Poetry never really interested me until I heard this poem by Rumi read aloud at a mindfulness retreat. I was struck by Rumi's profound illumination of our inner world, and amused and struck by his advice on how to be in relationship with the myriad of diverse activity, and reactivity, that our human brains constantly produce.
I invite you to read this poem and maybe even try reading it aloud. What does this poem bring up for you? When is the last time you noticed the various "guests" visiting your mind? When you do notice your thoughts and feelings happening, how do you treat them? Do you invite them in, welcome and entertain them? Or, do you notice that you usually shut the door tight and try to keep them out?
I invite you to experiment with noticing the activity of your inner world (thoughts, emotions, body sensations, stories, memories) and inviting it all in (for a moment), allowing it all to be here now, just as it is. How might you let these "guests" guide you in the next action you take today?
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.
- Rumi (1207 - 1273)
translation by Coleman Barks