“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 honourably. \ 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.” - Rumi
Treat each guest honourably. This has to be one of the hardest tasks. You’ve hiked for five hours and just arrived at a mountain peak, but all you think about at the top is how you wish the moment could last forever. Desire. You eat out at your favourite restaurant and with every bite, feel bad about how unhealthy it is. Shame. You’re at a joyful wedding, enjoying the company of all your friends, but can’t help shake the feeling you’ll never have one of your own. Sorrow. It’s hard to accept these emotional guests, as at first glance, they ruin the moments in which they appear.
Where do your thoughts come from? Where do they go? Do we have to take them seriously?
Thoughts are another part of your diverse sensory experience - similar to every other sensation on your body. You don’t blame your big toe for feeling a certain way, nor do you blame your arm for aching. In Buddhist philosophy, the mind is our sixth sense, and thoughts/ideas are its object. We need not take them seriously, yet we have a habit of of judging mind-objects in a way we don’t judge body-objects (sensations).
As Pema Chodron says, once we lean into the discomfort of life, we see it clearly. And once the resistance to what is disappears, so do the demons.
Once we stop resisting a moment, then all the trouble vanishes. You have no control as to what thoughts arise, so there is nothing gained by not receiving them openly. This doesn’t mean rejoice at sorrow and suffering, but at least allow them to arise without judging their existence.
Finally, I want to share a short verse from a Buddhist Sutra.
“Bhagavan, the analogy can be made of a traveler who stops as a guest at a roadside inn, perhaps for the night or perhaps for a meal. When he has finished lodging there or when the meal is finished, he packs his baggage and sets out again. He does not remain there at his leisure. The host himself, however, does not leave. Considering it this way, the one who does not remain is called the guest, and the one who does remain is called the host. The transitory guest, then, is the one who does not remain.” - Śūraṅgama Sūtra
The emotions are the guests, but what remains once the emotion has passed by. Once the guest is gone, who is the host?
As Ramana Maharishi says, the main spiritual task is to find out who the seer is. Find out who the host of myriad guests is. This is done through disentangling your awareness from the objects of your awareness.
A good place to start: Imagine if you greeted every emotion that arose, as an old friend.
It is as it is.