Make Yourself at Home in the Unknown
- Dzigar Kongtrul
We are most at home in our own home. We have arranged everything according to our preferences. And when we come home from dinner at a friend’s, or the movie theater, we know exactly where everything is. Because we feel at home in our home, we also give ourselves permission to relax. We may leave our socks on the floor or a glass by the sink unwashed. For many of us, even if our home is simple, or small, it represents comfort and security.
Last year my teenage daughter and I arrived in Naples, Italy. We had never been there before and had no idea what to expect. We didn’t know the layout of the city. We didn’t know where to eat. We didn’t speak Italian. We found the train station and took a train to the ruins at Pompeii. When we got off the train, we had no idea which way to walk. Everything we saw was new and unexpected. When you go on a trip like this, you can have an adventure, because wherever you go is the unknown. So you become curious, attentive, interested, and open to new experiences.
Yet each day of our life is really unknown, even if we are at home or going to work. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know what surprises await us. We don’t truly know how the day will unfold. If we could view each day as an adventure, we could naturally become curious, attentive, interested and open to new experiences. But, too often, our experience is just the opposite. We encounter something unexpected and became tense, stressed and uncomfortable.
If we can think of our home as something beyond the building we live in we might be able to relax into our adventure like it was a trip to Naples or Pompeii. Our life is like a mystery novel. What will happen next? We don’t know. Let’s just sit back and see what the next page will reveal. Let’s find a way to enjoy life without knowing how the story will end.
(This is an excerpt from Gregg Krech’s upcoming book, Maxims to Meet Life’s Challenges, which will be released by the end of September.)
Gregg Krech Author, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-reflection (2002)| Author, A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness (2004, 2011)| Author, A Finger Pointing to the Moon (2000)| Editor, Thirty Thousand Days: A Journal for Purposeful Living (1993-Present)| Director, ToDo Institute (Vermont) (1992-Pr......