“The Guest House” by Rumi

The Guest House by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi is one of my favorite poems. More than once, it has helped me cope during difficult times. The poem invites us to accept every experience mindfully with trust and gratitude, with spiritual and intellectual curiosity and a measure of detachment. Specifically, Rumi encourages us to come face to face consciously with our most difficult, intense emotions and honor them as a purposeful part of our human condition and trust that they have arrived to guide and teach us what we are here to learn.

The Guest House
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 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 whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks