“Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field.
I will meet you there.”
- Coleman Barks’ translation of Rumi
I sent this wonderful Rumi translation in a previous blog and someone wrote back with a fascinating question: “I love that,” she wrote, “and I agree, but what do I do when I get to the field? I want to go, but I don’t know what to do when I get there.”
I don’t pretend to be Rumi, but I have a guess. What I think we do is this: if we’re not worried about being right or changing another person’s mind, then there’s no reason for me to prove you’re wrong. So it doesn’t matter to me what you say; what matters is that you say it, and that I listen. That is the real objective in the field: Listening, Being Heard, Connection. Once you’ve found yourself in the field, your job is just to practice insatiable curiosity. If we’re only worried about connection, if that is our purpose — our objective — then we realize we do care for one another’s humanity, that we have something in common. It’s not about winning, therefore it’s not about losing, either; it’s about being. If I don’t intend to win, I’m not afraid of losing. If I’m not afraid of losing, then why not connect? Why not figure out what makes us similar, or at least what makes them, them? If we enter that field from that place of insatiable curiosity, and listen with hearts open, we’re bound to find ourselves with more meaningful relationships, with way less walls, and a great deal more compassion. Don’t you think?
Once you find yourself in the field out beyond the ideas of right and wrong,
your job is simply to listen.