The Guest House, Jalaluddin Rumi

I’ve heard of the 13th century Persian, Islamic and Sufi poet, Rumi, but I cannot recall ever reading much of his poetry. So this seemed like a good opportunity. When I started to do more research, I realise that I have read much of his work quoted in various places. I would definitely like to read more. He is termed a master of love poetry and insights into life. There are definite parallels in his work to other poets I love such as Mary Oliver and John O’Donohue. Given now that I am about half way through Lockdown II, I would like to discover more new poets, maybe 2021 will be the year for increasing my poetry library. The last two weeks or so of reading at least one poem a day for this blog has made me realise how poetry has played an important part in my life and how much I enjoy it. I chose this poem by Rumi because it encourages us to love all ourselves and our emotions, no matter how challenging and difficult they are. In order to be at peace with ourselves, we need to accept ourselves in all emotional states, because that is how we learn about ourselves and learn how to adapt and accept that we are constantly changing. This is not easy and something that I struggle with, particularly in terms of perfection. Yet, every emotion is part of us and we are made up of darkness and light.

The Guest House

This human being 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.

Trans by Coleman Barks from The Essential Rumi.

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