Posts tagged ‘Coleman Barks’

The Guest House

Mevlana Museum
Location: Mevlana Mausoleum, Konya, Turkey
One of my favorite poems is “The Guest House” by the 13th century Sufi mystic named Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. I was fortunate enough to visit the place where he is buried. It’s in the Mevlana Mausoleum in Konya, the holiest city in Turkey.

In this poem, he compared each one of us to a guest house or an inn. During our lifetime, we play host to different types of guests. They arrive as expected or totally unannounced. They come for short term or extended stay. They arrive bearing the names of joy, sorrow, fear, disappointment, death, pain, anger, success, failure, and others too many to mention. He said that they should all be welcomed with an open mind and treated graciously since they help us grow as a person.

When we view our life through a prism and see its light breaks down into many colors, it behooves us not to dwell on a specific color too much and let our existence be defined by it. I think it will be a distortion of reality. There’s reason to believe that the fabric of our life should be judged in the totality of its attendant colors. Or to put it in another way, a guest house shouldn’t be evaluated based on the perception of one guest alone.


By Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi,
translated by Coleman Barks

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.

January 17, 2016 at 7:21 pm 14 comments

From The Book Thief

i have hated the words and i have loved them, and i hope i have made them right.

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