Monday, October 28, 2013

The Spaces in Between

space, spirituality, photography, awakening, enlightenment
The spaces in between moments are where we often find some of the greatest riches of life. Life is naturally spacious, and it's the space that helps to give meaning to definition. Consider if I wrote with no spaces between words, and consider also if there was no separation from the letters and each other. It would be an unintelligible black mass of stuff on this page that you could do nothing with. Then perhaps, maybe you notice how I use spaces in between paragraphs to give you a rest.

A pause.

Then I go on to the next sentence, which is also given space by the period. This punctuation is more than a metaphor though; it can be an allegory for your life. How do you learn to find space in between moments, between breaths? Or do you just rush on and on. Even in awakening, it is easy to feel swept away by energetic movements and major realizations. Can you breathe in here and find the space between the moments of action and energetic shift? In so doing, we come to rest more deeply in awakened awareness.

That Which Is Is Always Here


In so many ways, action, thought, feeling, and sensation cover up the truth of what is already here. When we find that space to pause and to observe from a neutral place, we begin to see what is. It is easy to get lost in this world these days, as the world is very externally focused. That Which Is is not ignorant of the demands of the world, however. From that deeper place of being, you are actually able to get a better vantage point about yourself, what is moving in your life and the world around you, and what is truly important. It clarifies, not obscures. High state experiences that many of you have felt are not inherently connective places; they can be, but oftentimes, they can be ungrounded and avoidant of other feelings. This is typically true when external substances like LSD and marijuana are used. Rarely does someone completely in love ever want external substances. Such things are actually very low in vibration compared to the awakened state, and as such, they don't really feel very good. Their "highs" start to be revealed as a new kind of low.

Breathing Into the Moment

I am constantly talking to my students about breathing. It seems silly and simple, but it is actually quite profound. Through conscious breathing, we come more fully into the moment. We can relax. Our breathe, blood circulation, and energetic flow can align and move properly. No one can think straight if they can't breathe right. You are already in a state of deprivation, if you brain isn't supported by oxygen and blood appropriately. Quite simply, your thinking doesn't function properly. This is, in part, why so many big spiritual realizations and revelations arise when someone is completely relaxed and not thinking about a particular idea, problem, or something else. Your system when in alignment naturally arises things.

Yes. It is that simple.

With the breath, we also can find more space in between. In relaxing into our breathing, we find that we don't need to inhale or exhale as frequently. We can make some gentle (and I repeat, GENTLE) space before the start of an inhalation and before the start of an exhalation. A deeper relaxation and awareness starts to come forward as the "doing" involved with breathing is also seen to be temporary. Something that we consider to be a constant is actually intermittent. So what happens here if you relax? What else comes up for you? Play with this space gently (The idea is not to start holding your breath). You may be surprised at how much room there is to sit in the fullness of an inhale or the emptiness of a full exhale.

The Spaces Between Relationships

Oftentimes, awakening and other spiritual shifts bring about the close of different relationships--friendships, romances, and working situations. In these moments, it is often important to pause in this space in between before running to fill in that place in your life. In this way, we can complete any karmas and issues that were part of those relationships as well as identify other concerns before potentially getting lost and wrapped up in new relationships. This is how you can embrace karmic relationships, which comprise 99% of most human relationships (I'm use the term karmic in the sense that you have life lessons to learn from each other and in the sense that you are usually doing this unconsciously). Since relationships offer great learning experiences, the space in between relationships allows you to integrate what you've learned, and in difficult situations, it allows you to grieve and to let go fully so that you have space for something new.

Something New Arises in Spaciousness

The awakened state is a naturally spacious state. It doesn't need definition. Definition, by its nature, creates confines and distinctions that may or may not serve a purpose. For most of you, your definitions are unconscious and were taught to you by your families, your experiences, and social learning. This is why I always encourage people to look at their definitions to understand the lens through which they're seeing the world. Is this lens helping you live in spaciousness and love? Or is it limiting your expression and your ideas about what is possible? Truly, this life is vast. Everything is possible, but to the unconscious ego, all it can see are walls--walls of its own making.

One of the things I often talk about with my students is that as they move into greater spaciousness, it can be unsettling. If you suddenly have no walls around you and can go in any direction, the old ego may wonder what to do. Where is there to go when you can go anywhere? How do I choose? Initially, the point is to not choose and to sit in spaciousness. Because spaciousness is consciousness is love is energy is God is you and me. It is inherently intelligent, so things naturally want to arise like I mentioned earlier with realizations. It seems like magic to the old ego, but it is not. Is it magic that a seed sprouts, that it puts up a shoot, that it puts out leaves? No. It is the plant's way of honoring the natural intelligence and arising as it moves into and with spaciousness.

Cultivating a Spacious Practice

Even in meditation, people notice that they have no space. It seems to all be a stream of never-ending thoughts. This is precisely why we meditate. We practice letting go (which as those of you who regularly read this blog know is the essence of embracing the awakened state). In letting go of thoughts, we notice what is left. What is left is spaciousness and consciousness. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, without spaciousness, it all becomes unusable white noise. It is like if we played five symphonies, four rock concerts, and the sounds of a jet engine together. Without any space between all of that, you'd have no idea of what you were listening to, and you'd be quite overwhelmed. This, in fact, is part of what is going on in the world today.

So if you need basic ideas about how to cultivate spaciousness, turn off your radio, computer, TV, music player, and whatever else is blasting noise into your heads. This almost immediately brings up things for people. That noise was usually being used to cover up the noise in the mind. This makes it easier for you to go into meditation and breathwork to make space between thoughts. And really, you're not making anything happen as much as you are giving yourself space to relax. A tense mind likes to chatter. The more relaxed you are, the more the mind likes to follow suit. It can also be a good excuse for a real vacation--not one where you have an itinerary more busy than your regular work schedule, by the way.

Relaxing More Deeply Into Spaciousness

For those of you who are familiar with all of this, I encourage you to see where else in your life you can find more space in between things. Perhaps it is in how you respond within an active conversation. Perhaps it is how you move you attention from one work project to another work project. See where you can find just one more moment of space and take one extra breath before doing the next thing. In this way, you naturally relax even more deeply into yourselves, and you may suddenly realize that this spaciousness you are feeling is always with you and always has been.
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