What Is

Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2011 in Imagination, Interpersonal Skills

guestsThe 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.


This is an incredibly optimistic poem. That there is a gift in everything is hard to believe sometimes. It certainly isn’t easy in the midst of sorrows and disappointments to believe they “may be clearing you out for some new delight.”

All feelings, including joy, are fleeting. They come to offer some “momentary awareness.” The ‘negative’ ones are not to be feared and avoided. We can learn something from them. People who ignore or avoid them tend to find themselves in situations that repeat them.

I would encourage not indulging the ‘guests’ and letting them become annoying. There comes a time for them to leave the house. When I move beyond focusing on my feelings, I am better able to see the world.

After a moment of inner clarity, and then when I turn outward, I hear others and see the world better.

To face reality – what is – you’ve got to get beyond yourself.

Image:  m5

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