Spiritual Practice: Welcoming the Guests of Life

Back in 1974-75 studying with Colette, she declared that we are to say “yes” to life. It is a principle and practice of the Monotheistic Spirituality. She referenced Deuteronomy 30 as a source for that wisdom.  Playing it forward to now, I came across a poem by Rumi, the revered mystic Islamic poet, called The Guest House. Here, he advises us to say “yes” to life by imaging ourselves as a guesthouse and by welcoming all visitors through our front door no matter who they are

It occurred to me there was a correspondence between these two teachings. Say “yes” to all that presents itself to our awareness. I asked myself what about distressing feelings and mood states? And what about disturbing thoughts? How does that work? Putting all of this together it came to me to say “yes” then “no.” At first, say “yes” to everything that appears, greet it without prejudice, and offer no resistance. Take a moment to sort out these guests that are disturbing, say no to those experiences, and show them the back door. Paradoxically, the more we resist allowing them in, the stronger they become. The less we resist, the weaker the disturbances. Once they are permitted to enter, we begin to have authority over them and take charge of the situation. For example, when Anxiety knocks on your door, say, “Welcome Anxiety, now leave by the backdoor.”  

Practice this method each day to remove attachments and become master of yourself. 

For a longer discussion on how denial works in our lives, see Healing Into Immortality.