Sunday, April 19, 2009
Sometimes it feels like we are a house-full of sorrows. Every corner, under every piece of furniture, in every drawer, memories, thoughts, regrets, disappointments, worry, grief. It's all there and what do you do with it?
The ancient Sufi poet Rumi suggests we welcome our sorrows, make them a cup of tea, sit, and listen.
In the highly relative world of emotion, one thing that is certain is that those sorrows do exist, at least for the moment. They feel so real because we can feel them. This is countered by another thing which is true which is: when we learn to uncover our True Nature through practices such as meditation and yoga, we see clearly that what we are is deeper than even these pervasive, transitory emotions which seem to rule our lives. From the grand perspective of our True Nature, which, the ancients say and invite us to discover for ourselves, is boundless equanimity, we allow ourselves to experience our emotions fully, knowing that when all is said and done, our emotions will come and go but this True Nature will stay constant. By experiencing our emotions from this perspective, often these sorrows seem to get whatever it was off their chest, finish their tea, and then see themselves out. Regardless, each thing that comes to our door, like Rumi says, is our teacher.
In yoga, it's nice to know that we're not trying to "fix" anything but rather simply uncovering the most True part of ourselves, the part that is not subjective like our emotions. Plus, it just feels really good to be with that True part of ourselves. It's like coming home.
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.
~ Rumi ~