This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. 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.
We usually measure how well we are doing by the details of our lives—our health, relationships, our mood even. But, as Rumi reminds us in this beautiful poem, everything and everyone that appears in our lives is a guide from beyond come to teach us something. Yes—whether it is a backache or that annoying family member or even our own resistance to what is happening, it is possible, as Pema Chodron says in her new book, to welcome the unwelcomed.
The practice is simple, but not easy. It involves observing all that arises—externally and internally—and with non-judgmental awareness, seeing it as it is. By softening to our experience and our reaction to it, we can slowly transition to a more mindful and reflective, rather than reactive, approach to our experience. And then we can unravel all the stories and habitual programing and feel the blessings of being a guest house.