In an article for the, Dennis Merritt Jones (Your (Re)Defining Moments) uses this quotation from Rumi: "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there." The insightful Sufi poet has identified the source of so much pain, separation, and hatred in the world: the "us" versus "them" mentality that can lead to wars and skirmishes of all types.

Jones points out that this dualistic perspective lies behind the political deadlock in Washington, D.C., not just recently but for many years. He notes that our political leaders have fallen into the "I'm right, you're wrong" blame game which inhibits compromise and collaboration; the result is gridlock.

Jones does not eschew differences or diversity; he sees them as essential to our democracy. But it is necessary to see "the big picture" of what we have in common. In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle wrote: "You cannot have an argument with a fully conscious person." Or as Jones puts it: "It requires two or more people to have an argument about who is right and who is wrong and if you are fully conscious you can choose not to be one of them."

I remember the heated arguments my father and his brothers used to have over politics. They would sit in chairs with beer mugs in hand and spend an entire Sunday afternoon shouting slams and slurs on each other in the defense of their "side" of the political spectrum. By the time they left, they were all drained and more angry than before they arrived since they had not changed anyone's mind.

Jones poses a poignant question:

"Can you imagine how it would feel to go to bed tonight knowing that this day you transcended the need to judge others or yourself as being right or wrong? It begins with making a choice to stay conscious and be present in the moment. The payoff is immeasurable. As increasingly more people choose to consciously and proactively engage with one another, creating a safe space to respectfully agree to disagree, we'll discover there really is a field beyond 'us vs. them' where compromise, peace and understanding awaits us all."

Then true civility will rise again.

Next Post: Patience & Courtesy & Airplane Travel