Practice: Make Yourself at Home | iHanuman


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Practice: Make Yourself at Home

This idea of being at home wherever we are, like virtually every other part of our spiritual journey, has a lot to do with faith. It's easy to say "I'm a person of faith." But what does it mean to us in a practical way? How does it affect our experiences and our state of mind all through the day? Are we just using empty words when we talk about faith? Do we put any time into it? We may believe in food, but we still have to take the time to eat!
It's a very popular sentiment these days to say things like "I'm a spiritual person, a person of faith, but of course I have all the same worries, stresses and fears that anyone else has." I even hear meditation teachers, ministers, yoga teachers say the same thing: "I'm just like everyone else, I have all the same worries, stresses and fears of anyone living in these difficult times." Well, then I say shame on you! Why would anyone ever be inspired to be a person of faith if it doesn't relieve the worries, stresses and fears of our daily lives?
We can choose to have zero worries, stresses, and fears. Because one thing faith means is that we trust some sort of plan, some sort of intelligence behind our lives; that Life is not just a bunch of random, meaningless situations that come because of bad luck or good luck. This is what it means to be at home wherever we are. Home is a sense of belonging - belonging not just to a place, but belonging to our lives; even the hardest, worst parts of our lives.
This, then, is the practice: Just to spend a little time every day reminding ourselves that we belong to our lives and our lives belong to us; that we are at home right here, right now, everywhere we find ourselves. Reminding ourselves that we consider ourselves a person of faith, and it is beneath our dignity to feel like worried little creatures at the mercy of an uncaring world.
I like doing these practices in bed, because that is when we feel the most childlike and simple, and when our thoughts are the most private. As you settle in to go to sleep each night, first bring your breath into a nice, smooth rhythm, relax your body, and bring to mind such simple thoughts as "I am a person of faith, and I am at home right now." When you bring these thoughts to mind, make sure you take the time to feel what you are saying. Let go of your resistance to being where you are, being who you are. Let go of feeling "far away" or abandoned or alone. Think "My heart is my home; my Life is my home," and again, feel the experience of what you are thinking. Feel the profound familiarity you have with your own Life and your heart's own struggles, and realize no one can ever lock you away from that sense of being home.
When you wake up in the middle of the night, as you turn over to go back to sleep, spend just a few seconds doing the same thing. And do it again when you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed. If you make it a habit to remind yourself of your faith and your sense of home for just these few minutes in bed each day, it will quickly become much easier to remind yourself of these same things in the middle of the day when you get overwhelmed by all the crap going on around you. God knows and cares about you like a mother for her infant. The Hindus say when we call on God, God comes running like a momma cow to her calf. Yet life is mysterious, and we suffer greatly even though God loves us. Christ suffered, Krishna suffered, Buddha suffered, Mohammed suffered, Moses suffered. The Great Traditions don't promise us a life without suffering, but they do promise us a life without stresses, worries and fears. They don't promise us a life where everyone will love us, but they do promise us that we can open our hearts to the point where we love everyone, even those who "persecute and despise" us. They don't promise a smooth ride through life, but they do promise a "peace that goes beyond understanding." All of these promises are fulfilled when we begin to feel at home in our lives. When we arrive at a friend's house they are likely to say, "make yourself at home." God is saying the same thing to us twenty-four hours a day. Make your life your home. Give it a try.

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