When I Feel At Home

From The Road Home by Ethan Nichtern:

"In thinking of home, we have to move beyond considering home as a physical address. We have to start asking what home feels like. My main teacher emphasizes that it is never enough to have good ideas — we need to familiarize ourselves with how experiences make us feel, on a deep and personal level. It is beneath the frameworks of ideas, in the very taste and texture of experience, that true insight is born.

We use language to describe and communicate feelings, but the feelings described by language are actually the most important thing to befriend. To be a sentient being literally means that we feel first, and that we think and act later, on the basis of these feelings. So, how does it feel to feel at home? How do we act when we feel like we belong?

When I feel at home (or when someone else truly makes me feel at home), I feel comfortable, supported, safe, and relaxed, like I don’t need anything. At those times, my past ceases to be a neon marquee of regrets, and my future is no longer an unending to-do list, bullet-pointed by unrealistic expectations. Feeling at home is the feeling that I can just be myself. It would be wonderful if there was a more psychologically complex description of this feeling with which to impress some academic journal.

But, in fact, the simplicity of being ourselves is actually the ideal outcome of traveling the path of awakening. When I feel at home, I can also begin to feel truly available to others, because their presence no longer compromises my identity or threatens my safety. When other people no longer seem like threats, I open my eyes and take greater interest in the society we share, this earth on which we are all natives and locals."