Cultivating Fierce Open Receptivity

Being receptive to all parts of life—good, bad, neutral—introduces more choice into our lives. When we welcome everything we are less likely to rush to judgement and more likely to be informed by life.

I’d like to help us explore openness today. And I have an invitation that I think might be helpful to you in your practice: Welcome everything. Wish away nothing. Welcome everything. Wish away nothing. 

Now, to welcome something doesn’t mean we have to like it. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with it. It just means we have to be willing to meet it. To welcome something asks us to temporarily suspend our rush to judgment and just to be open to what’s occurring. It’s a reminder that our job is simply to meet what’s at our front door. 

I had a friend who went to see a very eminent psychiatrist named Sidney, and in the last few years of his life he developed Alzheimer’s disease, so he couldn’t recall faces or remember names so well. So when my friends went to his house, they rang the doorbell. He opened the door and for a moment he just stood there, a bit confused and stunned. Then he said, “I’m really sorry, I can’t recall people’s names anymore. But I know this is my house, and my house has always been a place where people were welcomed. So if you…

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About the author

Frank Ostaseski

Frank Ostaseski is a meditation teacher who cofounded the Zen Hospice Project. In 2004, he went on to create the Metta Institute to provide innovative educational programs and professional training to foster compassionate, mindfulness-based care.