The Guest House by Rumi

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My demons come to call each day.

Fear slinks to the doorstop, seeps through the cracks in the walls. Hatred sets my curtains afire, while Doubt chains my hands. Sorrow weighs me down with stones.

Though I bar the windows and the doors, nothing keeps them out.

I pray to the gods Positivity and Willpower, force a smile upon my face and ignore them, hoping they will leave.

The more I squirm and struggle, the more they gloat.

My demons will not be denied.

I think of all the things I have done to try and shut them out, how I have kept my world small and safe to avoid them.

“Don’t climb mountains and you’ll never fall off a cliff.”

“Say your prayers each night to banish the devil from your dreams.”

No matter how I try, I cannot rid myself of them.

I become obsessed with building thicker walls and chanting louder, more reverent prayers, but nothing keeps them away.

I resolve to watch them closer. I notice.

These demons ride upon thoughts like monstrous dragons. Joy and Peace come riding, too, on thoughts like butterflies and gorgeous sunsets.

Thoughts slip into my consciousness, dispensing havoc or delight, then out again without my doing.

Could it be my demons are thoughts like any other?

All I have tried has failed, so I wonder my way into something new.

Shame comes knocking at my door. The frame shakes, as do I. Gritting my teeth, I throw the door open wide.

“Come in, friend!” I say.

Shame oozes in and skulks to the corner. Hopelessness follows like a lost lamb.

“Welcome.” I set cups of tea upon the table. “Join me for a drink, my friends.”

The demons sidle up, grasp a cup in filthy and feeble claws, take a sip. They snarl and howl, but do not touch me.

My demons stay awhile, and then they leave, ushering in a glorious wave of Peace. I remain unscathed.

More demon guests come to call: Disgust, Rage, Loneliness, Irritation. I bid them welcome, sit with them over tea. They stay for a while before moving on.

The more I watch them come and go, the more I feel the ground upon which my house is built. It is solid. It holds me without requiring any effort on my behalf. I am safe, no matter the demons who visit.

Now I throw open my windows and doors.

“Welcome, life! Come with all your joys and sorrows. For I am safe at Home, always.”

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