This poem by Rumi is something you will see and hear in mindfulness courses and retreats all over the world. I also use it regularly with the students I teach in schools across Vancouver, as well as in my Awakened Recovery sessions.
The poem expresses many things but it's core message is also one of the core message of mindfulness meditation - to be with whatever life brings to us. Whether it comes in the form of a a joy or a great difficulty Rumi encourages us to open ourselves to whatever life brings us - internally or externally.
But whatever life throws at us, our attitude and commitment to greet it without fear or loathing, and with whatever subtle faith we can muster, allows us to become wiser, kind and more compassionate to self and others.
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 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