We have to practise being present no matter how excruciating. In our fury or fear, we want to scream, “Enough!” But can we bear the pain a little longer? Without wishing it to subside and disappear, or demanding that it change, are we able to accept it? Can we prepare a generous space for it in the heart and make peace with it – just as it is?
Consciously letting in difficult feelings and keeping watch in this way, we empty the heart and allow truth to preside as we meet each new guest. No longer do we need to defend ourselves, defying them or locking them out. We know that they will change or depart just as they came – of their own accord – leaving us in the still silence of pure knowing. This is an eternal law. Each time we clear the rubbish, set out the mats, sit down and wait – delving into the darkest corridors of the heart – is a gift to ourselves.
Let the guests of the mind come and go. Know the generosity of welcoming them instead of chasing them away. But like any guest who outstays his welcome, show him the door. To the heart shrunken with fear or preoccupied with its own misery, these dark moments are the very intruders we would have run from. Now we can greet them and let them go without judgment, for they may carry hidden blessings.
We rejoice not because they have gone but because we are at peace. And, letting them be, we sample the exquisite freedom that takes us beyond the confines of this narrow house to the vast frontier of an open heart.
This reflection by Ayyā Medhānandī is from the book, Gone Forth, Going Beyond, (pdf) pp. 36-37.