Monday, December 1, 2008

The Guest House

The Islamic Sufi poet-philosopher Rumi wrote this in the 13th century. Although Rumi's works were written in Persian, Rumi's importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders; a 13th century poet for the 21st century.


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 are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi

translation: Coleman Barks
painting: Michael Green


Sandi said...

Rumi's words ring true in my world. My house has been cleared of furniture more than once. I would examine the changes with wonderment. But the visitors who come with the cancer beast...well, I don't exactly invite them in with laughter. More like cringing as they break down the door. But, I do learn from them.

el poquito said...


"Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond."

When I can finally arrive there - after all my fussing and fretting, my fighting and resisting, I can BEGIN to glimpse something more. Just a glimpse is all I need to keep moving forward.

If I were to write that first line, it might have said: "finding gratitude despite whatever comes..."
I'm still in first grade in Rumi's school!

FYI: Rumi was born in what is now Afghanistan... I wonder what he would say today - and how many Rumis might be living there now?

el p

tarzan said...

yes, one experience, one "visitor" can lead to a complete new world full of discoveries... as long as we allow the strangers in, we do otherwise would bring us to the end of searching our hearts and our lives...... here's a toast to the new and the unknown. Good and bad alike brings us strength.