The Guest House: A Poem

This poem by Rumi would have to be one of the most frequently recited poems in mindfulness retreats and courses around the world. I love all of his poetry but this is definitely one of my personal favourites. It just gets to the heart of mindful living in the most eloquent and beautiful way.

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

Want some more like this? Here are some more mindfulness poems


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  1. betina mansbach says:

    you mentioned two of my favorite spiritual teachers , i wanted to suggest the final one n my trinity , Jaxk Kornfield,,,

  2. […] The Guest House by Rumi […]


  1. […] sadness, or whatever (one of my favorite poems to help explain this outlook on our emotions is The Guest House by Rumi). Authors like Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh have helped me to be still with myself, to sit […]

  2. […] instead, hold yourself in loving arms. Talk to yourself in a kind, tender, gentle inner voice. Welcome joy, depression and meanness at your door like unexpected visitors. I find it almost funny. Of course mindfulness is the answer. What else could it […]

  3. […] words of Rumi have never resonated more deeply; be it joy, happiness, or sadness; an ache, a tingle, a pain – […]

  4. […] I found this poem through the Search Within Yourself book, in which I’ve enjoyed learning about mindfullness in a business context. I found this poem online here. […]

  5. […] on the past, I’ve adopted an open-door policy, very much inspired by Rumi’s powerful poem “The Guest House”. I have looked at my past with the bright and hopeful eyes of a 20 year old. I’m looking at it […]

  6. […] so I took Rumi’s advice, and instead of packing another thing into my soul’s cluttered space, already suffocating […]

  7. […] through depression or trauma or deep, recurring grief. I wrote this poem because I am trying to be Rumi’s Guest House and welcome in any and all who come my way, to learn from them what they would teach me. Sometimes […]

  8. […] important to know your kryptonite. Learn to recognize when it’s sapping your superpowers. Acknowledge its influence, and learn to control your reactions. Don’t expect perfection; no one (even Superman) is […]

  9. […] life has been fun.) The water-picture is by my 6 year old & the poem I taped to the wall is “The Guest House” by Rumi, esp. because of its lines “Welcome and entertain them all!/Even if they are a crowd […]

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