22nd August 2010
Are YOU Just Passing Through?
There is something to be said for ‘guest consciousness’.
Have you ever noticed one of the delights of going on holiday is the temporariness of everything? Wherever you go you are a guest, you are just passing through and therefore your relationship with everyone and everything is more relaxed and easy. Nothing is precious. Nothing needs to be guarded. Nothing around us is used as a measure of our self worth. Everyone you meet is just passing through your life so that while you thoroughly enjoy their company you don’t try to hang on to them, even in your head, when its time to go. You move smoothly from one scene to another, releasing the last scene quickly and easily, thus remaining free and light. Such is the consciousness of being a guest.
Could it be possible to bring that same consciousness, that same lightness and freedom to our life as a whole? Is there value in seeing our self simply as a guest in this world? If so would it be possible to adopt such a mindset on a daily basis?
It does seem possible if only because of the impermanence of everything around us. Everything and everyone comes and goes, appears and disappears…eventually. Some of the ‘side effects’ or benefits of ‘guest consciousness’ might include the following.
When we are playing the role of ‘guest’ in the world we are aware that whatever comes to us in the form of situations and circumstances are just passing scenes in which we can choose to participate in or not. Just as the scenery on a coach trip is ever changing, so do the scenes of life. While ‘guest consciousness’ can help us to flow easily with and through life, the consciousness of the ‘permanent resident’ tends to want to freeze certain scenes and try to control how those scenes will play out.
Nothing is Mine
As a guest we know the nothing is ‘mine’ but we do get the temporary use of ‘some’ of whatever is around us. The guest never says, ‘that’s mine’. The freedom that comes with the absence of possessiveness allows us to live lightly. Whereas the permanent resident tends to covet and take some form of subtle support from what they believe they possess thereby creating the mental tension of grasping.
Take Things and People as We Find Them
As a guest we find it easier to accept people and situations as we encounter them. It is easier to come ‘fresh’ to our relationships leaving behind memories of encounters yesterday. The permanent resident however tends to want to maintain relationships in one particular mode believing that will give them stability. So they tend to try to hold other people in their perception ‘one dimensionally’, usually based on the earliest encounters. They thereby easily lose the ‘fluidity’ of their relationships.
As a guest we are fully aware that we only ever live as a temporary resident in a temporary location. Moving on is recognised as inevitable so there is no shock to the system when it’s time to go. The guest is always ready to pack whatever they need and move onto the next location and into the next scene. The permanent resident is more likely to be frequently anxious about ‘what may’ happen, ‘what if’ they have to move on, ‘when will’ they be able to find the comfort of permanence in an every changing and impermanent world!
As a guest there is a continuous challenge to use ones creative capacity to make the best of wherever we are and whatever is in our lives. This generates some of the deeper satisfactions in life as life itself is designed to be a creative exercise. The consciousness of the permanent resident however, easily forgets their creative potential and tends to use their energy protectively, as opposed to creatively, thereby unknowlingly suppressing an intrinsic joy.
As a guest we are accustomed to and ready to meet and respond proactively to unpredictable change. So when large or small changes do come we are neither surprised or shocked. We are not ‘phased’. The permanent resident, on the other hand, is always feeling somewhat insecure as they have no way of knowing or controlling whatever change happens in the world around them. They are the worriers. They are much less ready, willing and able to respond effectively to an ever changing world.
As a guest we can only carry so much with us materially and mentally. Compared to the permanent resident we travel lightly and therefore step forward with a lightness of spirit. We pack the ‘case of life’ only with the essentials. Whereas the permanent resident has the tendency to define their life by how much they can get in all their trunks! So they tend to travel through life with a heaviness that can be energy draining.
Attitude of Gratitude
As a guest we are grateful for all the large and small things that come our way each day. All are gifts. Good fortune is accepted as a blessing from a benevolent universe despite the gloominess of others. Not such good fortune is taken as a message that something on the journey may be briefly out of synch. Yet we are grateful for the signal and easily adjust. Both forms of fortune are embraced as part of life’s rich and varied pageant. The permanent resident however finds it harder to expand their capacity to be grateful since they tend to be more on the lookout and ready to defend against whatever misfortunes may shake their sense of permanence.
It’s not that the guest has abdicated their responsibilities and ‘free float’ their way through daily life. It’s just that ‘guest consciousness’ doesn’t take the changing scenes and circumstances of life quite so seriously and therefore quite so fearfully. They are much more able to surf the waves of life, steer a creative course through life and meet their responsibilities in life, with a lighter touch, a more joyous touch. And while the authorities have us all down as permanent residents of some country or county, some shire or town, it doesn’t stop us from adopting the consciousness of the guest as we negotiate and play the scenes of daily life, ever ready to let go and move on, not to the next country or next town, but just to the next scene.
The guest is like water while the permanent resident is like the rock. One is almost always flowing, occasional gurgling and yet sometimes completely still. It nourishes everything that it touches. Whereas the rock is almost immovable and refuses to let anything in.
Question: How would you generally describe your approach to life?
Reflection: Why do you think we can easily loose our fluidity and get stuck?
Action: In what areas of your life and in what ways could you experiment with ‘guest consciousness’?
© Mike George 2010