HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE – Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) – May 27, 2018 – 12:00am
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. – Rumi
Let me ask you.
How many people have you blocked people on social media because of politics? I am not talking about trolls or people who are paid to give you a bad time. They do deserve to be blocked. I am talking of relatives, friends, acquaintances you may have been close to in varying degrees but are estranged from right now. We used to see them on our timelines and media feeds but not anymore since we do not want them there because of their views and they probably are avoiding us, too.
These are hard times. The divide caused by political differences is so deep and contentious it has spilled beyond mere politics. It is so deep some see it as a battle of conscience. It has gotten so bad that many have resorted to cutting off relationships with each other.
We sever relationships because of irreconcilable differences. Or sometimes we do so but only for a temporary period. We are hoping that things pass and differences play out until they end and we can get together again just like old times.
It is good to remind ourselves that we are certainly not all alike. We will always have differences. We are all made differently. It is to be expected. After all, even when there were only two brothers in the world, Cain killed Abel.
Now these are easy things to say. It sounds so wise and enlightened when we say them. But when bitter differences emerge as they are right now, we find it hard to respond with coolness and tolerance.
In the quote above, Rumi talks of that space between definitions of right and wrong, good and evil, and all other dichotomies where none of these matter. Is there such a place?
I remember finding myself acting as a sponsor at a wedding with a politician I actually despised. I think he knew where I stood with regards to politics. I was in the exact opposite place of everything he was and what he stood for. But there we were, smiles and all. We even shook hands.
I observed him while we made shallow conversation. He was polite and seemed completely indifferent to what he knew of me. I was equally polite. Perhaps we both avoided the elephant in the room so as not to cause unpleasantness.
I was also observing myself. Here I was engaging the “enemy” in niceties, while secretly laughing at the awkward situation. But at the same time I was trying to open myself to see what saving grace I could find in him.
He was charming. He was genuinely funny. And he was close to the groom whom I loved dearly. That gave me a few reasons to lower my guard and look him straight in the eye and see more of his concealed humanity. (At least to me, it was concealed.) In short I was opening myself to that space that Rumi was talking about.
That space that Rumi mentions is an innate ability within us that can see things without judgment, bias or color. But this ability has to be awakened and developed. It is that field where we can transcend transgressions or faults. It is where we stop judging and condemning. Zen masters will say it is the state of true seeing. It is not stuck in the past or obsessed with the future. It is seeing everything fresh and new in the NOW.
Writer Eckart Tolle likes to ask, “What can possibly be wrong with right now?” The Present only goes wrong when contamination from the past and future come in and destroy its freshness. In reality right now is all there is. The Present is ever new and full of potential, while the past is over and the future may not even happen.
This space is where humanity stops defining, dividing and cataloguing itself according to race, nationality color, economic status, religion, sexes, etc. It is a place where our commonalities, not our differences, come alive and celebrate.
Natural compassion springs forth when hurts and cruel histories are set aside.
But does this mean that we should forget injustices and everything that is wrong in the world and just focus on the now so we can all be happier? I don’t know. I do not have enough wisdom to answer that with confidence.
But let me try.
Yes, we all live in the phenomenal world. Our life in this world is full of pain and pleasure, evil and good, etc. But beyond that world is where reality really is. And that reality is where that Oneness we strive for is real and achievable.
But unless more than half of humanity has awakened to the real world, the phenomenal world will carry on doing as it does. Hopefully, there are enough people right now that can keep the slow incremental evolution going towards more tolerance and love. We may soon end up in a happier, kinder place — at least enough to make us all mend fences with each other.
Read more at https://www.philstar.com/lifestyle/sunday-life/2018/05/27/1818846/field-between-right-and-wrong#ehuFyQ3hUEwvI91F.99