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 by Coleman Barks

I found this poem through the Search Within Yourself book, in which I’ve enjoyed learning about mindfulness in a business context. I found this poem online here.

6 thoughts on “Guest House by Rumi

  1. This is one of my favorite poems. I read it app. half a year ago but I can’t remember in which book I read it. It is so true and honest and in a sense deeply comforting.

  2. Hello Matt — long time no see (which we need to change, next time you’re in DC!). This poem comes at a perfect time for me personally, and for my company Fathom Creative. I/we are undergoing a lot of change, mostly positive, and with any big change, the adjustment can be tough at times.
    On a micro level, the disruption of a steady emotional state can be frustrating but is necessary, as your poem points out so eloquently. On a macro level, it reminds me that as much control as I try to exert over the course of my company, a larger plan is in place. Knowing that larger plan has been designed for my benefit is unbelievably comforting. I often forget that (ergo, stumbling upon your post during this time probably wasn’t an accident.)
    Thank you!

  3. A beautiful quote.

    “Don’t be discouraged by your incapacity to dispel darkness from the world. Light your little candle and step forward.”

    Mata Amritanandamayi

  4. I just heard your interview on the Tavern and was so impressed with your calm demeanor and the fact that when you reached for an illustration of responsibility, your mind turned to pets. I heard you say that you go by photomatt and found some of your landscapes. I’d be happy to offer you a private photo tour of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, FL. We have about 80 lions, tigers and other big cats who have been rescued from the pet trade, circuses, fur farms, etc. I’d love your mastery of the camera to bring them to an audience they may not reach otherwise. Feel free to email me at Cat at Big Cat Rescue dot org