The world is ruled by letting things take their course.
~ Lao Tzu.
What if things happened naturally, out of nothing, out of nowhere, like the Big Bang, or a sudden creative idea? What if making space and consciously being at ease in the space we inhabit, was an avenue for us to experience a deeper understanding? It is a magical idea that isn’t magic at all.
Space is the infinite background that allows all things—without discrimination—to be, to change, to thrive, to move, and to transform.
We often take space for granted. In western culture, space is the emptiness that produces nothing. Haven’t you heard the saying, “nothing comes from nothing?” In the modern world and the modern mind, space must be filled with objects, thoughts, statistics, and other various adornments. We think that we have to do something in order for things to happen. This belief, which lies at the core of our society, could not be farther from the natural truth—the truth that stretches back farther than modern human history, deep into the recesses of geological time and beyond.
By just being, remaining clear and unclouded, the world greets us on its own accord. Dropping doing, manipulation, stress, resistance, reaction, judgment—all the products that cloud space—and entering into conscious emptiness, we create the space necessary for growing, for sprouting. It’s that simple.
In present day life, most of us are so obsessed with doing, that we lose touch with being.
Everything becomes something to do and our fluttered, flustered, time-consuming lives reflect this robotic mechanization. When we lose touch with being, life becomes a fight and we are forced to resist the natural flow. And to be out of the flow, to be out of being, means living a life of resistance. These clouds keep us from knowing our inner depth, our true nature: the clear awareness known as the Self. We can reverse this trend by simply making more space throughout our cluttered day.
Looking around and seeing things as they are, without judgment or labeling, is a good practice. Placing ourselves in whatever is happening without clutching or without being somewhere else—just being right here, right now can lead to an opening. Even focusing on the space around objects, might blow down a barrier within.
Space is a frightening concept for the small mind because it implies emptiness.
We believe that emptiness is negative, dead or even a waste of time. It’s undone, it’s stale, and it represents the unknown wilderness beyond the confines of our mental maps. Nothing for the ego to grapple with implies ego’s demise. When confronted by space, the small mind often works to fill it up with thoughts, preoccupations, schedules, emotions, drinks, fantasies, anything that we can imagine or physically get our hands on.
If you imagine an empty house, you immediately begin to designate rooms, to label them and to fill each room: the master bedroom, the kitchen, the entertainment room, with various colorful objects, televisions, couches, and lamps. You paint the walls and you turn on the lights. “Ah,” you say, “much better.” Using the creative mind to build a house isn’t a bad thing, but what I find interesting here is the compulsion to fill space. It could be a good thing to look into what pushes us to fill space, to deny a natural and open emptiness. The answers in life might come from letting go and being open, here, in this life.
Changing the metaphor of the house into the mind: Is there space in the mind, and if so, do you allow it to be as it is? Is there room for change, for yourself? What about life? When there is something “wrong,” or when we’re down, do we allow space? Do we greet the moment as it is and allow it to settle? Not usually. What if the answer to our various problems comes from the emptiness we make instead of a forced and fundamentally reactive solution? By this I mean what if we allow what is, right here, right now, just to be? And, what if we practice creating space?
Rather than going after the answer, through space, the answer comes to us. This is radical for the western-based mind. Are we open to this? Nothing, space, emptiness is the hallmark of a blank canvas. When we let things, the sadness, the question, the moment, be, without knowing, the answer or some course of action often appears out of thin air. If we are open and spacious, putting down our prescribed likes and dislikes, then the naturalness, the “thusness” of the answer becomes apparent.
Within space and emptiness, resides a deeper Self: one that is beyond the confines of the striving ego.
Accessing this inner realm brings out the fruits of presence and intimacy and yet, your potential realization of this inner Self is the reason why the small mind incessantly runs day after day. It’s trying to stay alive, trying to stay useful and relevant to you. It needs to project the next thing for you to focus on and it needs you to buy into it completely. It’s the cyclical nature of the small mind, keeping us on a treadmill for life. When I look at this cycle and examine my own rushing mind, I see how I reach and grasp because my little self, the small mind, is afraid of stepping into empty, wide-open space.
I think about that “empty” space a lot. That emptiness is what allows for something to actually evolve in a natural way. I’ve had to learn that over the years—because one of the traps of being an artist is to always want to be creating, always wanting to produce.
~ Meredith Monk
It could be a wonderful thing to allow space whenever possible. Let space come in and expand. Creating space will bring peace of mind and it will give you a deeper understanding of life. Focus on being for being’s sake, for the sake of your life and the lives of others with whom you come into contact. What else is there to do?
Editor: Lynn Hasselberger