ourselves, we are going to be okay. Here are a few things that came up for me when I read this poem more recently and talk more about in this episode.
When we go into our inner world:
1) Make space for it all. All inner experiences. When we make room for all of our experiences, we can feel more enlivened. When we push down the harder feelings such as anger, shame, sadness, we push down the other stuff too. The other stuff can be happiness, joy. Every time we look inward with a gentle tone, it brings us closer to acceptance of our experiences and who we are.
2) Know that one emotion is not better or worse than another. They just are. Some emotions and thoughts we carry around can be more painful and uncomfortable than others, but when we start to give each one equal attention and respect, the feelings that can be more difficult to tolerate can become less intense.
3) Judgement gets us nowhere. When we label our experience or have harsh words for where we are in a particular moment, it can create a stuckness, a block to ongoing flow of emotions. Physically, we can become more tight, more anxious or more hard on ourselves.
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.