Re-acquainting the Heart with Space
No matter what our work in the world might be, we all lose some of our inner space from time to time. Even though my work is what I consider to be skillful and helpful to others, running a business of any kind requires logistical thinking, planning and organization of oneself and others.
Being here in the monastery has given me the greatest gift of all, space—I remember again what it feels like, allows for in the heart, provides for in the mind. I am at home anywhere in the world with it, and happy with anything because of it.
Space is soft, it’s tender it’s enveloping and delicately holding us at all times. Space allows thoughts to flow through the mind without getting stuck or snagged. Space in the heart allows for compassion to blossom, kindness to be automatic, understanding to be a given condition. Space not only allows for the body to remain in greater health, but we feel better when the muscular fabric of the body is soft and relaxed—we are more at ease in our own skin.
Space may be an elusive element in our daily lives, but it is available whenever we find the time to notice it. Simply walking into a room, we can tune our perception to notice the space between the furniture, the distance between the walls, the separation between the door and the floor, the floor and the ceiling.
We can attune to the space between words, thoughts and feelings. The beautifully poignant gap between things said both internally and externally, the silence of a room, the quiet soft space of the sky.
We can invite space into the body by stretching, by being with loved ones, by swimming in the sea. We can find the space between our fingers and toes, see how much space there is between our widest stance, each rib, or the distance between our ears.
We live with and in space in our most natural state of being, remembering it is a matter of simply noticing that it is gone and taking the time to kindly invite it back. Start with the heart and invite softness, then move the softness to the body, and then the mind. Arrange yourself in a sacred space that feels welcoming and peaceful as often as you can, bring yourself into the sacred space as an integral part of it.
By lightly focusing the mind on the breath we steady the awareness so that it can be widened to notice and include the spaciousness that is natural mind. That sky-like nature of mind that often gets crowded or covered over with responsibilities and daily life.
Contemplate space, see what it brings to mind, how it makes you feel. Invite space into the body, mind and heart in any way that feels organic and loving. Write the word SPACE on paper and put it on a wall where you’ll see it often. Our minds have many conditions, we can choose space to be one of the conditions that we nourish and expand.
Founder + Director
School for Compassionate Action