The Grey Space We Fail to See...
Some people underestimate spirituality or see it as a trend, but as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Rumi explored that truth in his poems. We don’t just live in the spiritual realm, but we are the spiritual realm. To see beyond our physical bodies and realize our true essence has been our purpose since the beginning of time. Rumi wrote about it eight centuries before the extensive spread of spirituality.
Additionally, Rumi establishes a firm reality: black and white are man-made. We are familiar with the beautiful and the ugly, the good and the bad, the true and the false. However, below the surface of black and white, there is a gray space we fail to see—a space void of conflicts.
It is human nature to judge the situations that occur in life, and so we label things that we don’t like as “bad” and call the ones we do like “good.” Our dualistic mind sections off emotions, thoughts, and events—and we automatically follow it. This mental division is often the main reason behind our inner and outer conflicts. Then there is also the factor of acting like sheep. “The blind leading the blind.” When we don’t have or understand all of the information about something we have a tendency to blindly follow suit.
I have suffered extensively in my life from false labeling. In the past I have even been accused of labeling. All of this “labeling” and judgement is inevitable, and bound to happen if you allow yourself to be vulnerable. If you share your heart and put yourself out in the world in a BIG WAY, labeling and judgement is expected. It never gets easier, in fact it’s enough to make you want to shutdown. But, without friction there would be no fire. Without fire we would not be able to burn away the facade and get to the ashes… the grey matter. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
I have also witnessed the suffering of others, because people could not let go of labels. Rumi writes that beyond these labels, these distinctions, lies a serene place—this is where we should all meet each other. Rumi helps answer the questions that bewilder us today. He makes it easier for us to understand not just matters of the heart, but also the mind, and the soul.
Most of us know Rumi as a poet, but he is also a significant spiritual teacher. It difficult for me to choose just one Rumi poem as my favorite, but lately there is a specific poem that keeps returning and proves to be deeply resonating during these tumultuous times. I love, and connect with, this Rumi poem because of how he weaves together the idea that we must first let go of judgments before we can enter the spiritual realm and realize our “oneness.”
The poem is called “A Great Wagon,” and the middle verse—my favorite—is below:
“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 any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”
This verse highlights three pivotal ideas: the realization of the spiritual realm, and the exploration of non-judgment and oneness.
In this field, which is void of labels and judgments, there is absolute connectedness. As Rumi puts it, even the phrase “each other” won’t make any sense anymore when we realize our oneness with everything and everyone else. In our own minds, we think we are separate from others, from animals, from nature. The truth is, we all stem from one source of energy. You may call that energy by a different name, or label, but we all come from “ONE.” But, we can never truly realize this oneness without letting go of judgments first. Seeing every living being as part of us is a step toward gaining a higher realization that doesn’t know opposition.
Thanks to Rumi, whenever I find myself quick to judge or label, I take a moment to create space in my thoughts and remember to head to that field. In this space I can become one with everything and everyone. When we see the world as separate, we only limit our own potential.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there…
in gratitude and love,