Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make sense.
The emotional temperature in many places around the world is high with fear and anxiety. In this environment, it makes it particularly difficult to find places and ways to bridge divides—divides that, daily, seem to be reinforced by media and social media. In this fraught environment, many of us have been struggling with how to talk with people whose views are different from our own.
Rumi’s famous mythical field, “out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,” calls us to do internal work, to lay down our attachment to views and beliefs, our “ideas, language, even the phrase each other,” and find “a place” where our soul can arise.
For this month’s practice, we invite you to ponder, where this “field” might be that Rumi describes. What shifts would it require within you to get to this field, even momentarily?
In addition to this internal work, we need opportunities and guidelines to help us navigate this territory. We can learn from those who have begun this pilgrimage, are a few steps ahead of us, or walking beside us. Our friends at On Being are continually offering ways and creating spaces for us to peacefully and productively engage in “better conversations.” Check out their Civil Conversations Project for free resources. Our Love | Forgiveness | Compassion Conversation Cards, a deck of 52 cards which offer prompt quotes, a question for discussion, and an action to take, are a popular resource for initiating conversations. These conversation starters are free to download, in English and Spanish, or order hard copies here. #100Days100Dinners, here in the US, wrapped up their initial effort at the end of April, but continue to provide resources “to create self-organized structures for community-building, individual and collective healing, and shared solutions, in the form of one of humankind’s most ancient—and deceptively simple—rituals.”
And, finally, we invite you to share how you are initiating and/or navigating these conversations. What are you learning? What resources, practices, people, or organizations have helped you find that “field”?