A poem, “The Guest House,” by Sufi poet Rumi is often referenced in mindfulness meditation retreats and courses. It reminds us that “being human” is like a “guest house” with new visitors — a metaphor for our feelings — constantly showing up unannounced at our doorstep.
Now, if you were truly a guest house host, what would you do?
You’d probably greet each and every guest in a respectful and friendly manner. You wouldn’t necessarily ignore a guest simply because you didn’t like them (even if you wanted to you 😉). Nor would you ask your favorite guests to stay forever because you know they’re only here for a short time.
We can think of our feelings, moods, and thoughts — both good and bad — in a similar way.
They’re merely temporary guests.
And, our meditation practice actually helps us with this. We learn to face, not avoid, the tough stuff in our life, and we learn to enjoy the ‘pleasant guests’ while they’re here, without becoming too attached.
We can learn to feel all the feelings without becoming hijacked by them, and we can remain centered even in the midst of intense emotions.
So, the poem reminds us to be open to whatever life brings us, whatever may turn up on our doorstep, and to greet it with kindness and curiosity; it’s only visiting and it may, after all, be here to teach us a valuable lesson.
Need a little practice ‘welcoming your guests?’ Try our "Feelings. Nothing More than Feelings" 10-minute meditation today. It’s like a great, big sigh of relief, friend.