Let’s develop an analogy of a house, to illustrate several of the points we’ll be making.
It’s got the window you just used to get rid of all your un-helpful beliefs.
It also has several floors, many, many rooms, a front door, a back door, and NO hearth.
Your house is very beautiful and sturdy, and it has everything you need: it is YOU.
Your mind, your familiar physical body, and your subtle physical body combine to make ‘you’. The floors of the house represent the various stages of your life, and only you can say how many there are. The rooms represent the relationships you’ve had, and you can also have as many rooms as you need (in a healthy way).
Don’t worry, the laws of structural engineering do not apply to your house.
Most of our houses are quite top-heavy, but that’s fine. You also may have lots of stairs, or maybe even elevators, because some of your relationships span several – or all – phases of your lifetime, so those rooms connect from floor to floor.
Your windows look out into the ‘world outside’. They represent how you think others view your relationships. Curtains, shades or blinds may decorate your windows, depending on how much you share your relationships with others.
Even a secret relationship shows at least one window – few secrets stay hidden for long.
There’s a phone in every room, and this is your connection with your Guide(s) or Holy Being(s). You may find some rooms with dead lines or no signal… You also need a ‘line maintenance plan’.
Of course many of the rooms are connected by doorways, since many of your relationships are entwined. In fact, you may find you have rooms within rooms, if some of your relationships are very overbearing and dominating, but that is not the healthiest of situations.
Now please keep in mind that this is a very Alice-In-Wonderland-like house; it doesn’t have to conform to any rules of construction, architecture, economy, beauty or reason.
It’s just like your relationships.
We’d also like to suggest, please don’t make a job out of imagining your house. In fact, if you like, just follow along with the book; there’s no need for extra effort. Some people are more visual than others, some people are more verbal. As long as you understand the analogy, that’s all that matters.
So you’ve got the analogy in place, and if you begin to feel like your house might be quite a jumbled mess, you’re not alone.
Relationships are not neat and orderly, because the heart is not neat and orderly.
You may pride yourself on being able to focus and follow logic and keep things organized, but once your heart gets involved, your world can very quickly spin out of control. And people often hate that. In fact, some of you hate it so much that you choose not having relationships over having to deal with the confusion.
These, in particular, are the people we’re talking to in this book, as well as the people who (really do) love them.
One of the most frustrating and stressful situations you can face in your lives is to love someone who seems to be afraid of, or refusing to, love back, when you’re pretty sure they really do like you. You’re pretty powerless to do anything about this situation, because it seems the more overtures you try to make, the further away the other person moves. You’re always left wondering what really happened, and even your friends’ investigative talents might not help you gain much understanding. Contemplating this kind of situation leads to the subject of boundaries.
Boundaries are like fences or walls you put up around your house.
They may be for appearances, or they may be practical. They may keep wild beasts or domesticated pets inside or outside. They may be for security, or just to frame a garden. When you see someone else’s fence or boundary, you can’t always be sure what purpose it serves. Just as you should respect the private property of others, you should also respect their boundaries. You’ll find you’re far more welcome to enter someone’s house if you knock politely at the fence post rather than leaping over the fence and storming the front door. This is likewise with relationships.
When you first meet someone (continuing the analogy), distinguish what kinds of fences or walls they have around their house, and respect those boundaries just as you would like to have your own boundaries respected.
This holds true especially if the person reminds you of someone you feel you already know.
Almost all trespasses of people’s feelings arise from others making assumptions that they know the person perfectly. When you’re met with boundaries, explore what purposes those boundaries serve for that person. Most importantly, if you want to build a room with that person, please respect the fences and simply knock. This is loving and respectful.
“Knocking” means you make polite, respectful overtures to that person. Small talk works well. Once you find you have some things in common, then wish for an invitation to come inside the fence.
Once inside the fence, remember that person invited you inside.
The time has arrived for meaningful and honest exchange.
That is, if you want an invitation into the house. Sometimes you make it into a person’s yard and find that you’re satisfied with the yard alone. With ‘yards”; you can gain access, and then quietly make an exit if you decide you’re not really comfortable going inside the house. Sometimes you need a bit of time to wander around in the yard and see what you can discern about that person. Sometimes you love the yard immediately, and would like to head right in for a cup of tea. That’s all well and good, but you still need to wait until you’re invited.
The quality of room you build inside with that person as your relationship develops may or may not reflect how much time you spent in their yard.
Relationships vary as much as people’s collections of karma and merit.
So let’s say you’ve made it inside the house – you’ve received your invitation. You wonder about the analogy: where is this person’s heart?
A person’s heart pervades the world, not just one room or the middle of the chest. A person’s heart pervades their entire being, including the yard, fence, and beyond.
Whenever you interact with another, you deal directly with their heart.
You can enjoy more than one loving relationship in your lifetime because the heart is boundless.
