Imagine hospitality extended to one’s self: to be able to welcome all aspects of the self, all emotions, sensations and phenomena as honorable guests.
Written in the plane from Bali to Bangkok, posted in Sydney, Australia.
I am on the plane from Bali to Bangkok. In Bangkok I will take a connecting flight to Sydney. In Sydney I will enter a whole new world again. I will be on the other side of the world, further away from home than I have ever been. Or not? No, when I arrive in Sydney The Netherlands will be on the other side of the world. And I have never been so far away from The Netherlands and can’t possibly get any further away than that. But will it mean that I am further away from home than ever? What is home?
I am not saying that I don’t feel like an Amsterdammer anymore. I feel Dutch and I miss my friends. I will come back when the time is right. It is just that I am seeing that feeling at home is not a geographical thing. When I am at home in my body and my heart I am at home anywhere. And when I experience some kind of deficit, as if there is something lacking, I am not really at home (not even in my own bed).
I think that our houses quite often function as a place where we can safely be not at home. We don’t feel completely free and we don’t feel completely happy but at least we are safe. Our personal possessions are surrounding us; we have the distractions that we prefer at hand. We can create a cocoon, a safe haven. In the cocoon our feelings of being alienated are not so apparent. In the cocoon we can create the illusion that the outside world is alienated and only the inside is sane. If that becomes our reality we will find it a good reason to hide in our houses.
As I closed my eyes to feel what it is that is coming up in my awareness I saw that an attitude of hospitality is important. To be at home inside myself I have to welcome all the aspects of me. I feel some pride now because as I type this I realize that the famous Sufi poet Rumi has used that metaphor before. So I am having the same insight as Rumi once had. I like.
To be able to welcome all aspects of the self, all emotions, sensations and phenomena as honorable guests feels like a mighty and desirable path. Next to our internal guests we have the guests in form of other people who come into our lives and leave again. To be able to host all my guests with kindness and respect, without trying to keep somebody locked out or locked in is what I wish for myself and my guests.
Traveling is making me a better host to myself. And although I have not been hosting people in the literal sense I think I have opened my doors to many. By developing my hospitality I feel more at home. I also feel that I am learning what it means to be a guest; to be natural and mindful, to not be rude nor walk on egg shells. Guests come into our lives with a message but as guest we don’t have to force our messages on our hosts. At the same time: it is upon the hosts to listen what our guests have to say.
I might not be fully at home yet. And there might be guests who I would like to leave and there might be potential guests who I would like to come visit me and stay forever. So because I am not fully at home yet: I have some more traveling to do. But I feel I am moving in the right direction. I just have to go and let go.
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Image courtesy of the author