Faith in Space. (Part 4)
We live in a society that emphasizes the surface.
Focusing on the apparent foreground of our lives, we become fairly oblivious and numb to the infinite background that is always present—the vast wilderness within the mind as well as the universe that gave us life and holds us moment after moment.
A collective lack of reverence and recognition of the ultimate reality behind the undulations of what is before us is an essential faux pas within modern culture.
There is much more to life than what meets the eyes and the ears and even further, the mental formations streaming through the mind. If this is the case, then there’s much more to happiness and contentment than fulfilling some preconceived notions stemming from a ceaseless desire.
This piece offers a cultural paradigm shift. Experience life, but first, make it a priority to deeply examine your inner self, diving below the waves to become the master of your inner realms.
Just Be the 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. [vii]
Out of nowhere, the Mind comes forth.
~ Zen koan
What if things happened naturally, out of nothing, out of nowhere, like the Big Bang, or a sudden creative impulse?
It’s a magical idea that’s not magical at all. Magic only appears that way to those of us who have remained out of touch with—and closed against—the internal, the external and the infinite field of possibilities lying between, underneath, above, all around, and tucked within unknown fields of dimensions. The ingredients for this new way are simple: space and awareness of space.
Albert Einstein was the first person to realize that empty space is not nothing. Space has amazing properties, many of which are just beginning to be understood. [viii]
In modern life, most of us are so obsessed with doing, that we lose touch with being. Everything becomes something to do, to think about, and our fluttered, flustered, time-consuming lives reflect this mechanization. When we lose touch with being, life becomes a fight and we’re forced to resist the natural flow. To be out of the flow—to be out of being—means living a life of resistance, attachment, reaction and judgment.
Everything becomes a plan or map that is drawn and redrawn to fit the mold of what we think is “right” or at least in our own self-interest. There’s a loss of authenticity and intimacy in a mode of living that negates being.
Sometimes living becomes too hectic and so we seek ways to dull ourselves through whatever we’re drawn towards, and of course, this leads to addiction. Because we cannot free ourselves, we rely on an external sources for a brief feeling of fabricated, inauthentic freedom.
Space is a frightening concept for us because it implies emptiness. We believe that emptiness is bad. It is undone, and it represents the unknown. When confronted by space we often fill it up with thoughts, preoccupations, schedules, emotions, drinks, fantasies, anything that we can imagine or physically get our hands on. If we imagine an empty house, we may begin to designate rooms, to label them the master bedroom, the kitchen, the entertainment room. Then we fill these rooms with various colorful objects, televisions, couches, chairs and lamps. We paint the walls and we turn on the lights. “Ah,” we say, “much better.” Using our creative mind to build a house isn’t a bad thing, but what is of interest here is the need, the compulsion to fill space.
Now change the metaphor of the house into the mind. Is there space in the mind, and if so, do we allow it to be as it is? Is there room for change, for ourselves? What about life? When there’s something “wrong,” or when we are down, do we allow space?
What if the answer to our problems comes from the emptiness we consciously step into? By this I mean, what if we allow what is, right here, right now, just to be as it is, no matter how uncomfortable?
In the West it has been taught that nothing comes from nothing, but in Zen Buddhism, everything comes from nothing. Emptiness is a blank canvas. When we let things—the sadness, the question, the moment—be, without knowing, then life paints itself.
Space is also a key ingredient when it comes to your mental health. If one is trying to cultivate wisdom and depth, he or she must be able to allow things to come. Sit with yourself and be still* Then move, and be motion.*
A monk asked, “What is the treasure in the bag?”
The Master replied, “Keep your mouth closed.” [ix]
Embody space. See what’s there. Listen to the sounds reverberating through inner silence. Put the phone down and just be. Put your thoughts—your small mind—down. Put this page down and just be here. What was that like? Creating space will bring peace of mind. It will give you a deeper understanding of life.
How? Find out for yourself. Focus on being for being’s sake.
Read the whole 5 Steps to Freedom series so far:
Editor: Brianna Bemel