In your darkest moments, when your heart feels tender and broken wide open, I hope you’ll turn to the wisdom of the poets. A good poem can act as a balm for your soul as well as prepare you for the truths you’ll rediscover at this time.
Such is the popular poem ‘The Guest House’ by 13th century Persian poet Rumi. Frequently recited in mindfulness circles, this poem is a reminder not to resist the thoughts and emotions passing through you but to meet them with courage, warmth, and respect. Heartbreak is like a cleanse. These seemingly unwelcome guests in the guesthouse of your mind will scrub away at everything that is untrue or unhelpful, if you let them. And not to worry, being guests, they’ll eventually depart as well. Here’s the poem.
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.
— Jalaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)
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