Favourite Quote: “This being human” by Rumi

I thought it would be appropriate to offer a reflective piece of poetic wisdom as the New Year begins : we need all the wisdom we can receive, especially in relation to the dark thoughts, the shame and the malice from which no person is immune – could we but take responsibility for those shadow qualities in ourselves as individuals and nations, refraining from projecting them onto others, the world would probably be less fractured than it is….

” This being human “

The poet Rumi
The poet Rumi

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 honourably,
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.

from the Persian poet Rumi


10 thoughts on “Favourite Quote: “This being human” by Rumi

    1. One of the things Jung said, which always returns to offer me help and support when I am wrestling with the more difficult and unattractive facets of my own nature, is to the effect that our major task in this life is the integration of opposites. That is why this poem by Rumi has also inspired me for a very long time, and continues to do so. Denying our own shadow qualities individually or collectively, does not bring peace……

      Thank you for your pertinent comment.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Noel.Yes, I agree that the best writers write from a deeply lived life, Rumi being an exemplar of that mode. However, I’m not sufficiently acquainted with most of the human race to be able to comment on whether your latter statement is valid or not….

      1. Your point is well taken. I actually can speak only for the miniscule sampling of humankind that I have experienced . . . and the way I have experienced their way of experiencing suggests that my generalization definitely applies.

      2. Well, like you my sampling is miniscule….but it has yielded an impression that most people do not wish to “lean into the sharp points” of their lives, preferring to find ways around difficulties via denial and evasion. It’s easier and safer that way in the short run, usually….but in my experience, having leaned into the sharp points most of my adult life, the way advocated by Rumi in this wonderfully wise poem can be hard going at times – but yields rich rewards.

  1. In the movie Camelot, King Arthur asks Merlin, “What does a man do when he is incredibly sad?” Merlin’s reply: “He learns from it.”
    Viewing that brief cInematic exchange was a salvation moment for me, and I have ever since endeavored to apply Merlin’s answer to all such questions.

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