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03 February 2011 @ 02:39 pm
The Guest House (Rumi)  
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.
veek on February 3rd, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
I keep re-reading this, giving different meanings to meanness: petty spite on one hand versus feeling small on the other.
Stunt Double for the Patriarchystarphire on February 3rd, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC)
I <3 Rumi's wisdom, so timeless. Thanks for the reminder.
Molotov Coqtizeestiplika on February 3rd, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)

Yes. Thank you.
wild, predictable abandon: lovecontessagrrl on February 3rd, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
whynotkaywhynotkay on February 4th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC)
Yes. Thanks.
maebethmaebeth on February 4th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
I struggle with this text every time i read it. Really, treat a violent guest honorably? What does this mean.

I went with d. to see his landlord last week. He is going to lose his apartment because he can't pay the rent. He can't pay the rent because the end of his sitting with his depression was a one day drug spree--which cost the next three months disability checks.

Is this a good clearing out? Did he not sit with the depression enough? I'm assuming homelessness is not the new delight.

There is a way that learning to feel your feelings, good and bad, is a gift.
But there is a way that it is horribly insufficient. Or maybe I just don't know how to welcome and entertain the anger i feel sufficiently.

I don't know.
ruthless compassion: thinkyaroraborealis on February 4th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
This is a really good question, and I've been mulling it over all day.

This poem came up in a conversation with my therapist, also talking about a buddhist sutra where the Buddha says, "I am an ax murderer," and when the people protest, says, "Everything that arises in me, also arises in an ax murderer." So, I take this poem as talking about some basic humanity -- we all have these feelings, and struggle with the bad and long for the good.

I have a very hard time welcoming the houseguest of bad feelings, and I hardly feel I can say what d. did "wrong" with his depression or his exit from it.

But I think that's a separate question from his emotions or how he welcomes or feels them. We already know that the system of economics is broken here in the US. How else could we describe a system that regularly makes a substantial portion of its population live on the streets? I think that's a different thing from what this poem addresses.

Feelings are real, and they matter, but they don't live in a vacuum.
Eratic Philosopher & Gentleman Hobochillguru on February 4th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
keep the rumi coming! it always does me good to remind myself of the lessons to be found in his writing.

thniduthnidu on February 12th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
I have this Rumi-nation on the bulletin board over my desk at work.