The Guest House


This poem, The Guest House was written by Rumi, a Persian poet, mystic and theologian who was born in the year 1207. I like to make the point that this is ancient wisdom. People knew this 800 years ago. I read the poem at the end of my class on grief and loss. It spurs discussion on the the way we think about our emotions.


For text of poem, The Guest House


  1. Read the poem aloud - usually twice
  2. The Guest House in the poem is a metaphor which means it represents something else. What does the guest house in this poem represent?
  3. Who are the guests?
  4. How does this poem suggest that we should react to our emotions? Is this different from how we usually react?
  5. How do we usually deal with our emotions? Do we push them away? Do we look for meaning in them?
  6. Ask if they can relate to the feeling described in the line "violently sweeps your house empty of its furniture." Have you felt that way? How does Rumi suggest we respond to our emotions then?
  7. How might it affect us if we could welcome all our emotions rather than suppressing them or denying them?
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