Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there
Rumi was addressing what the philosophers call the “faculty of judgment”, that human ability to carve the world up into categories so that he can have the illusion of controlling it. And, I think Rumi knew this cognitive apparatus was an essential part of being a human and actually allowed him to create his world. But Rumi saw that it was necessary to not be confined by this conceptual prison and had learned that it was possible to occasionally lay aside this whirligig and meet someone out “there.”
To approach the matter clinically, Rumi was speaking of “object-separateness.” He saw that the whole of the world, and especially other humans, lay beyond the grasp of our thoughts about them. He knew that we tend to “live in the small bright circle of our consciousness beyond which lies the darkness,” the “darkness” being a boundary that we must venture into if we are to ever go “out there” and meet someone. And this is essentially a spiritual enterprise.
In this brief poem, Rumi addressed one particular bifurcation of the world that we are familiar with, that compulsive need to label some people “right” and some people “wrong.” (And, what a coincidence that I so often happen to fall into the “right” category????) Certainly, “right” and “wrong” are valid labels in this world and Rumi knew that. What he was saying is that we don’t need to wield the distinction like a weapon and can, on occasion, give it a rest, perhaps offering someone who we first want to label ‘wrong” a little bit of grace. The best example I can think Jesus offering forgiveness to the Samaritan woman at the well when he was legally required to condemn her and stone her to death.
Rumi knew there was a karmic law that is written in the universe—when one has a compulsive need to be right, he will create wrong.