"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there." -- Rumi
The above quote by Rumi is one of my favorites because it points to a place in our minds and hearts we can all meet if we are willing to go beyond categorically pigeonholing each other as right and wrong. What is it about taking sides that is so compelling? The "us vs. them" mentality is as old as humankind itself; it is the basis upon which every war has been fought -- and it is generally founded upon the fear of not enough of "something" which, in turn, leads to anger, resentment, division, defensiveness, name calling, and power struggles. This behavior is most often driven by the egoic self, which thrives on separation, judgement, and external power and control; it is the epitome of duality in full expression. If this all sounds vaguely familiar that is because it has been playing out in Washington, D.C., not just recently but for the last several years.
I don't know about you but, after the recent 16-day battle on Capital Hill, my head is spinning. Our political leaders have fallen into the abyss of the "I'm right, you're wrong" blame-game, which is a game that nobody wins and everybody loses. There is rancor and division within both parties. While most of us are bewildered by this behavior, if we are open to it, there is a lesson here for us all. While it may be a bitter pill to swallow, at some level the same polarization that has immobilized our leaders in Washington must exist within us, because it is we who put them there and keep them there.
Be assured, I have no intention of turning this communication with you into a political conversation about who is "right" and who is "wrong" in the Washington debacle. The point I wish to make is that while I may have an opinion about it all -- and I trust you may as well -- I am committed to not allowing that opinion to separate me from you. Our differences are, in part, what makes life interesting; we need contrast and diversity to define and express who we are as individuals, but we also need to learn how to achieve change with respect, civility, and kindness. This can be accomplished without angst or fear by stepping back for a moment and seeing the larger picture. When we become fanatically ensconced on "our side" of whatever the issue of the moment is, we experience emotional myopia and we fail to see the larger truth of what we each have in common. Beyond being a citizen of whatever state or country in which we live, what we share before anything else is our oneness as human beings; we are all citizens of humanity. Again, I quote the mystic, Rumi:
"I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all ... I belong to the Beloved, have seen the two worlds as One and that One call to know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing-Human Being."
Will embracing Rumi's idea that there is only One of us here instantly change the behavior of others? Perhaps not, but what it will change is how we interact with others and eventually that will affect the world in a positive manner as our energy ripples out and spills into the lives of others. As Eckhart Tolle wrote in The Power of Now, "You cannot have an argument with a fully conscious person." That is because a fully conscious person will see when his or her egoic self is fearfully creeping into the moment and head it off at the pass. Simply put, it requires two or more people to have an argument about who is right and who is wrong and if you are fully conscious you can choose not to be one of them.
Can you imagine how it would feel to go to bed tonight knowing that this day you transcended the need to judge others or yourself as being right or wrong? It begins with making a choice to stay conscious and be present in the moment. The payoff is immeasurable. As increasingly more people choose to consciously and proactively engage with one another, creating a safe space to respectfully agree to disagree, we'll discover there really is a field beyond "us vs. them" where compromise, peace and understanding awaits us all.
Regardless of whether we are talking about our country's political leaders or our own personal lives and relationships, when we can agree to meet in the field that lies beyond "right and wrong" we'll be far more likely to find the middle path that honors us all. Metaphorically speaking, it will require us to follow that path and cross a bridge which opens to the field which lies directly in front of us every moment of every day. The path is our intention to transcend the belief that our way is the only way... and the bridge is our conscious awareness of our oneness as Human Beings. If that field is calling to you, I will meet you there. Who knows? Maybe it will catch on -- and right now that would be a propitious and beautiful thing.
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