“The Guest House”

SOMEONE WHO LOVES ME SENT me this poem. I offer it to you in the same spirit.

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.

(By the 13th-century Persian Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi. Coleman Barks is the translator, but the original was written in Truth.)

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