Xenos (plural Xenoi) is the Greek word for a stranger or a guest who is a friend.

This guest- friend might well be a god in disguise and may possess the power to bless you and your household. Thus the Greeks have a custom of extending hospitality to all strangers because, who knows which one of them might be a god or goddess in disguise?

As you plod on to your North Star, you will meet many strangers. Some will inspire you, some will impact you negatively; some will not make any impression on you at all. Just as the Greeks believe that not all Xenoi are gods but must all be treated with the potential to be god, so also you may treat all Xenoi as people who have the potential to inspire you.

I was not sure where I was going, and I could not see what I would do when I got [there]. But you saw further and clearer than I, and you opened the seas before my ship, whose track led me across the waters to a place I had never dreamed of, and which you were even then preparing to be my rescue and my shelter and my home.

~ Thomas Merton

Every once in a while you meet a Xenos; perhaps in person or through the pages of a book or online journal. This stranger sits you down and gives you a cup of aromatic tea. Lovingly she puts a low stool under your blistered feet and a cushion behind your aching back. Tenderly, she soothes the frown out of your forehead and causes the anxiety to drain away from you.

Then she talks to you for hours and days. In those hours, she pours her soul into you. She holds you by the hand and takes you along with her into the hallowed recesses of her private world. Sometimes, you become a witness to her courage by becoming a witness to her life. You live through her in those hours and days; laughing her laughter and crying her tears, tearing her hair in despair and beating her breast in grief. You dance her feet and sway to the music in her soul. There is no you in those hours and days; there is only her- gloriously, vibrantly her.

Then, suddenly yet quietly, you find another vision silently being born right in from of your eyes. The strangerโ€™s voice subsides to a low whisper. Her private world fades into the background. The air vibrates with your quickened breath. The flutter in your being matches the rhythm of the dance unfolding breathlessly in front of your eyes.

The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.

~ Lao Tzu

You see the gates of your private world swing open. That world beckons to you alluringly. Youโ€™ve been allowed to see this world only because you allowed another being to carry you forward to the place where this world nestled quietly, awaiting your arrival. As you step into that world, wondering what treasures lie in store for you, what wisdom and insights will greet your arrival, you know that to reach THIS place was the reason you walked along beside the Xenos you met.

You understand, in astonished gratitude, that to get you to this private haven, you needed to get caught in another personโ€™s private world.

You are enriched by the grace ofย  the Xenoi you meet.

Every reader finds himself. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.

~ Marcel Proust

A blind man knows he cannot see, and is glad to be led, though it be by a dog; but he that is blind in his understanding, which is the worst blindness of all, believes he sees as the best, and scorns a guide.

~ Samuel Butler


This is the 300th post on Serenely Rapt. I am amazed- and grateful. You- my Xenoi- have helped me open the doors of my inner world by sharing your journey and insights with me. Thank you dear readers!

You multiply me!

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20 thoughts on “Xenoi”

  1. A new word, a new perspective. Ummmm…I could very easily imagine the Xenos making the person very comfortable. I could almost smell the tea. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the quote by Samuel Butler. What he is says is somewhat akin to the exercise of waking up a man who is pretending to be asleep. No matter how much one tries, he just cannot be woken up, but a man truly sleeping will wake up when woken up. Thank you for the good read Dagny and for the new word. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I am so pleased you could smell the tea. It shows that you have your heart in the right place. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you!

  2. Love the visually rich, intellectually stimulating, and inwardly fulfilling journey that I was on as I read through your words here. Beautiful post today. Very powerful in its impact. And congratulations for the 300th post. I am not sure I will ever be able to read all those 250 or more posts I have missed on your blog. But I am so glad I discovered your blog when I did and that I am following it now, as regularly as I can. It is always a pleasure to visit here, and a privilege to get my daily dose of inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for writing!

    1. I wrote a part of this post as an introduction to another blog I was planning to launch. But I find it difficult enough (at times) to keep one blog fed and nurtured, two would kill me.

      Thank you for connecting with me. I wish I had begun reading you sooner. But better late than never. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for enriching my life!

  3. Congratulations on your 300th post, Dagny. What a fabulous subject! I am so glad that X comes towards the end of the English alphabet. Somehow this post on X for Xenoi is symptomatic of all the head-nodding and soul-sharing that I have had the privilege of doing with you in this one month.
    On another note, the Greeks seem to think like Indians on this one. We too have the concept of namaste,right? It means, I salute the divinity within you. Not far removed from being hospitable to strangers in the hope that they may be gods in disguise.

    1. It is indeed amazing how much head- nodding and soul- sharing we’ve both found on each other’s blogs. Greeks and Indians indeed think alike on the possible divinity of their guests. No wonder we too say Athiti devo bhavah!

      What astounds me is the repeated evidence of the same- exactly the same- evolution of consciousness happening in different- and unconnected- parts of the world simultaneously. Scientific discoveries have happened in tandem, life’s mysteries have been resolved at the same instance by people unaware of each other’s existence. If this doesn’t prove the existence of a higher power, what does?

  4. I guessed xenoi was a stranger due to the word xenophobia !
    Good one . Ya there are many strangers who impact us and become a part of our life where as U don’t feel like having few ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love ~ Samuel Butler’s quote in the end

  5. What a lovely post. And what a lovely way to think of the strangers who have touched us, the books that have enriched us, the sights and fragrances and tactile experiences that offer us entry into a new world.

    Congratulations on your 300th post. I’m so happy to have found your blog and will return.

    Drusilla (http://lovedasif.com/)

    1. Thank you Janaki. Now that you’ve found yourself, may you reach your destinations with joy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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