Rumi’s Field

John D. Mudie, Ph.D.,

Rumi’s Poem

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing,
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.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”

Getting to Rumi’s Field.

Yes, Dorothy, you and I can get to that Land of Oz, Rumi’s Field, if we want to by activating our Ventral Branch of our Parasympathetic Nervous System. This is part of our Autonomic Nervous System which, behind the scenes, quietly and automatically runs our bodies. Dorothy, please, don’t be frightened by those big technical scientific words. All we must do is to take some action regularly to make this happen. In this webpage on serenity, there is a description of a way of doing slow deep breathing which can get us there. However, sigh Dorothy, we must spend at least fifteen minutes a day doing it and it takes about a month before it starts working.

How does it work?

In Deb Dana’s book, she describes the properties of three branches of our Autonomic System.

When our Ventral Vagal Branch of our Parasympathetic Nervous System is active, we can get into a place of peace and calm, feel little fear, and want to connect and care for others.

My guess is that’s the mood state that Rumi was talking about when he wrote that poem.

Could you agree?

Unfortunately, Stephen Porges and Deb Dana weren’t there to introduce him to Polyvagal Theory.


Dana, Deb, 2022, Anchored, Sound True, Boulder, CO
Porges , S, 2011, The Polyvagal Theory, Norton, New York, N.Y


The author thanks Mary L. for reminding him of our joint appreciation of Rumi and Joyce W for motivating me to work on it.

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