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,This is Coleman Barks' translation of Rumi's poem, one which I first read three years ago and have thought about several times since. Rumi compares the essence of being human to the idea of a guest house, meaning that we are vessels for innumerable experiences and emotions throughout our lives. His poem is most simply about the importance of accepting everything that approaches us over the years rather than picking and choosing as a way to turn away from all negativity. By personifying sorrow, Rumi paints this portrait quite clearly: "Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,/ who violently sweep your house/ empty of its furniture,/ still, treat each guest honorably." It seems that Rumi believes all aspects of one's life are critical to one's overall experience during one's time on earth, and therefore good and bad alike must be accepted.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Because Rumi was a Sufi, one could assume that the "guide" to which he is referring in the last line of his poem is God. Like much of Rumi's poetry, however, I find the overall message of his words to be relevant regardless of any religious affiliations. By expecting only goodness in your life and attempting to reject all bad things, you cannot expect to live nearly as rich a life as a person might who "welcome[s] and entertain[s]" everything he or she is met with.