The guest-house

For at least the first half of my life I believed that happiness was having a “good time, that is getting tipsy or drunk and to party, party, party.  I didn’t know any better.  Like most adults in our society I started drinking young age 15. I had never been a non-drinking adult. Drinking was above all a means of escape, of disconnection. Happiness was disconnecting myself from my life.

I certainly experienced moments of pleasure. Above all when I acquired something that pumped my ego: a new car, expensive clothes, exotic holidays, big house. Tthese moments of pleasure were fleeting and left me always wanting more: a faster car, even nicer clothes, even more exotic holidays. You get the idea.

Happiness for me now has quite a different meaning. It is to have peace in my heart and the experience of joy which arises quite spontaneously (radically different from that experience of alcoholic euphoric disconnection). These are things I never experienced whilst drinking.

Peace in my heart does not mean my life is free of problems or uncomfortable feelings. It is just that the peace is large enough to contain all things. I am aware that the space of peace isn’t empty but mostly contains gratitude, love, connection, joy. The intensity of these feelings varies, but the peace that contains them all is simply there –  a scintillating infinite awareness.


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. They 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.

Jalaluddin Rumi


Feelings come and go, just like guests; they stay for a while then leave. As I am writing this I am aware of sadness in my body. It has been my guest for a few days now. It is most welcome.

My peace today has the flavour of sadness; it is my companion. Other flavours in my peace are gratitude, love, and a feeling of wonder and connection. Each ingredient brings its flavour. All are welcome.


I wish you Peace, Health and Happiness




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