(This is an edited version of an essay I wrote in late 2002, in response to discussion among friends of mine on a spiritual discussion forum of the recent terrorist attack in Bali.)
As I watch events unfolding in the world around me I am so grateful for a metaphor given by my non-physical friend and mentor, Tobias, in the first lesson of his excellent Creator Series, channeled through Geoffrey Hoppe of the Crimson Circle. That lesson is entitled Accept All Things As They Are.
Tobias asked us to imagine our own home in consciousness, and to imagine it surrounded by a short wall. Not a protective barrier to keep things out, but a clear boundary that is easily stepped over. Now, he said, whenever we find ourselves facing a situation that has engaged our emotions or that we want to control the outcome of, instead of getting involved right away we should first metaphorically step behind that short wall and simply observe, without judgment or evaluation. In that detached observation we will come to understand the dynamics of the entire situation much better, and in our neutral observation we add potentials that can change the situation more profoundly than anything we could ever do by getting involved or by trying to force a change. And, he said, we’ll begin to see the beauty and perfection of the incredible tapestry that is being woven by all of life.
For me, that metaphor has come to be of incredible value in my everyday life. Tobias spoke of the short wall encircling our own home in consciousness, and I have come to see it also as encircling a place that is beyond duality. Now when I step behind the short wall I am stepping outside of duality into a place where I can see and embrace all sides of an issue. This is the field that Rumi wrote of:
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.
Now as I watch the dramas unfold around me, from behind the short wall I see more and more of the beauty and perfection of all of it. And although there is a place in me that yearns for peace as much as anyone else, I find that today I can no more take part in a peace rally than in the war itself. I have come, finally, to understand that peace, and even love as we have known it in the past, is just as much an agenda as is the war, and it keeps us just as much in the drama of duality as war and fear does.
To be free of any agenda, or any desired outcome, is to step into Rumi’s field. It is to step into Heaven itself, and the more I allow myself to be in that place the more I discover the magic and the power that reside there.
My friends, the New Earth is HERE NOW. Peace is HERE NOW, and we can step into it anytime we choose simply by laying down our ideas of what it should look like. Surely the bombs will continue to explode and the drama will continue to play out in the old earth, but as we lay down our judgments and our agendas, even our agendas for peace and love, we step out of the old and into the new. In that step we discover a whole new kind of peace and love, and we open the pathways that the rest of the world will follow when they are ready.
For me it is often very difficult to withdraw from the battle, to release my desire for peace and my ideas of what the president, or Congress, or the rest of the world, or even the people around me, should do. It is even more difficult to release my ideas about what my own life should look like, what my body should look and feel like, and how much money I should have. But the more I do the more I come to see that ultimately EVERYTHING, including the bombs, including the excess weight or the other problems my body may have, including not having as much money as I want or the relationship I want, EVERYTHING is an expression of God. And the more I see that, the more I am able to step behind the short wall and simply observe the incredible beauty of the tapestry that we are all weaving together.
For me, standing behind the short wall does not mean that I don’t care about what is happening, or that I don’t feel the pain of it. Rather, it means that I see all of what is happening, that I care deeply and profoundly, and that I allow all of the pain, or whatever the experience may be, to simply wash through me. Behind the short wall I do not judge the pain, fight it, or try to cure it. I do not evaluate what is happening or label it, but simply experience it. From behind the short wall I refuse to say that peace is better than war or even that love is better than fear, and although it may turn my stomach, I refuse to call it a tragedy when people are blown to bits in the street.
For me, standing behind the short wall means seeing through the eyes of God, and that means seeing that everything, EVERYTHING, including the bombs and the people who use them, is actually an expression of God, and therefore of love. It still hurts, often very deeply, because so often on this side of the veil I cannot understand how these events could be an expression of love. But the more time I spend behind the short wall, and the more I simply accept that they are, somehow, an expression of love, the more I come to understand, and to see and feel, the beauty of the tapestry and the perfection and awesome wonder of all that transpires.
