Friday, November 16, 2007

guest house

a practice that has had profound influence on helping me reduce fear and anger in my life is the practice to accept and welcome each, not resist it or hate it or deny it. i learned this concept first from a speech by Thich Nhat Hanh, and i have continued its practice. i talk to my fear or anger, acknowledge it and say hello, even thank it for its gifts (for everything has a gift, and even fear carries some kind of protection or help even if it is misplaced and even if it hurts more than it helps). i welcome this voice at the table and give thanks and somehow in the acceptance, the potency and the sting are diminished and then the fear or anger is dissolved.

i like the words of Rumi that seem to speak on this same idea....

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're 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 whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

photography by permission

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