Can darkness ever be a gift? This Rumi poem deals with our many moods. It is a poem which you may find a delightful challenge, completely unacceptable, repulsive, or strangely therapeutic… but however you react immediately, let the poem sit with you, let yourself reflect.
Mary Oliver wrote a brief poem which said:
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
How do we turn darkness, depression, meanness, shame, into a gift? Over the centuries there has been a fascination with Alchemy. Alchemy was the search for ways to turn base metals into gold. It was also about how we transform our troubled lives into something beautiful.
If that’s what we seek, then Rumi is worth listening to….
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 are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
They 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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks