I used to think that space was empty. That space was simply nothing, meant nothing. It was, in essence, the failure of existence. Though I did struggle to understand the concept. Trying to understand space and spaciousness is like trying to define infinity. How can anything go on forever? But the reverse is also mind-boggling. How can anything end? Like outer space for example. Let’s say for a minute you didn’t believe that outer space went on for infinity. Then at the point it ends, what sits at the end point? Is it not nothing? But what does nothing look like? Is it an empty space? Is there nothing in that space? But certainly, it is not nothing, if there is space. As the space between two people, there is a distance. The distance is something.
It’s a puzzle
The above, in short, is the neurotic mental meandering of a small child, namely this individual as a small child. And I have to be honest, the intellectual conundrum of a small child has certainly not been reconciled by the now adult child. I don’t have the answers. I certainly have more questions. And my ego had infinitely more ideas and rationales (?!) as I grapple to understand the question of space and, more broadly, the puzzle of life.
Buddhist teachings speak of spaciousness in the mind and creating this through the practice of non-attachment, of not grasping, of letting go. This practice is applied to mediation, on the mat, and also, off the mat, in an approach to life and it's unfolding. Sometimes I’d like to sit in my feminine energy more; to receive, allow, to let things unfold and essentially create space. Whereas just as I often attach to my thoughts, I attach to plans, outcomes and desires.
The universe is constantly gifting me more and more beautiful opportunities to experience the beauty of spaciousness. Years ago, at a Buddhist retreat, Sogyal Rinpoche spoke at length on spaciousness in the mind, how it was often misunderstood as nothingness, in the translation of the Sanskrit word the meaning was sometimes lost. But it is in spaciousness, in the seeming nothingness, that you truly find life. Being present to the beauty of life is about not being caught up in the appearance of mind, in the fear, projections, delusions. It is in a clearing of the mind, in an allowing of space. In the space there is the uninterrupted connection to the present moment, to simply being, to experiencing life.
An angelic friend of mine often speaks about holding space, she facilitates people on their healing journeys in doing this. She is incredibly beautiful in how she does this, she is simply present, listens intensely, holds compassion in her heart for others and wishes them love and serenity in their own heart. The more and more I am honest in, and with, myself, the more I am able to drop my masks and facades and be completely real and vulnerable. From this space, the most beautiful, honest and precious relationships are born. It is a constant internal struggle to drop the façade, to just be, not to do (all the time!). However, when I manage it, there is so much beauty and authentic connection, with myself, and others, to be found.
Patience, or lack thereof
Patience is not a strong point of mine, ok, no, that’s I lie, I’m seriously crap at it! To create space rather than jump or dive right in, feels at times like it goes against my DNA. The universe has now gifted me a series of situations in which to practice patience and creating space. This is awesome for a slow learner like myself ;-). Right now, I find myself in a position of exploring a beautiful connection with someone where the powerful forces of both distance and time are at play. Presented are lots of opportunities for miscommunication, frustration, and in my case, fear. But space also opens up boundless opportunities for honesty, vulnerability, rawness and a deeper connection. In a work context, I also find myself in another great situation to learn from. I have been specifically tasked with facilitating physical space with the desired outcome being to create a safe environment in which honesty, authenticity and full realness are expressed. The outcome of the exercise is to empower people to drop the pretence and to allow for the truth of the situation to be revealed. The ultimate outcome is for conscious, wise and intuitive decisions to be made in this cleared space. This is a beautiful endeavour and if, as a team, we succeed, undoubtedly the impact with be incredible.
Space is powerful
Space is not only beautiful but infinitely powerful. The pause, the space, between a thought and action, allows us to choose the right action, or no action at all, leading to a better outcome. How many hasty, overly-emotive, fear or anger-based, in-the-heat-of-the-moment, decisions heed beautiful results? I can’t speak for you but in my life, hmm, not so many.
Once, in a beautiful book, I read that spirituality is asking the questions, not having the answers. I also believe that this is where the fun is, trying to make sense of this magical world, and failing, and laughing and trying again and then constantly being in awe of the wonderful mystery and joy of this crazy adventure we call life.