It was so fun to write yesterday’s blog post!
I grinned on and off much of the day.
During these seventy five days I’ve tried to put my relationship with the Holy into feeble words.
Sometimes explained things conceptually.
Sometimes tried to *show* how spirituality works in this life, in this human body.
Not to explain so the mind understands, but to show directly in an embodied felt-sense way.
That’s the most fun. Even though a part of me loves putting life into a conceptual framework. Like a map. Like a map that leads to hidden treasure. Here’s where we are now. Here’s the treasure. Get ready, get set, GO! Open the door and let’s go in…
Here is what I believe, condensed version, once again: We can open to the Universal revelation of wholeness, Oneness, unity. But until we clear through repressed and unconscious emotions (and by “clear through” I mean befriend and welcome with compassionate heart) many of us are going to experience suffering. This is a path to joy and holy union. Not an easy one. It’s more like being whipped by tag alders in a swampy forest at times. But some of us humans are called to walk the pathless path less traveled.
One friend recently suggested that she doesn’t ponder emotional wounds because there are never conclusive answers to the questions regarding the whys and wherefores. Oh I so agree with this! I couldn’t ever get anywhere intellectually obsessing over emotions. I couldn’t think my way through them to any satisfactory conclusion. Uhg. Thinking about emotion felt like an endless merry-go-round to hell that went round and round and round without ceasing.
This new approach learned in the last couple of years really isn’t a thinking route to solve emotional turmoil. It’s a way of the heart gesturing toward love, befriending, compassion. It’s learning to allow whatever emotion wants to visit without pushing away. Or indulging it. It’s not about approving of it either. Or letting reactivity or unkindness rule the roost.
It’s not easy. (See swampy forest analogy up above. And also please visit yesterday’s blog post for a concrete example of how this might be done.) It’s like shining a light on what hurts or disturbs from the feeling of Presence and compassion, not understanding. Although understanding often arises like a clear sky, like an open gate.
Disclaimer– it’s not for everyone. The Holy either calls you or doesn’t call you. And it’s not necessary a sweet delightful calling. Part of me wishes the Holy never knocked on my door with this assignment. Part of me delights in positive thinking as the most lovely spiritual approach. Why would anyone ever want to open Pandora’s box?
A spiritual teacher once said–I can’t remember who–that you’re not really free if you’re still avoiding the present moment, trying to push it away. Rumi put it this way:
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’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.
I used to think this was a nice poem. Yes, yes and yes! But it’s really a treasure map. That dark thought, shame, malice–to meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Who wants to do this as a human being? This is really crazy! To let a crowd of sorrows violently sweep your house? Seriously, Rumi, you’re nuts.
Yet that’s what we can try to do. We may not meet ’em at the door laughing. Sometimes we meet ’em metaphorically kicking and screaming or begging them to just go away. Sometimes we push ’em out the door with a huge shove–don’t you dare show up today, you wicked meanness, you frothy malice, you flushed shame. Away, away, away–and don’t come back. And a crowd of sorrows? We hope they don’t decide to visit. But it’s up to the Holy, isn’t it?
But I do know it’s possible to learn to love, to keep opening the heart, to welcome it all. The holy embodied work of a lifetime…
It’s hard to learn to love these unexpected visitors, isn’t it? Do you like this Rumi poem? How does it apply to your life?
Day 62 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.
I have always loved Rumi’s Guest House. Thank you for bringing it into my life yet again this morning.
I agree – “it’s possible to learn to love, to keep opening the heart, to welcome it all. The holy embodied work of a lifetime…”
It’s not a demand that everyone must do this. This world needs it all. That is what I have come to understand. No need to convert anyone else to my way of being. Life is endlessly fascinating when one lets it be.
I so agree with you, Deb. Some folks are called to this, others not. We don’t need to be evangels or prophets, thank goodness. But I also want to keep pointing to this because many find themselves in emotional places without the tools or knowledge that it’s possible to turn to love and compassion for even these unexpected visitors.
Rumi’s poem IS a treasure map. Love to hear it put that way. I’ve always found it comforting. That whoever/whatever has been sent by a guide. The Holy, I think Thanks for this today! Timely. 💚
Thanks, Susan. A treasure map we can follow, thank goodness. But what a poem, right? If we didn’t know this last line we could be lost in quicksand:
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Yes! It also kind of paraphrases that Bible verse that says “If God be for us, who can be against us?” So there is no need to fear or rebel against any of our “guests.” Sure hard to practice and remember sometimes, though. 🙂
Perfect verse to add to the mix, Susan. I so love it that you understand! And know how challenging it can be, too.
I never thought that I will be travelling with you in your spiritual journey! Though it’s sometimes beyond my level of comprehension, I’ve discovered that I love reading this sitting here in some other part of the world.
Thanks for quoting Rumi. He’s always a healer. This reminds me of his lines ” You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens”.
I am glad you are jumping on this spiritual caravan before the year’s end, Story teller. And I think some of this writing has many befuddled–even myself sometimes! It’s hard to put the Holy into words. And thank you so much for sharing this other quote from Rumi. Gosh, he does want to break our hearts wide open to love, doesn’t he?
It’s a nice sentiment, but it takes a lot of courage and know-how to invite them in. I say, give them their time, and then send them on their way. But sometimes they overstay their welcome. XOXO
Gosh, I think that’s key, Stacy. It takes a heck of a lot of courage. And I’m not sure it’s always wise, either. If we’re not able to stay present to them in love–if we’re going to fall into the abyss of fear for the hundredth time–it may be kinder to nurture ourselves with good words, good deeds and soft inner hugs. Or kick ’em out until a later day…
Well said. 🙂
Each day I wake, I thank Higher Power for a new day, I offer myself to the Holy, I ask how I can be of service, where can I shine my light, even when the outside world is knocking on my door, invading my peace and contentment… Your will, not mine be done.