Let’s make a distinction between multiple loving relationships and infidelity. If the fire of infidelity starts in one room of a person’s ‘house’, that fire generates smoke and flames that flow into all the other rooms in the house, even rooms that haven’t been built yet.
Avoiding infidelity takes vigilance – a kind of take-no-prisoners, leave-no-stone-unturned vigilance.
We stress this strongly because gentle, loving vigilance powerfully reinforces all relationships.
No, what we mean when we say the heart is pervasive is that the heart is always there, and it’s always possible to find more heart, more love, for however many people you should wish. When a heart becomes ‘broken’ it’s not because it ran out of love. It’s usually because it got so engaged in one single room that it forgot to tend to the other rooms as well.
Now, let’s talk about some very specialized rooms that you each have in your house.
These are the Storage Room, the Bathroom, and the Kitchen.
You can have as many of each of these as you like, and can put them anywhere you want, as long as you can get to them easily when needed. All three of these types of room are very special – and essential – because these represent the relationships you have with yourself.
All of your other rooms really can’t function well if these rooms aren’t being used regularly.
The Storage Room is where you put things that are important to you, things that you can’t use or don’t need at the moment. Sometimes things happen in your life that you just can’t make sense of, or resolve to your satisfaction in the heat of the moment. With a Storage Room, you can put things away for a while without tossing them out altogether. This way you can come back to them when you’re ready.
What’s important is to keep the door accessible, and to peek into the room from time to time. This way you can see if you need to clean out or clear up anything, or if maybe it’s time to dust something off and move it to one of your relationship rooms.
One great thing about Storage Rooms is if you visit them regularly, you sometimes get delightful surprises.
You might retrieve something useful that you forgot you had, or you might have finally found a use for an item that just puzzled you before. Or you may find that something that used to be unpleasant now merely seems like a harmless memory.
And sometimes you just need to pay the room a visit to remind yourself that you still have things you need to take care of someday, so you don’t get complacent.
The Bathroom is indispensable because you all have stuff you need to get rid of, flush away.
It’s usually your own stuff, your mental and emotional waste material and refuse. If you go regularly to relieve yourself of these burdens, you will probably find that your life flows a bit more easily, and your relationship rooms have a nicer aroma.
Maybe at this point we’ve gotten a little vague with our analogy. What we mean here by talking about “going to the bathroom” is that you need to do things regularly to purify your negativity. ‘Negativity’ can refer to many things: it may be that you hurt someone’s feelings, or that you got angry when someone hurt yours. It may be that you lied to or cheated on someone, or misled someone in a less harmful way. Or it may simply be that you realize you must have hurt others in previous lives, because you keep getting hurt in this one, no matter how nice you try to be.
That’s fine, but how do you actually flush all that negativity down the toilet, so to speak?
There are many ways you can do this. If you’re religious, you can say prayers and ask Holy Beings for help with your negativity.
If you’re not so religious but are comfortable with meditation, you can use your meditation sessions to think about how you wish you could redress your mistakes, or how you wish you could forgive those who have hurt you. These all have to do with intention, and as has been explained elsewhere, working on your intention can bring about some very good results.
If you’re not comfortable with either of these approaches, then maybe you can still spend a little time thinking about karma (actions and their effects), and trying to set your mind and heart to wish well for others.
What you do not want to do is spend your time ‘in the Bathroom’ feeling sorry for yourself.
The Kitchen, in some ways, may be your favorite room in the house, and you should visit and use it often.
This is where you go to spiritually nourish yourself and others.
This is the space where you spend time being grateful for those who care for you and give you love.
It’s where you go to remind yourself how much you’re loved by your Guide(s), and it’s where you go to prepare kindnesses for yourself and others. You’ll know whether you’re spending enough time in the Kitchen by whether or not the other rooms in your house feel satisfying. Sometimes you need to ‘cook’ alone, taking time to yourself. Sometimes you need to invite your loved ones into your kitchen for a snack and a chat.
If your loved ones start to behave like hungry children, it’s a good idea to stop by the kitchen and get them some food for the spirit.
It might help to know that you don’t always need to prepare an elaborate ‘feast’ for yourself and others. Just like with your familiar physical bodies, a steady diet of simple food is better than long periods of hunger broken by overly-indulgent meals, only to be faced with hunger soon again.
So if you regularly check in with yourself to see how you’re doing mentally and emotionally, and give yourself time and space to heal any wounds and celebrate any joys, you’ll feel more balanced and satisfied with your life in general.
One of the most important things to remember about your house is that it’s your house. You’re not a renter, and no bank holds a mortgage on it. No one really has the right to tell you what to do with it. At the same time, it’s your responsibility to take care of it. And if you’ve read and understand Book One, you already know how to do that.
May your house always seem like a dream home.