These days most of us stay home all day.
But do we feel “at home”?
What does it mean to feel at home in the world?
“Home is where the heart is,” the saying goes. The implication there is something quite different than what we mean when we refer to a “broken home.”
Just these simple observations are enough to point out that “home” is so much more than a location. Home is a feeling, a way of being.
Even if you aren’t home all day right now, are you “at home” all day?
Or do you perhaps go in and out, sometimes feeling safe and secure in yourself, sometimes not. Sometimes feeling accepted for who you are, sometimes not. Aren’t these experiences also part of how we know whether or not we are “at home”?
What does it mean to be “homeless”?
That certainly isn’t a location, is it? What’s it like to be without a home in this world?
Even if you are fortunate enough to sleep each night with a roof over your head, you still might not feel that “at home.” If home is where the heart is – as you rest, does your heart rest too? Or does it stay up all night on guard, suspicious of every sound?
How could you find a home for your heart?
Home might be more than a location, but it’s physical qualities are not unimportant.
Home is a place to rest. There is support below you that carries your weight.
Home is a place with boundaries. In your home, you may choose to keep the world outside or welcome the world in through your door.
There are windows as well. Otherwise, it would begin to resemble a prison. Without the free flow of air in and out, it is difficult to breathe.
Home is familiar. The surroundings are the ones that you yourself arranged. But it’s worth asking: how much care did you take in arranging them? In each place that you cast your gaze, what story is reflected back to you, what light are you invited to see yourself in?
What does is mean that “home is where the heart is”? What does it mean to live in a “broken home”? What does it mean to be “homeless”? What does it mean to be “at home in the world” – no matter where you are or what the weather is like?
If you find yourself at home all the time, what kind of home have you made for yourself?
Is this the home you wish to live in? What stories live between these walls, floors and ceiling? What kind of home have you made inside your skin?
How much room to you make inside your heart? (Is that your home only, or is there space to welcome other hearts inside? If you make that space, does it take space away from you – or do you have more space too?)
Just supposing that you found yourself at home all day long for a period of many days, what might you do to fix up this home and make it more to your liking, a safer, more welcoming place to rest your head and your heart?
You might start by simply listening in, to feel the home the world has already given you, a foundation of three elements that are always there, no matter where you are:
Your breath. The ground. The space all around you.
With each breath, that’s your life you’re breathing. You can feel that aliveness at the nostrils, in the back of your mouth, down your throat, and inside of you. It has a temperature and a texture and it changes your shape. It has a rhythm, a sound and it expresses how you feel. Everything about you is written there. How could you feel at home if you were disconnected from your breath?
Tune into how your breath dances with the world and let it carry you home. As you become more connected, notice how it slows and expands to make more space for you.
The support of the ground is always there for you although it’s possible that you don’t alway feel it. So feel it now and feel it again and again – every time you feel that you don’t have a home in this world. Feel how the earth is not only a support for you to rest in stillness. It also provides leverage to support your movement. Feel how you connect to the ground any time you wish to return home.
Are there places inside you which resist the invitation to rest? That keep working despite the generosity of the ground, which offers its support without judging you in any way? What judgements of your own could you let go of along with unnecessary muscular contractions, accepting that the world already completely accepts your weight?
The space around you is also your home. Without it, how would you know where you were? Your home is not bounded by the walls of your skin. You live within all that you take in: the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, vibrations, thoughts and emotions that inhabit the entire realm of what you perceive. How often do you allow your attention to take in the whole of this home of yours?
Look around yourself – and notice when you do how the weight of your head moving through space invites a change in your relationship to the support of the ground.
Listen to discover how many sounds are living here with you, from the birds or the sounds of traffic to the sound of your breath or your heartbeat. If you turn down the volume of your thinking, you’ll discover that your home is much larger than you thought it was.
The truth is that your home is infinite. But it doesn’t feel like home unless you make your home there. Perhaps this could become your practice, to notice what happens whenever you feel that you aren’t home in the world – and then tune back in: to your breath, the ground and the space around you.
As you come home to yourself again and again, you may discover that you’d like to make small changes, perhaps in the way you arrange your surroundings or who you decide to welcome inside. It’s fine to make experiments – it’s your home after all.
Each day, as the world changes and you change too, you might do anything at all that you are curious about. But if you’d like to follow a compass that always leads back home, pay attention to the way you dance with the world in order to orient yourself in that direction.
In each moment, to stay on the path, pay attention to the things you do that make it easier to breathe, to find the support of the ground (either for rest or movement), and to know yourself as just one point of aliveness inside the living space that stretches forever in every direction.
That’s the practice.
Want support in your practice?