Updated: Sep 24, 2021
“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
Who is to blame when I am outside?
When I find myself outside the Field, I am learning that I must take responsibility for being outside. Others can not keep me out of it and I can't expect the field to change its entrance fee. I have to change. And I find myself on the outside more often than I like.
I keep on looking for compromise solutions that will not require laying down my interests, my dreams, my needs, my hopes, my way ... my life. And I tried it again yesterday. I tried to sneak in to the Field with a fake ID but it didn't work.
Like going for vaccinations this week. If you are not over sixty, and registered or under sixty but registered as a healthworker, there is just no way you get in. The system reads your ID number, picks up that you are too young and you are toast. Forget about bribing the official with a nice smile and a friendly "hallo Dear".
I used to stumble on the Treasure from time to time when I was desperate to reach something more than me ... often when I was desperately in love with something or desperately in need of something. I have learnt through many such experiences that the Field is the place where I want to live and I will give everything to stay there.
When I am in the field, I am an expression of the Unseen, of Love. The life I live when in the field makes Love visible, manifests the Unseen, incarnates God on an ongoing basis. I think that being in the field is what Br. Lawrence called "Practicing the presence of God", or to use the evangelist's term, "to be saved", to be "in heaven".
I see Jesus as my life-coach or as others would call him, my "Guru". I am learning how he and other spiritual masters entered the Field and remain there. Jesus both lived there and showed us the way to it. He came to show us the path to the field and then he died to show us that we can remain in that Field till the end. Nothing can separate us from that Field - not even death.
The path to the Field is difficult, that is why Jesus in his lifetime "offered up prayers and supplications with vehement tears and cries". And why, "though he was a son, he had to learn obedience through the things he suffered". (Hebr 12)
Entering and staying in the Field involves things like vehement cries, tears, suffering, learning, sweating blood, being forsaken and alone, not being understood, not being listened to, being rejected and betrayed by the very person you gave everything to save. It is no picnic.
His prayers were heard but he still died?? Jesus offered up those prayers and supplications to "Him who could save him from death and he was heard because of his Godly fear". (Hebr. 12 again) His answered prayer did not have the outcome we expected. His cries and tears could not have been aimed at saving his earthly life. There was something else that was motivating him. He was motivated by "the joy held before him". We don't think like him, so we think the joy refers to a long life, no suffering, going to heaven, being fulfilled. He knew something we are learning.
He did not cry out to be saved from the cross, he cried out to be saved from giving up on the journey.
For me one of his most poignant statements came just when he got up to go to Getshemane: "Now my soul is troubled within me, but what shall I say? Father save me from this hour? For this purpose I have come to this hour." Nothing was about him, everything was about the purpose. The purpose was neither to appease an angry God, or to be the lightning rod for God's vengeance to save humans.
The purpose was to showcase the Field, to break open the path to the Field and to show all who would be interested to see that one can actually live in the Field in spite of the most severe circumstances ... like death on a cross.
Everyone who sees it, everyone who accepts it as the truth and starts to walk on the path, is "saved" by it. We are saved from our independence, from our own bondage to self, from our own ego. We are not "saved" to go anywhere. We are saved from self. And that takes a lifetime and maybe beyond.
This is no picnic and therefore the exhortation in the letter to the Hebrews who were at that time in severe persecution, sounds something like this: "Consider him who have endured such violence against his person and who, for the joy held before him, endured the cross, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls ... for you have not resisted yet unto bloodshed, striving against the overpowering urge to rather save your own life and get off this path ... Therefore strengthen your hands that have slowly slipped into a defensive position, raise them again in worship, make yourself vulnerable ... again ... Strengthen your knees that became wobbly through fear of losing your life and get back on to the path of surrender.
You have strayed on to the path of self preservation and it is unstable, dangerous. It looks safe but looks can be deceiving. Rather trust your Father than try to save your own life. You do have that lame leg, remember, so you will always be tempted to protect the leg. Just get back onto the stable path so that what is lame will not be dislocated but rather be healed." (My paraphrase)
I have strayed from the path yesterday and landed up with a dislocated hip in the ditch of self pity and scapegoating and anger and fear. In the night I realised that I just missed a turn. The path I was on yesterday will never get me to the place I want to go.
I left the Field and found it ... again.