The Lab and The Field
In our courses we refer to the two environments in which realisation can occur.
The first is ‘the Lab’.
This is the world of spiritual books, webinars, courses, podcasts, videos and retreats. It is enquiry happening in the luxury of isolation. It is the allowing in of words, theories and ideas and the space of reflection in which they resonate or are rejected. All of it taking place as a relationship between theory and inner felt truth.
The Lab is dedicated study. It is simply the interaction between the words of a teacher and the conscious and subconscious mind. What is resonant? What is true?
It is enquiry for its own sake. It is exploration away from all the ups and downs, messiness, unpredictability and confrontations of life.
The second environment is ‘the Field’. This is where the insight, revelations and realisations of the Lab are actually put to the test.
Ram Dass said, ‘If you think you are so enlightened, go and have dinner with your family’.
Dinner with your family is the Field. So are bodies, illnesses, jobs, money, bills, schools, traffic jams, leaking pipes, social media, redundancies and promotions, circumstances, situations, deadlines, clients, plans, negotiations, rejections, fears, irritations, humiliations, desires and obligations…
So are the times when the Lab turns into the Field. When we get confronted by the behaviour of another on a course we are doing. When we are self-conscious speaking on a webinar or lost comparing ourselves to another. When pure enquiry turns into resistance and resentment.
The Field will eventually end any hint of ivory tower superiority or spiritual isolation. It puts the spotlight on where our new understanding of love, peace and freedom is obliterated by rejection, noisy neighbours and red tape.
The Field reveals hypocrisy. It shows where our ‘spiritual’ belief in no separation becomes a world of me versus them the instant we are challenged. The Field is real and confronting, messy and dirty and it is the only place ultimately of true revelation, of true healing.
It is not easy being in the Field. Far easier for the ego to try to hide away in the Lab, avoiding any of this mess and confrontation. And when we are pulled into the Field, when people in our lives demand more from us or criticise our behaviour or do the things that challenge our peace, we can build defences with lovely sounding words about a dream world, about no-self, no other…
But this is to miss all the gifts of the Field.
The Lab is vital of course. The Lab provides a context, an understanding and an increasingly expanding capacity. It gives words to what we know deeply within. It confirms that the sense that there is something beyond the struggle is correct.
Adyashanti said, “Many spiritual people are involved in a radical denial of what is happening. They want to transcend it, get rid of it, get out of it, get away from it. There's nothing wrong with that feeling, but the approach doesn't work because it's escapism in spiritual clothing."
In the midst of the Field ‘radical denial’ is impossible. Our fears, shame, insecurities and needs are reflected back as victims and villains everywhere we turn.
Without the Lab though the Field is just real life. It is just a world in which I am who I think I am and the world is what I think it is. These confrontations in the Field are not mirrors of believed separation they are just the world being against me.
The Lab is needed to understand what is going on in the Field.
Both are needed.
Lab for the Field to be seen for the series of healing opportunities it really is what it is and for the increased capacity to receive those gifts.
Field in which to fully heal and embody everything seen in the Lab.