A verse I have heard Reverend Budd recite more than once, and to which I return often, is this:
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 Essential Rumi, Translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne (Harper Collins, 2004)
There is something so enticing about the notion of a place where we can leave our separateness behind; where we can stop our quarreling and just be. Where we can realize the unity of all beings and share in that sacred energy. Where our commonality trumps our differences into silence.
And yet there is something frightening about it, too. Something so frightening about letting go of our well-rehearsed scripts and predictable dialogues. To leave what we know, imperfect as it is, and go into that field. Going into that field requires trust. Going into that field means taking a leap of faith that the other will show up and meet you there. It means dropping the armor that is your "ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing." Being naked. Defenseless. For what are we without our ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing?
What would happen if we left our arguments at the door and went into that field with just our souls? If we saw only other souls, without the identification of their ideas? Would we recognize them without their labels? Would we be able to discard our memory of what those labels were? Would we see that we are all the same, really; all part of the same whole? All just trying to do our best, to make a life that means something?
This is what I thought about as I watched the debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama last night. And I wondered what would happen if they went into that field.