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 honourably.
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.
(Jelahuddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Books. Printed in Mindfulness in Eight Weeks, Michael Chaskalson)
We all face difficulties, trials, sadnesses and even grief, and in most cases if we could we would run away and not face what was coming at us.This week’s meditation practices are very apt for me at this moment, having lost Jasper cat, because I really would like to run away and not be sad, but avoiding these feelings are not a good thing.
This week I want a share a two different practices of mindfulnesses; one you can practice on the go, known as ‘Breathing Space’ (it is in a previous week, but I haven’t shared it till now as just too much to learn) or what i call a ‘Pause’. Whatever you would like to call it, it is all about taking a breath from what is going on around and that doesn’t have to be something bad.
I would do this at work when the phone would ring and it was interesting how frustrated others became when i didn’t answer the phone on the first ring. I would place my hand on the phone and then pause and take a breath and allow the phone to ring three times, answering it on the third ring, which was acceptable. The hospital ward i worked on was always busy, and we were usually frantic and often when the phone was answered on the first ring, that franticness went down the phone to the person at the other end, which wasn’t good as it was often worried relatives. Allowing a Pause would, at least, make me sound calmer than i probably was at the time.
So every day for the next week and i want you to take at least three Pauses. Stop, breath three times, sense how you feel and how your body feels before you continue. You do not need to be answering a phone, you could be doing dishes, making dinner or just about anything.
The second practice is this –
‘Sitting With The Difficult Meditation’
- You can either, lay down, sit or even walk.
- Calm yourself.
- Follow your breath, in and out. Try not to change it, just take note of it.
- Allow the breath to move through your body, taking note of any sensations within the body.
- Don’t try and change what you are feeling, just let those feelings to be as they are.
- If you find a particular sensation within the body, you may want to take your attention to that sensation and let it be.
- Remember you may want to move away from the feeling, especially if it is very difficult to be with and if you find yourself moving away from your meditation practice, it is fine. But, at some point, come back to the meditation practise and continue.
- In time you will be able to say to yourself, ‘I am ok…I can be with this…’ Do not think that you are saying everything is fine, you are not pretending, you are accepting.
I have found it easier to practice this meditation whilst walking. If you feel that you would be too emotional and even cry, then i suggest that you find somewhere secluded or if that is not possible then maybe a cemetery – you can cry in a cemetery and although people notice, they pretend they don’t see you, I know because I have done this occasionally.