Rumi – 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.

The Invitation, by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!  I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Teaching of the Trees

My friend Diane created that meditation and shared it with me.  I was deeply touched.  She is kindly sharing it with all of us.

Loving kindness meditation/visualization is a practice where one repeats phrases adding a felt sense of love to those phrases and wishing well being,  protection, happiness, good physical and mental health, and easiness of living to oneself and gradually extend those wishes to others….

While I was on a meditation retreat a few weeks back, I couldn’t find a deep connection with my heart and was lost in my meditation.  It was only when I began to practice outdoor walking meditation that a slight breach began too open.

Today, I want to share with you the connection I found with the trees, as if those trees wanted to teach me loving kindness….

Imagine yourself outside; a fresh breeze caresses your cheeks, inhaling clean oxygen.  Taking a few deep breaths, pure fresh air fills your lungs.

You’re walking on a little pathway, a light drizzle is coming down on you … not something disturbing but rather refreshing; you’re being washed, cleansed by nature … small leaves and little buds gently sticking out, sipping and nourishing themselves on those little drops of life.

You’re surrounded by wonderful scenery, big huge trees of all kinds and smaller ones too, from majestic pines and Douglas firs to small huckleberries, maples and Japanese trees. Multiple variety of ferns, a nice smooth carpet of pine needles covering the earth. Drops of rain sparkle everywhere under a sudden ray of sunshine.

As you walk slowly and continue to observe Mother Nature a little more closely, a felt sense of deep connection arises.  As if each tree, with their own uniqueness, were talking to you.

You continue to walk slowly, you notice on the left of the trail a medium size Cedar hedge. One after the other, you’re struck by a display of frail and weak trees, bare at the bottom with a few branches sticking out at the top.  Inspired from these trees, your heart opens.  An image of human beings in poor health appears into your mind.  Magically a felt sense of love and compassion emerge into your heart.  Your only desire is to send wishes of good health and well being to those ill or unwell individuals.

Connected to nature you don’t have to look for answers, they come directly to you …

As you look at the bark on a huge tree, its thickness amazes you.  Automatically an image of someone comes into your mind.  Someone with layers upon layers, you have a sense feeling that this human being is hiding from his own self.  Your only desire is to send wishes of safety and protection to that person, no further need to hide under this thick armor, gently wishing them for that armor to peel away.

Just a little further down the path, a huge Douglas fir … at its foot, three big solid roots that could be taken as big feet with toes… This character comes into your mind; strong individual with integrity, a role leader in your community.  You feel grateful towards this individual for his/her accomplishments.  In your heart you thankfully embrace that individual and make sure his/her actions will not be forgotten.  Arising directly from your heart, your only desire is to wish for yourself and others a great deal of creativity and pleasures as future projects are envisioned; wishing even more… surpassing yourselves and exceeding all expectations.

Continuing on your journey into this nice setting, you walk a little further. Looking around appreciating each moment, being totally present, you come across three entangled trees; enmeshed together at their roots, those trees seem to be inseparable.  Dear friends and beloved family members materialize into your mind, priceless relationships.   Your only desire is to wish for each and everyone a long and harmonious life fulfilled with joy, laughter and happiness, even in challenging moments.

You’re almost at the end of the path, you glimpse at a lonely trunk full of lichen; bare trunk with no branches. This trunk does not look alive, or if it is, it looks vulnerable and exposed to the temper of Mother Nature.  Suddenly, an image of elderly persons appears; precious, knowledgeable, sensitive, and wise beings on the verge of completing their circle of lives.  You realize how special and how important those mature beings could be…If we would only make room for them a little more… sharing laughter, stories and experiences.  Your only desire is to send them wishes of appreciation and acceptance, admiring them for their simplicity.

Having a last glance at the forest encircling you, a last thought appears into your mind … May all beings grow each day in compassion, understanding and wisdom.

You make a promise to yourself … you will remember these dearly moments that awakens your heart.  And as often as you can, you will practice loving kindness and well being towards yourself and others.

-Diane Roy

Diane is a yoga teacher with 500 hours of certification from Yogaroots Mindfulness Centre in Fort Langley and teaches at Yogaroots in the Cloverdale (Surrey) area in British Columbia

You can reach Diane at Breath after Breath: breathafterbreathyoga@hotmail.com

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