Science has discovered that we are more space than solid matter, or more so, that matter is made up of predominantly empty space. Yet, more often we feel solid, heavy and sometimes laborious from a fragmented existence — living in many spaces at the one time: home, school, work, errands, transport, past, present and future (read more here on The Conversation about how we are mostly space despite the fact that we feel solid ). When your physical world suddenly becomes smaller, and the speed at which you experience time slows down, what do you observe about yourself? Are you still solid, heavy and fragmented? Are you labouring and pounding at the paved rat race? Or have you discovered something quite magnificent about how it feels to live within the space of ‘you’?
Since the 2019/2020 Australian fires held Australia in agitated captivity from smoke and fires, and since Covid-19 has shrunk the borders of our existence to our homes, nearby streets and a shop or two, I have discovered a delightful sense of space within myself on a daily basis (not just in meditation, or yoga or some other spiritual practice). And it’s the best fucking thing I have come to know in a long time. Turns out, this sense of space is far from the recipe I had made up myself to be.
I had often surmised I was at least 3 cups of emotion and undoubtedly 2 cups of densely packed thought. Throughout the years I have kneaded my body as if it were a pound of dough so it became rigid and dry from too much handling. My grandmother always warned about too much handling— it pushes out all the air (and one can’t breathe).
The process of life has been repetitious; my mind would rush in through a sieve of discernment separating the dense, false friction of thought from light-filled inspiration. But the sieve was periodically congested and blocked and discernment became sodden.
It’s so easy to confine, resign or label yourself as made up of only certain elements. We give so much weight to thought and action. Thought is often noisy, if not troubled. Action becomes the means by which we judge ourselves and others. Thought fires off again and again and again and again, and then again and again and again and again, releasing thought-form from your body into the world. Action and judgement become entwined, creamed together like the sugar and butter of life as if without action, we are nothing. We forget to be still and allow ourselves to rise.
Emotion steps in at almost every point, colouring the thought-form from dark to light like a technicoloured light show. Whether you choose to acknowledge emotion is another story, but emotions are there, regardless. All of these ingredients impact your physical body; the bread of life. The process could have continued in this manner, each of us becoming more rigid, dry or tepid. Yet, the unfolding of our shared story has turned a different page.
Many of us have come to the realisation that the recipe we’ve each created for life is nothing short of a grand illusion, nay— a delusion. This is in stark contrast to now, where even the finest grain of thought that attempts to penetrate this new, sacred space is filtered through into nothingness. “I could” and “I should” and “I must” and “I need” and “what if” begin to take form only as a spec before they too, fall away. Not much teeters now on the tip of my tongue. No words need to form. Instead, lies space; floating particles of light and a great sense of peace.
Once this phase of rest begins to shift, when we’ve sat and pondered our position in this world, there will follow a great swelling. Perhaps you can feel it already. We’ve given ourselves, like dough, time to rise. If you skip the stillness stage (which, by the way, is a necessary daily practice), your form becomes hard, flat and dull. You might be deluded into believing that what you have is the fast way and the highway to a better life. Yet it’s nothing more than being a rat caught in a race.
Conversely, the space within you is nothing short of divine. It is grace, embodied.
So what of the future — when we all slowly engage in the world around us again? An unsettling begins to ripple within me when I look too far ahead. It’s like a great heat rising from the pressure cooker that dictates we all extract and produce far more energy than was ever intended by this earth and the skies. You probably know this old friend, the heat— perhaps once as a comrade in arms. It is the pressure of life as we knew it. The many cups of industry and machine darkening the air you inhaled. The hard and heavy rolling pin of bank and debt. The pinches, teaspoons and tablespoons of persistent socialisation, hierarchy and meaninglessness. And the 220 degrees celsius of ineffectual trickle-down economics.
It’s funny (and not so funny) that the recipe for a fulfilled life was right there under our noses as we kneaded our way through each day. We thought we could skip through the phase of sitting and stillness and expect to rise. We missed the contemplation of fermentation. The stuff that feeds your gut.
What’s the point in all of this? Why the need to discuss the space within each of us? That we are more space than solid?
There is a sense of euphoria that comes from feeling into space within you. Here you open and find freedom from limitations and borders. While many of our physical borders have closed, the borders of your energy remain open. The speed by which you have lived has most likely slowed and the lists of obligation and duty have shortened. Your mind’s eye is able to see far beyond the physical horizon. It’s like your very imagination can be felt, seen and grasped for the first time as something real and formidable.
If you’re keen to tap into this awareness of space, there are many tools you can try. Meditation, mindfulness, visualisation, relaxation or yoga may connect you with this sense of boundlessness, the void and the delight in nothingness, as does the stillness of sunrise or sunset, a roaring fire or the perfect song. Or perhaps, through the Covid-19 era, you have felt it already.
Once you see the delusion and taste this new sense of lightness, there may be no turning back.
As always, tread lightly, my friends. You don’t have to do it alone. xkpx