When Being Human Clashes with Your Ideal You
Shortly after the plumber left for the second time this week, Amber turned on the kitchen faucet. Water spewed out everywhere, drenching her, the countertop, and puddling on the floor. As the surprise wore off, Amber felt her anger rising up. She was furious, fuming. She wanted to yell, scream, throw something. “WTF did this guy do?” she wondered. Did he check his work? Did he use cheap material?
And then she heard that familiar voice – “You shouldn’t feel like that! Here you are on this spiritual path – you shouldn’t be getting angry!” Suddenly, she’s got a mental battle going on – angry and frustrated vs being “above” being angry! What’s real and true in the moment vs those spiritual shoulds and shouldn’ts.
As people who are spiritually inclined, we sometimes worry when our less honorable, yet totally human traits come up. Often they’re the milder versions of what we know as the seven deadly sins maybe not wrath, but real annoyance; maybe not sloth, but procrastination. We’ve come to believe that our lower emotions just aren’t very holy and we should get over them as quickly as we can! And we try to do a spiritual by-pass.
In this, one of my favorite poems by Rumi, we’re reminded to welcome our emotions as guests (rather than trying the by-pass). If they are welcomed, they may pass through rather quickly. When we bar the door, they’re likely to keep on knocking and nagging until we finally give them space.
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.
~Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
What guests have you kept at bay? Perhaps it is time to welcome them, ask them what they bring or have to share with you. Embracing them, even the difficult ones, will likely bring you a lot more peace!
Many blessings to you and yours!