Watching the Parade: Mindful Non-Attachment
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 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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
(shared by http://www.drpayam.com/)
This is a wonderful poem by Rumi which illustrates (to me) what I would call the concepts of mindfulness, mindful non-attachment, curiosity, multiplicity and reflectiveness. For many of us, our default, automatic response to painful thoughts and feelings is to ward them off, distract ourselves and to avoid them. We are afraid of emotional pain. We experience ourselves as bad or defective to be feeling this way. Our fear of our own pain is often more powerful and overwhelming than the pain itself. If we accept that we will have pain, and observe our feelings with curiosity, rather than panic, we can regulate and contain those feelings, and sometimes even learn about ourselves in the process.
Discomfort, pain and fear are part of life– if you are doing it right. We can’t progress or grow if we don’t face what we fear. An attitude of curiosity and openness to our feelings is freeing…..