STILLNESS: The space between the words

After a couple of blogs on the power of words, and how we are influenced by the words we talk to our self about, I thought it would be interesting here to have a look at something about the space between all those words.

For instance, iftherewerenospacesbetweenourwordsyouprobablywouldnothavethefaintestideaofwhatIamwritinghere … and you wouldn’t have the patience to read on!

If we all spoke in one long unfinished sentence we would be incomprehensible, too – as if speaking in tongues, or speaking a very foreign language – or creating even more than a stream of consciousness as James Joyce wrote in Ulysses.  (Even he managed to leave spaces between his words in that masterpiece!)

And yet, think about that.  Using the example of our hasty texting today, unless we take the time and trouble to care, the sense is pretty much like that long gobbledegook above … an example … were will u b or …  I met to sa i kant b ther … and far worse, too.  This means, of course, that the writer of the text is in a big rush – and is really not caring; and the recipient of the text immediately becomes rushed too, and very likely becomes very frustrated by having to take the trouble to interpret the message.  So space means everything when it comes to communication.

But even more importantly, space means a great deal in the whole of life.

flower-pink-dahlia[1]Consider a flower without space between the petals; or how a tree might appear without space to create its formation; or the spaces that intercept clouds to highlight the dome of sky; or the space between each ocean wave as it arrives and recedes at the shoreline; or the appearance or usefulness of a hand without a space between the fingers.

Imagine music without space to create the light and shade and beauty of its whole composition.  Imagine no space occurring between each breath we take.  Imagine almost anything, any activity at all where space of some kind, does not occur.

Think about rushing, the rushing to communicate as in texting mentioned above.  And to what real advantage?   Only that of urgency – which in turn creates pressure and stress.  But with the advantage of space, time enters the picture.  Space and time create peacefulness and those in turn create ease.

In this month’s newsletter, Kaye has written a lovely piece that tells the story of how the ‘stillness’ we teach, that is, mental space, can assist young people to enjoy and profit from their developing years.  At the SMTC we treasure the opportunity to help tweens and teens to step away from rushing, pressure and stress and to value the concept of space … in particular, the experience of space between thoughts and with practice, space within the mind.  In fact, we encourage all who visit us to value mental, emotional and physical space within each moment of our lives.

Now here’s something else to think about:  in all that rushing, in the compulsion to fill what appear to be empty spaces, what is the driving force?  Believe it or not, the driving force is usually that of fear:

Fear of inadequacy, of embarrassment, of being excluded, of being a failure, of being judged and criticized, of not meeting peer standards, of missing opportunities and so on.

These are indiscriminate childhood fears that can remain unchecked, into our adult selves.   Mature individuals gain calm perspective and know that there is far more to life than meeting unrealistic expectations.

So let’s be calmer.  Let’s take time to respond with valuable words.  Let’s ponder at times and reflect on the real truth of our individual self.  Let’s also ponder the beauty of life and all the spaces in between.  And let’s find ways to practice that calmness and the considered responses that it brings.

I asked several people recently to describe their experience within Stillness Meditation Therapy.  Here are some replies:

  • The space is just for me
  • It’s a restorative experience
  • I left everything behind
  • I go deeply and sometimes get to an unfamiliar space that I’m learning to cross
  • I ‘went somewhere’ that was very good
  • It’s just … lovely
  • It’s all about change for the better – feels great
  • It makes me feel in control so I’m becoming more positive
  • My body becomes so relaxed it’s almost non-existent!  I feel sort of suspended in space
  • Can’t describe it … just wonderful
  • Calm, strength, ease – energy – totally
  • I went somewhere … but nowhere!

Well … space is an empty place that almost defies description.  But space is also a place of abundance and that almost defies description, too.

I guess in summary, matter and space are what the energy of life is all about.  We just need to discover the right balance to reap the rewards of personal contentment … and in fact, to get on with the job whatever it may be.