“Darling, the body is a guest house;
Every morning someone new arrives.
Don’t say, “O, another weight around
or your guest will fly back to nothingness.
Whatever enters your heart is a guest
from the invisible world: entertain it well.
Every day and every moment a thought comes
like an honored guest into your heart.
My soul, regard each thought as a person,
for every person’s true value
is in the quality of thought they hold.
If a sorrowful thought stands in the way,
it is also preparing the way for joy.
It furiously sweeps your house clean,
in order that some new joy
may appear from the Source.
It scatters the withered leaves
from the bough of the heart,
in order that fresh green leaves might grow.
It uproots the old joy so that
a new joy may enter from Beyond.
Sorrow pulls out the rotten root
that was hidden from sight.
Whatever sorrow takes away
or causes the heart to sacrifice,
it puts something better in its place —
especially one who is certain
that sorrow is the servant of the intuitive.
Without the frowns of clouds and lightning,
the vines would be burned by the smiling sun.
Both good and bad luck
become guests in your heart:
like planets traveling from sign to sign.
When something transits your sign,
and be as harmonious as its ruling sign,
so that when it rejoins the Moon,
it will speak kindly to the Lord of the heart.
Whenever sorrow comes again,
meet it with smiles and laughter,
saying, “O my Creator, save me from its harm:
and do not deprive me of its good.
Lord, remind me to be thankful,
let me feel no regret if its benefit passes away.”
“And if the pearl is not in sorrow’s hand,
let it go and still be pleased.
Increase your sweet practice.
Your practice will benefit you at another time;
someday your need will be suddenly fulfilled.”
— ‘The Guest House’ by Rumi (in Mathnawi V, 3644-46; 3676-88; 3693-96; 3700-01)
translated by Kabir Helminski
I was going to write about the sadness and hollowness I felt all day upon finding out that yes, as I’d expected, it is confirmed: K, my best friend in Miri, will be leaving
me Miri by November to pursue his true passion and dream. I’d once said, “Brilliant people aren’t meant to stay small and contained… they’re meant to go out there and shine.” That’s him right there and don’t be mistaken, I’m incredibly proud of him – but I’m also genuinely sad that I don’t get to keep him by my side.
I was going to write about the sadness and hollowness that shadowed my heart all day …only to read Rumi’s poetry – third time in two weeks – on my flight back to KL this evening, and the first poem that I read tonight was this above. I read it once, twice, and cried quietly for a few minutes. I’ve reread it several times over the last hour, digesting each line deeper with each read. A prayer; Lord, remind me to be thankful, let me feel no regret if its benefit passes away. Indeed.
Because at this shockingly speedy rate that new friends become wow-you-feel-like-an-old-friend friends only to just as quickly become (sob) displaced (back to KL/out of Miri) friends… I’m really, really learning that people aren’t mere ‘coincidences’ – we cross paths, however briefly, for well-intentioned reasons. God is the best of planners, after all. I’m trusting that each person’s presence, especially within this year with its whirlwind of ch-ch-changes, is not insignificant.
To K: Thank you for your presence in my life over the past year – for being the best friend, literally, I never saw coming. Thank you for these early words, “No – I don’t find you difficult,” and for these middle words, “I don’t know if the rest mind – but I don’t. You can keep writing and telling me, if you don’t mind my delayed replies.” You’ve no idea the extent that your kindness has stretched and moved a person (me). Because what a crazy challenging year it’s been …and what a relief to have you by my side as a true friend; support system; sidekick; confidante; intellectual equal; second brain; fellow enthusiast in bouncing ideas back-and-forth… maybe I give you too much credit – but you are amazing, you know that? I pray that you won’t ever underestimate nor diminish your light because yours – of all people – should continue to shine brightly as a guiding light and resting place for more lost and ambling souls who, like me this year, simply needed a friend.
Lord, remind me to be thankful, let me feel no regret if its benefit passes away.
I’m grateful, truly and sincerely, that our paths converged this year. The fact that I feel so much sadness in knowing you’ll be moving forward to a brighter chapter only means that as the person at the receiving end, I was that much loved and accepted. I look forward to our random, unplanned weekend getaway next week and beyond 2016, though second year will definitely now not look the same – I’m trusting, redha, that my journey is in the hands of the Best of planners. Amin.