Reading Time: 2 minutes

Have you ever wondered what it is about certain conversations that make them so difficult to have? Even when a skilled negotiator is present there are some situations that just seem unworkable.

What if I told you that part of the answer is actually tattooed on Brad Pitt’s bicep. It’s an excerpt taken from the poetry of 12th century Sufi mystic, Jalal al-din Muhammad Rumi. Roughly translated from it’s original Persian it means, “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I will meet you there.”

The quote urges those caught in confrontation to see that their idea of ‘right and wrong’ stems from a single perspective, from a lone story in a sea of countless others being told. The greatest challenge in polarized conversations may just be the ability to recognize one’s own attachment to stories of the past.

Positions that are viewed as the best and often only acceptable outcome for the future are rooted in these stories, as well as the stories about who the person at the other end of the table is. If the conversation is solely about who is ‘right’, then the distance between each side will only grow.

For those at odds with each other stepping into Rumi’s field is not an easy feat and once there, resolution is not a sure-fire thing. It is a journey through that must be revisited time and again, rather than a fixed destination.

In Rumi’s field the choice is to instead share stories for understanding rather than to establish who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

Through dialogue, not debate, exploration of each party’s interests makes a resolution possible.

This results not from compromise, not from “meeting in the middle”, but instead by co-creating a future in which both sides occupy a position that sees their needs met.

For more information about this topic please contact us at:
[email protected]