This poem by Rumi, the famous Persian 13th-century poet, scholar and mystic is one of my favourite poems which I often turn to in times of difficulty or challenge or when I’m feeling sad or troubled in some way. It reminds us to not judge ourselves and to welcome ALL of our emotions.
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I love how Rumi says that ‘being human is a guest house’ – ‘every morning a new arrival’ – he’s talking about our feelings, emotions and thoughts. But I love how he says we should WELCOME AND ENTERTAIN THEM ALL! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows etc. – we should honour our feelings (‘still, treat each guest honourably’).
And then he says they ‘may be clearing you out for some new delight’ and how they’ve ‘been sent as a guide from beyond’.
I love this. It’s so simple and true. We’ve usually been taught from a young age to suppress and bury our feelings and judge ourselves for feeling the way that we do. But I think Rumi’s perspective is most helpful and if we honour and acknowledge our feelings, then it allows them to be fully witnessed and let go of (which is different than trying to ‘get rid of’ them). What’s done is done, they’ve been honoured, acknowledged and then the charge is released and they no longer have a hold on us. Otherwise, they are often sat there inside of us, festering away, like a ticking time bomb waiting to erupt when something in our life triggers a similar painful emotion to arise. So I say, listen to Rumi – welcome and entertain them all and look forward to the ‘new delight’ they may be clearing you out for!
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