THE GUEST HOUSEThis being human is a guest house.Every morning a new arrival.A joy, a depression, a meanness,some momentary awareness comesas an unexpected visitor.Welcome and entertain them all!even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,who violently sweep your houseempty of its furniture,still, treat each guest honorably.He may be cleaning you outfor 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 sentAs a guide from beyond.
From "The Four Fs" to The Four Immeasurables
How might we control destructive impulses and promote positive emotions? Religious historian and compassion activist Karen Armstrong explains, in an excerpt of her article, "The Golden Rule," from our March 2011 magazine.
Why do we find it so difficult to make compassion our reality? I did some reading on the neuroscience of compassion, and what I understood the science to say made a lot of sense to me, because I recognized it in myself. We’ve inherited a sort of reptilian brain from our distant ancestors, which still contains a lot of ferocious drives that helped our species survive. Often these drives are called the four Fs: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and… reproduction (laughter).
These drives are automatic, and they are powerful. If a lion suddenly ran into this theater, we’d be right to immediately abandon our high-minded deliberations and run for our lives. These drives are about survival, and they are all about “me.” When people were freed from the desperate struggle for daily survival that dominated the species for thousands of years and had the leisure to reflect upon their experience, they began to explore ways to enhance the more positive emotions of the so-called mammalian brain and put the four Fs in their place, to keep them under control. Because we have a duty to protect each other from our destructive impulses, whether that involves killing somebody or uttering an unkind word that remains lodged like a piece of ice in the heart for years to come.
Go HERE to read more of her article.
The picture SOURCE and the top of this post?