In this lifetime I do not yet know the pain of losing someone who is close and dear to me. But I do know the experience of deep and profound pain and grief. As an American I felt the pain and grief of 9/11, and I will never forget the feelings I felt when I turned on the radio that morning. But I was on my way to Mt. Shasta and a weeklong conference with Steve Rother that began that evening, and together we all stepped behind the short wall for the duration of the conference. That was one of the most profound weeks of my life, and I had the deep sense that because we refused to judge what was happening, our small group had become a powerful stabilizing force on the planet.
A few years ago, before I ever heard of Tobias or the short wall, I found myself deeply and intensely in love with a young woman. Over the past year we had become close friends and had begun to date romantically, but she was reluctant to get too involved with me. As I looked at the situation I could see that she was right. She was much younger than I and had different goals in life, and I could see that a romantic relationship with me would be a serious limit for her. So in spite of feelings more deep and more intense than I had ever felt before, I encouraged her to follow her own heart. And when her heart called her into the arms of another man, I learned what heartbreak feels like. I felt as though someone had ripped open my chest and pulled out my heart, and left it lying raw and exposed to the harsh and cold elements of life.
Then I found that I had no place to put the pain. I wanted desperately to blame her, or him, or someone. But I couldn’t, because I knew that she was following her own heart’s path, and that was what I wanted for her more than anything else. So I just sat with the pain and cried, a lot. And then for a brief moment I saw a vision of my heart. In the vision I saw that my heart was trying to expand, but it was encased in an old and dry layer of skin that was cracking and breaking as my heart expanded. So that’s what heartbreak is really about, I realized, and in that moment I saw that I had a choice: I could try to sew up the old skin and stop my heart from expanding, which would really only prolong the pain and is what I would be doing if I were to blame her for it, or I could just sit with the pain and allow the old skin to fall away and my heart to expand.
That vision changed my relationship with pain forever, because I saw that what I wanted more than anything was for my heart to expand, and I was willing to face any pain necessary for that to happen. I chose to allow the pain, and although I felt raw in my chest for days afterward, I discovered something I never expected. The very next day I gathered in a prayer circle with friends, and as we joined hands everything suddenly changed. I can’t describe the change, except to say that suddenly everything looked and felt different, more vibrant and alive, and in that moment I knew that for me, Heaven had just come to Earth. It was an incredible moment that changed my life forever, and it happened as a direct result of my choice to allow the pain without judgment or evaluation.
Today that woman is still a dear friend. I still have deep feelings for her, but they are different and they are appropriate to the friendship that we share. Now I can be a true friend, and truly honor her path without any reservation and without any need for her to be anything other than who she truly is. And what else I have noticed is that whenever I choose to allow the pain of any situation, whether emotional or physical, to simply wash through me without evaluation, and without placing blame for it anywhere or trying to fix it, it gets over with so much faster and it hurts so much less.
It is easy to see the short wall that Tobias spoke of as just another tool, as just another thing we “should” do. But it is oh so very much more than that. Behind the short wall is Heaven itself. Behind the short wall is a place that is beautiful and magical beyond words, a place where you truly have the power to change your world. It isn’t that anything outside of you will change or that the bombs will stop exploding. But behind the short wall your perception changes, and that changes EVERYTHING.
Dear friends, I write this from my heart and from my own direct experience, for I have tasted of this place. I am not there all of the time, but I have been there enough to know that it is truly an incredible place. Behind the short wall is where you find the field that Rumi spoke of. Behind the short wall duality does not exist, and from there you can see that light and dark and good and evil are all aspects of the very same energy.
Behind the short wall is where your own Divinity lives. Behind the short wall is where you find your own true power, and for those of us who have stepped into the new energy it is the only place where we have any power at all. But it is a different kind of power; it is a power that changes us on the inside, and only then does the outer world begin to reflect that change.