Cut doors and windows
to make a room.
Where the room isn’t,
there’s room for you.
– poem 11, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.
Translated by Ursula Le Guin
Have you ever wondered what makes a room valuable? It is its space – its emptiness.
In our civilisation, we have made many things that have many uses; but have we stopped to think about the uses of things that are not? Space is what is not in order for us to be inside it. Space is the emptiness in which fullness can happen.
Because the room is not, the shelter you need is inside.
Because the glass is not, the water you drink is inside.
Because the lungs are not, the air you breathe is inside.
It is in that space in which we are.
More and more things inside lead to a fullness. Our lives in this modern are world are full of things – things to have, things to do, things to become. We fill our lives with as many of those as possible. But is being full really better? Maybe bloated is a better term to describe the human condition. We have so much that the space of our lives cannot contain.
This doesn’t mean that you should have no things at all or to give up all things so you can have a life of nothing. Not at all. What this means is that we appreciate the context. We need certain things, but we also need the space. We need that space even more.
Why? Because we are space. Think about it.
Consciousness is a space in which experience happens. You are that space.
Here is an awareness exercise that I’d like to share with you to help you appreciate being the space that you are.
1. Put yourself in a comfortable position. Sit in a relaxed manner or lie down. Stand if you want to.
2. Be conscious of your breathing and relax as your breathe in and breathe out. Breathe slowly and relax deeper with each breath.
3. Now as you breathe in and breathe out, I want you to notice that in between inhaling and exhaling there is a moment that there is no air in your lungs. There is a space in which you neither breathe in or out.
4. Notice how you are and how you feel while you’re in that space.
5. Now as your breathing in and out slows down, your time in that space becomes longer and longer.
6. Be aware of how you feel. Is your mind silent? Your emotions calm?
This is an exercise that can help you feel the space that you are. As you dwell in the spaciousness of being, know that this space is in every single aspect of your life. The more you appreciate the space that you are, the more you will appreciate the spaces in your life.
You will see that you need space for things that actually matter to you.
You will see that you need space for activities that actually matter to you.
You will see that you need space for people that actually matter to you.
You will see that you need space.
It is in the realisation and appreciation of this space that you naturally see what is taking up your space – things that don’t really matter to you. Then you let go of those things, those activities, those people. You take back your space.
So that you can appreciate the really important things in your space.
Your space is sacred, precious, scarce. Do not let unworthy things into that space. Let only the worthy things abide in that space.
May what brings you peace, happiness, and truth abide in your space.