be grateful – a meditation

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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 — The Guest House

Every experience can teach me. I can be grateful, even for the painful times of my life, if I have learned and grown from them. Rumi encourages me to go beyond that, to welcome in “the crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture”, to consider them as guests and to treat them honorably. That's a tall order. I'm not sure I can go through with it. I can aspire towards it, to invite in “the dark thought, the shame, the malice … laughing.” When I fight the dark thoughts, when I hide from the shame, when I deny the malice, I hurt myself. When I accept them, invite them into the light, and laugh with God, they lose their power to dominate me, they lose their power to depress my serenity, they lose their power to destroy my joy in living. I will endeavor to “Be grateful for whoever comes” and to see them “as a guide from beyond.”

A meditation for April 20, 2013.


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