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’re 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 whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks

Lover of What Is

Rumi’s “Guest House” extols the opposite of what we often do…instead of meeting our experiences and inviting them in, we often run away from them.

Like Rumi, Adyashanti talks about becoming a lover of what Is. “But what a gift, we find this self-luminous, this awake Presence, is a Lover of what Is….What Is could be rotten. What Is could be sickness, old age, death, decay. Being cold, being hungry. Being disagreed with. But still, the true Lover is a lover of what Is.”

What is he talking about? To hear more, listen to Adyashanti’s “Five Truths About Truth” audio clip, which is drawn from his CD set by the same name.

Inviting Insights

One way of inviting a visitor to share his/her insights is by using the Osho Zen Tarot. It invites in a deeper, wider awareness that may help you greet your visitors at the door laughing–or at least meet them, instead of running out the back door to escape them.

“It is a transcendental game of Zen which mirrors the moment, unwaveringly presenting what is here, now, without judgment or comparison.”

On the Osho website you can pull a card or do a layout to gain more insight. As Osho’s Tarot in the Spirit of Zen: The Game of Life explains, the Zen approach to Tarot is “based on the understanding that life can seem random and accidental only if we remain unaware and asleep through it.”

If you enjoy what you experience with the online version, a beautifully artistic hands-on version of Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game Of Zen can add a physical, tactile dimension to your explorations.

Becoming Your Own Organic Gardener

Thich Nhat Hanh adds his own perspective to our guest house in his talk on “Mara and the Buddha – Embracing Our Suffering.” He speaks of the flowers and garbage of our lives–and how one becomes the other. “All flowers have to become garbage….Although garbage stinks, although garbage is not pleasant to hold in your hand, if you know how to take care of the garbage, you will transform it back into flowers….

We have to say that organic gardeners are capable of seeing flowers in garbage, seeing cucumbers in garbage. That is what the Buddha described as the non-dualistic way of looking at things.”

If you want to explore becoming an organic gardener of your own life’s guest house, a full transcript of his talk is available. It can be another way to get to know your guides from beyond…and at some point you may even find they are closer to you than your own skin. Then each moment can be a celebration…or as Rumi suggests, you can greet your experiences at the door laughing, and invite them in.

From Rumi’s Guest House return to Soul Poems
Go to A Sacred Fool home page

Jalal al-Din Rumi, “The Guest House,” translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, from Essential Rumi.