As the guest arrive sometimes uninvited it is the human that reacts to the world, becoming frightened, shocked, hurt, and taken advantage of.
When I get out of the way, I can greet the guest with a calm welcome, I can sit to listen to their stories, I can offer them advice, I can ask questions. Are you staying long? Why are you here now? Or the poor me can ask, What have I done to deserve this? Is this my fault?
All this get accomplished when I let go, ask what can I do right to assist getting down the path toward the gate, the door, when I don’t even see the door, or wasn’t even sure I was looking for a new door?
I love reading your spiritual musings, Jeff, and am so glad you’re joining me on this journey toward year’s end. What a good way to start the day–to offer yourself to the Holy. That you might serve, share and love from that. The guest arrive, and we might reject them, but we also remember to get out of our own way. And ask questions. That’s so key! I forgot about the asking questions part when writing this blog post. Because sometimes we get such fresh and unexpected answers. Happy Friday!
I like the Rumi poem. It might be difficult to welcome and entertain those unexpected visitors but my tendency is to ask them questions. Where did you come from? How did you get here? The answers are often interesting. Last year (2019) I read Pema Chödrön’s new book, “Welcoming the Unwelcome,” and it proved timely for 2020. I think I might reread it refresh my memory.
Barbara, Jeff pointed this out too. Asking questions can be so important! We can learn so much. Why are you here? What do you want to teach me? And sometimes it becomes absolutely clear (with words, image, memory) what has caused the constriction. The book sounds very interesting by the way!
For me, it is the surrender that opens me the most – that kind of surrender that says ” these dark feelings come to be loved – and if i “force myself” to love them, avouch – but when I drop the story about it- and whom does this belong to, from where does it come – it just wriggles in i bad way. But If I notice it as energy – and breathe love into it – something often happens – it transforms. Judging it in any way always makes it harder. And I love that we all may have our preferred way to do this – and that it may change. But when it works, there is this tremendous joy
Leelah, I agree about the surrender. Surrender to what’s arising, surrender to the Holy. To allow it all to be. That is definitely a part of this process. I think of it as a “dropping down” and “dropping into”. No judgment–rather, the opposite. A nonjudgmental inclusion. And forcing ourselves to love doesn’t seem to work either. I have tried that, too, and it seems more of a temporary fix. Compassion and interest and curiosity are much easier ways to enter into it. Then something just releases, transforms, births. And that’s what I call love…although I do call the whole process love, too. *smile* Thanks for sharing your process, it always strikes me as very similar.
Ah, yes. The Holy and I have had several come-to-Jesus encounters in which I oh so humbly suggest that perhaps a light tap at the door, showing up with some lovely appetizers would entice me better than a stick of dynamite blowing it down:). Either way, it’s happening.
You have me laughing! Yep, I would go for lovely appetizers rather than a stick of dynamite too–please and thank you!
Being human isn’t easy …. better yet, it’s very difficult. We can’t avoid suffering. We can’t avoid disappointment. We can’t avoid loss. We can’t avoid failure. Yep – all that is being human. Therefore, we must keep our eye on the ball. Be genuinely to others – caring, nice, helpful, supportive – smile, help, support, and love. Plus, the last phrase in the poem says a lot – Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
Grateful along with you, Frank, for that guide from beyond. ❤
I am finding such value in your posts. Finding the way on the pathless path less traveled, it’s almost impossible but I know there is a way. I appreciate the words of wisdom from Rumi and yourself. Embracing those feelings that threaten to derail and shatter, I think is truly the way the path becomes cleared for universal love, joy and happiness but there are so few examples of how tha that’s actually done. Your post yesterday was a treasure in that regard. 💗 .
SunshineMoon, I am over the moon with your appreciation! It’s always so special when you find a reader or friend that “gets” this and understands this pathless path. I know some people don’t quite understand so am always overjoyed to meet someone who knows that this can clear the way for universal love. xoxo
Much love back to you Kathy 🙂 Thank you for sharing your gifts, it’s wonderful.
I really love that Rumi poem. Thank you for sharing it. As far as your topic for today, I convey a similar message in my work-in-progress novel. My critique group is not getting it at all. I think it will only appeal to a small audience, but I need to write it. It’s not a how-to book or a self-help book – it’s a story with a meaning – a fiction novel with characters who have a TON of emotional baggage. I’m trying to SHOW the reader not TELL the reader that it’s important to face baggage, accept it, and forgive it. The ultimate message is that in doing so, we can reach Oneness. Even if it comes and goes, it’s the only way. At least IMHO.
Wow, Lori, you so get this. I appreciate it. I am not surprised your critique group isn’t. This seems a message that very few are willing to hear. Perhaps because they have experienced being drowned and despaired in emotional baggage that they chose instead to turn away. Or maybe something inside choses to turn away until they’re ready. I do believe it a path to Oneness. The knowing of that Oneness comes & goes with me, but it’s like a light that never extinguishes once you’ve sensed the truth of it. Thank you so much for this.
I can’t wait until I can share the book with you. Maybe as a beta reader? What do you think?
I have been asked to be a beta reader many times, Lori, and almost always say no because I am totally NOT an editor-type-reader. I think I’ve upset at least a dozen people over the years. However…am intrigued about the spirituality part of this story…so…maybe? I am honored you asked.
Such gorgeous photographs! So many different types of doors and doorways. & so many different ways to entertains the guests.
Amen, sista. I liked looking for the doorway pictures. Doors draw us in and out, and you make a good point about the many different ways to entertain our guest, invited or crashing the party, lol.