The Haunted Room in the Mind


There are many stories of haunted houses. There may be a room in which one senses a presence or hears footsteps or a strange voice. Such haunted places remain uninhabited. People are afraid to go there. The place is forsaken and left to deepen ever further into the shadow of itself. The way you think about your life can turn your soul into a haunted room. You are afraid to risk going in there anymore. Your fantasy peoples this room of the heart with sad presences, which ultimately become disturbing and sinister.

The haunted room in the mind installs lonesomeness at the heart of your life. It would be devastating in the autumn of your life to look back and recognize that you had created a series of haunted rooms in your heart. Fear and negativity are immense forces, which constantly tussle with us. They long to turn the mansions of the soul into a totally haunted house. These are the living conditions for which fear and negativity long, and in which they thrive. We were sent here to live life to the full. When you manage to be generous in your passion and vulnerability, life always comes to bless you. Had you but the courage to acknowledge the haunted inner room, turn the key, and enter, you would encounter nothing strange or sinister there. You would meet some vital self of yours that you had banished during a time of pain or difficulty. Sometimes, when life squeezes you into lonely crevices, you may have to decide between survival or breaking apart. At such times, you can be harsh with yourself and settle to be someone other than who you really long to be. At such a time, you can do nothing else; you have to survive. But your soul always remains faithful to your longing to become who you really are. The banished self from an earlier time of life remains within you waiting to be released and integrated.

The soul has its own logic of loyalty and concealment. Ironically, it is usually in its most awkward rooms that the special blessings and healing are locked away. Your thinking can also freeze and falsify the flow of your life’s continuity to make you a prisoner of routine and judgement.

~ John O’Donohue, from ‘Eternal Echoes

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