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There is a quote by the mystic poet Rumi that goes, “Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field: I’ll meet you there.”

I am interested in that field. I am interested in the freedom of that open space. I want to breathe that oxygen. In it there is no fear or shame or guilt or the word “should.” It simply opens its spaciousness to us. Calls forth the possibility of what we can create there.

What do you create? I don’t mean the nouns of your life. I create books, for instance. Those are my “nouns.” But behind that, I create the intention to live at the intersection of heart and mind and craft that is writing. It’s the intention behind our thoughts and behavior and achievements which guides us.

What is your intention? Is your intention to be happy? As much as we are quick to say, “Of course I want to be happy,” I find that we tend to cling to our pain. That we dwell in the victim stance. And that we are daunted by Rumi’s field of freedom. Suffering becomes, in so many cases, our normal.

I propose a different paradigm. And it has to do with the present moment. How do we go out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing and should, and open our arms and hearts and souls to that wide open place of freedom? What gets in our way?

Usually, it’s one thing. Us. We get in our own way. We block the flow of freedom which is so available to us. We say no instead of yes. Why? Because we’re scared. We have blind-spots. We can’t believe in our own power. We’d rather stay small and afraid because…because…why?

Broken down like this, it’s hard to see the answer, isn’t it. I think it has to do with the pay off for saying no. “See the world has done us wrong. See what happens when I try? I just get shot down. See-see-see.” We choose our world of hurt and call it home so that we can play victim. So that we can be “right.”

Outside of right doing and wrong doing, what’s there? The present moment. What is it to live in the present moment? We hear about it all the time, whether in church, or yoga practice, or athletics, or a meditative walk in the woods…but what is it like to commit to exiling those thoughts about past and future which take us out of our present moment– moment by moment, no matter what it is that we’re doing?

For me, it begs the question: what can I create? I can create my moment with the intention of bondage. Victimhood. Misery. Or I can create my moment with the intention to be free. To run wild or just wander around quietly in Rumi’s field. To be exactly who you are. And to have it be easy.

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Laura Munson is the author of the New York Times and international bestselling memoir This Is Not The Story You Think It Is:  A Season of Unlikely Happiness (Amy Einhorn/Putnam 2010) which Book of the Month Club named one of the best books of the year. It has been published in nine countries and has been featured in Vanity Fair, Elle, Redbook, Time, Newsweek, Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and many other newspapers, magazines, and online venues across the globe.

Laura speaks and teaches on the subjects of empowerment, personal responsibility, and emotional freedom at conventions, universities and schools, writing retreats/workshops, and wellness centers. Her work has been published in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, O. Magazine, The Week, Huffington Post, Redbook, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, More Magazine, The Sun, The Shambhala Sun, Big Sky Journal and others. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Early Show, WGN, many NPR stations, Hay House radio, as well as other media including London’s This Morning and Australia’s Sunrise.

She lives in Montana with her family and horses.


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Laura, Your ideas struck a chord. Thank you. I hope you don’t mind. I posted a quote from this essay on F.B. with full attribution, of course.

  2. Laura,
    I know that I’m only preaching to the already converted, but your post mades me think of Gurdjieff who you certainly know.

    A man will renounce any pleasures you like but he will not give up his suffering.” G.I. Gurdjieff

    “Awakening is possible only for those who seek it and want it, for those who are ready to struggle with themselves and work on themselves for a very long time and very persistently in order to attain it.” G.I. Gurdjieff

    “There is a cosmic law which says that every satisfaction must be paid for with a dissatisfaction.” G.I. Gurdjieff

    “Man has no individual i. But there are, instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small “i”s, very often entirely unknown to one another, never coming into contact, or, on the contrary, hostile to each other, mutually exclusive and incompatible. Each minute, each moment, man is saying or thinking, “i”. And each time his i is different. just now it was a thought, now it is a desire, now a sensation, now another thought, and so on, endlessly. Man is a plurality. Man’s name is legion.” G.I. Gurdjieff

    Thanks for bringing your writing to my attention. It’s on my list.

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