Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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 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 by Coleman Barks

This 13 century Persian philosophical poem was written by Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (مولانا جلال الدین محمد بلخى), also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī (جلال‌الدین محمد رومی) or simply Rumi. When I first read this poem, it reminds me of Thich Nhat Hanh who often speaks of the emotions as guests and that we should develop the mindfulness to recognize our guests when they arrive and greet them with equanimity such as "Bonjour tristesse, comment allez-vous?!"

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