The Kitchen: Guides from Beyond

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 it’s furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
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.
We might as well ask the same questions of our kitchens, most of us not having guest houses.  The kitchen is the place where most of us welcome friends and strangers into our homes.  More to Rumi’s point though:  we find not only all kinds of people in our kitchens, but we find all the ranges of ourselves there, too.
I do.  The Kitchen is the first place I go once I am up and showered for the day.  Some days I arrive to find a joy, a depression or a meanness in me–some momentary awareness that comes as an unexpected stranger.  Where did that come from?  What part of me is bringing up this feeling, that perspective, those sets of memories, today?
Rumi requires one response to whoever we find waiting in our kitchens each morning while the coffee brews or the bread toasts: welcome and entertain them all!  Even if they are a crowd of sorrows that feel like they will utterly destroy us–welcome them all and welcome them honorably.  Those aspects of ourselves that we find first thing in the kitchen each day may be a way of clearing us out for some new delight.
So, when some dark thought, or shame, or evil intent greets us at the kitchen door, or while we pull out the eggs, or just as we are packing lunch for the day, greet them laughing and invite them in.  Each one that we find in our kitchens has been sent as a guide from beyond.
Bob Patrick
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