Exploring the emotions of anger and sorrow with Rumi

Schalk Neethling
3 min readApr 10, 2022


Photo by Thomas Rey on Unsplash

From time to time, we all experience emotions of anger and sorrow. Sorrow does not always visit us due to the loss of a loved one. However, in recent times the well-being of our planet can cause desperation to engulf us. Seeing the suffering of innocent people and children can be overwhelming.

For some of us, we choose to bury our sorrow under a blanket of anger. We lash out, and we say things we do not mean. These emotions are not something we need to run from but instead, we need to acknowledge them. We need to find a way to embrace it, forgive, accept them, and learn from them.

As Rumi stated:

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.” ~ Rumi

Sometimes, as Rumi says, we have to keep breaking our hearts until it opens. So in those moments where we want to lash out in anger, try to quiet yourself for a moment and remember:

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” ~ Rumi

Our anger or frustration is often driven by our experience that life is simply unfair or unjust. When these emotions want to take over the reins of our life when it wants to harden our hearts, we need to pause and consider the following phrases:

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…

Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably.

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.” ~ Rumi

And when sorrow creeps into our lives, and it feels like we will never taste the sweetness of joy again, remember these words.

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.

It pulls up the rotten roots so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” ~ Rumi

In closing, we often invite false hatred, anger, or sorrow because we catastrophize. Because we are, in fact, fearful. Because we imagine a world that does not yet exist. In times like these, the Rumi poem “I am, and I am not,” as translated by Fereydoun Kia, comes to mind:

I Am, And I Am Not

I’m drenched
in the flood
which has yet to come

I’m tied up
in the prison
which has yet to exist

Not having played
the game of chess
I’m already the checkmate

Not having tasted
a single cup of your wine
I’m already drunk

Not having entered
the battlefield
I’m already wounded and slain

I no longer
know the difference
between image and reality

Like the shadow
I am
I am not

~ Rumi

When it comes to fear in particular, remember that fear is false emotions appearing real more often than not. I wish you a peaceful day filled with love and joy. Stay safe everyone. ✌️

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, and living your best life. If you find value in my writing, consider buying me a coffee ☕️



Schalk Neethling

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, living your best life through an active lifestyle and a whole food plant-based diet. Psychedelic curios :)