Friday, June 3, 2011

Getting Rubbed by Rumi (...49)

A very long while back, a friend introduced me to the poetry of Rumi.  I just looked up his full name:
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rumi.  Got that?  He's a Persian poet who lived to be 66.  I bet most people have heard of him or heard his poetry, even if they aren't aware that it was him who wrote it.  Many of the poems I've come across by Rumi are about loss, longing, and living through life's challenges.   He seems to write about all of these subjects with an attitude of acceptance, encouraging acceptance in the reader as well, with the message that all experiences are a path to divine love.  It's a powerful message and he writes beautifully.

I was reminded of Rumi recently because I wanted to share one of his poems with a friend who is experiencing a loss.  It's called "The Guest House."

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'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" is pretty heavy and serious.  Even if you're not in a dark mood, it can evoke pretty intense feelings.  Yesterday I came across across a short quote by Rumi that made me laugh out loud because of it's succinct, light, almost comedic take on pretty much the same subject:
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" Rumi
What a great quote to carry around in your mind's back pocket as a reminder to embrace the stuff that "rubs you the wrong way."  Suddenly I'm imaging myself as a tarnished teapot who needs a lot of polishing and I should welcome all the rubbing I'm in for.

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