A whirling dervish dances
Sufi whirling dervish by sunriseOdyssey used under CC license.

In my early 20s, struggling with my own ‘house guests’ including sorrow, anger, depression, being mean to others, dark thoughts, and shame, I came across this poem by Rumi. He speaks so truly to the human condition and I found great wisdom in his poetry and could sense something amazing beneath the surface of his words. I hope you do too…


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 are 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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,
Translation from The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks