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Outside, beyond what is right and what is wrong, there is a huge field.

We will meet there.

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-73)

Where is this huge field beyond what is right and what is wrong that Rumi speaks of?

At first I thought it might be the gray area in between right and wrong; where things are not black nor white.

But I don’t think this is where Rumi is talking about.  I believe he has chosen his words carefully; he said beyond.

Outside, beyond.

What is outside beyond what is right and what is wrong?

*     *     *     *     *

Imagine being faced with a situation.  We might initially consider ourselves in the space before what is right and what is wrong.  As we assess and analyze, we move into the space of what is right and what is wrong.

That’s right.
That’s wrong.
She’s right.
He’s wrong.
I’m right.
You’re wrong …

But there is another space — a huge field, says Rumi — beyond what is right and what is wrong; the space where, even though we can discern right and wrong, we don’t, we’re beyond that; the space where we see things simply as they are…

The space where there is no judging.

*     *     *     *     *

Entering into this space requires us to check our baggage.

“Our baggage?”  you say?

Yes, so to speak; entering into this huge field of no judgment requires us to leave behind our worldview, our assumptions, our biases, our values … all those things that enable and facilitate judging.

Imagine witnessing two men walking hand in hand, occasionally kissing.  I suspect I have just activated your judgment.  You may be okay with this.  You may not.  Both are judgments, based on your worldview/assumptions/biases/values.  You are in the land of what is right and what is wrong.

If, when seeing the two men, you were in Rumi’s huge field, you would simply see two men, walking hand in hand, occasionally kissing.  As if you were a video camera, capturing the action.

The video camera is outside, beyond.  No judgment.

That was just one situation.  There are, of course, many, many others, public and private.  For starters:  Enron.  Columbine.  Bernie Madoff.  Bin Laden.  Newtown.

Seeing these from the land of what is right and what is wrong, we see greed; evil; greed; evil; evil …

And from Rumi’s huge field outside, beyond what is right and what is wrong, what do you see?

No judgment is hard isn’t it?

It is not natural.  We must move outside, beyond.  Without our baggage.

*     *     *     *     *

Moving into that field beyond right and wrong is an essential skill for me in my work.

To be honest, though, I am not always able to get there.

But when I am able to get there I am so much more effective!  When dealing with people issues and process issues and performance issues, if I can get myself into that no judgment field I have a significantly increased chance of understanding what is really happening and seeing what is fundamentally driving behaviors and performance.

From outside, beyond, I have a much better chance of seeing real cause and effect.

And affect real change.