Do you realize that you are a guest in this world? If you think you are here to stay forever, or if you think you own whatever you have, then think again.
We come into this world with an expiry date. And yet we live as though we have the elixir of physical immortality, and the impunity to do whatever we wish. If we do not wake up and see our reality, we may die without ever having lived.
Looking back at the times when we were guest in someones home or in another country, we felt relaxed. We did not carry everything on our shoulders and so there was less stress and tension. We accepted, in the name of change or a holiday, the different facets of another lifestyle or culture. We did not try to fix or control, we accepted and embraced. This is what would be defined as a good guest: one who respects the people and the place.
Guest consciousness is very important on a spiritual path. If I am a householder, it means to feel burdened by the responsibilities, which on a spiritual path means to be heavy and stuck. As I remember that I am a guest at all times, then I understand that nothing belongs to me, I am just passing through. Then I remain aware that I do not need to collect or hoard things. On the contrary, I need to travel light.
Light here means less mental baggage. It means not holding on to the past or anything that is not useful on this journey called life: impressions, mental attachments, and negativity. The more baggage I accumulate along the way, the more I become weighed down and rigid. I am not able to remain easy and flexible; in fact, I will have too many thoughts, fears, complexes and preferences. When I am caught up in these then I cannot enjoy each scene that comes in front of me. I have no room to appreciate the beauty of each moment.
Guest consciousness means that nothing belongs to us, and yet everything belongs to us! If I worry and fret about a few personal possessions, then I become like a beggar and will not be able to open my eyes to the fact that the whole abundant world is provided for my enjoyment.
Another aspect of guest means to be a trustee. I do not own, but use everything as an appointed guardian. My duty is to look after whatever is in my trust, but I do not get caught up with the pressures of ownership. This is a very delicate balance, but if we can master this deep spiritual point then most of our fears, attachments, worries and sorrows would melt away. Take the example of parenthood. If I see my children as my property, then I feel I have a right over them, I will have attachments and expectations, I will be frustrated, sometimes disappointed, and my love and happiness will be conditional. Joy will be there at times, but so will sorrow.
On the other hand, to see my children as people in their own right, as souls who are each on their own journey of life, I realize that I am simply a guardian and mentor to them for a short time. I care for them and fulfill my duties to the best of my abilities. I guide and support them but I dont try to live their lives for them. Then, when they are ready to fly the nest they go with my love and blessings and without sorrow. In this way real respect is maintained, and relationships prosper.
We should also remember that we are custodians of this wonderful planet. It is the only one we have, and yet we use it selfishly as though it belongs to us only. We abuse, exploit, destroy and pollute, as though it is ours to do with whatever we want. But in reality we are only guests in this world for a short time, and we need to leave this temporary home in good order for our future family members to enjoy.
In fact I am not only a guest but I am a foreigner also in this world. My real home is elsewhere. If I believe myself to be a soul, then my home would not be a material world, but rather a metaphysical one. Then I realize that even this body does not belong to me, I will not take it with me when I leave. All I will take is the result of my actions in this world. So, like a good guest, I should not leave a mess behind me, rather I should aim to leave the world a better place than it was when I arrived.
Its Time...to be a good guest and to make the most of your stay!
'It's Time...' by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK