by Jennifer Cabanero

There is a poem by Rumi called, “Guest House” that begins, “Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, 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…” It’s through the practice of iRest meditation that we learn how to compassionately greet all these aspects of our self. We also grow our ability to greet the other people in our lives with kindness and curiosity.

A greeting is an acknowledgement, a welcoming, or a recognition of a visitor. These visitors might be sensations, emotions, beliefs or an actual person who has come into our life. As I think about this an image arises of myself opening the front door and greeting an honored guest; I smile, we hug, and then I invite them in. 

A greeting can also be an expression of goodwill. What if there is a feeling of trepidation as the door opens? We might wish the guest would keep walking past our door. Or stay quietly hidden as the doorbell keeps ringing! Are we able to offer a polite greeting and acknowledge that this guest is welcome here as well? If we can greet this guest with kindness and curiosity, the seemingly formidable guest might relax enough to smile or to feel less defensive.

What a gift it is to be able to meet our sensations, emotions, or beliefs as messengers who are bringing us valuable information! And as Rumi says at the end of his poem, Guest House, “Be grateful to whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” Greeting is a gift that we can give to our self and to others.