Troubles? Or Simply Visitors?

One thing has been strikingly clear to me lately: We only have a problem when we think we do. visitors

Our calling something—anything—a problem (or whatever words you use: this is wrong, this is hard, why is this happening? I don’t like this, it’s anxiety, it’s my habit) is the only thing that makes it a problem.

The truth of it is this: We experience human stuff, and that human stuff is safe and normal. All of it, no exceptions. Our inner world, where our experience of life unfolds, is an open space in which vivid, creative energy (i.e., life) is born and floats through us.

We are Rumi’s guest house with a revolving door. Guests pass through and we visit with them. Our thoughts, feelings, and behavior move safely through us, only to be replaced with new thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

None are inherently dangerous. None are inherently harmful. None take up permanent residence—they are guests.

But when we stop a guest in the hallway and call him a problem, he stops. Wouldn’t you? He slows down; sometimes offended, sometimes fighting back in self-defense. When we call him a problem, we experience a problem. Otherwise, we don’t.

What if those guests passing through were simply guests? Visitors in our lives. We may prefer some to others—that’s natural enough. But if they were just Joe, Sue, and Tom passing through and we didn’t take them personally or seriously…being in that guest house would be a lot easier, wouldn’t it?

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