Our minds are full of internal thoughts
and our external lives are filled with things to do.
There is no space in our lives.
And so began the discussion on discovering our inner space. And how true it is. We get up in the morning and we start thinking about what to make for dinner. We run from place to place; meeting to meeting, the soccer game, the little league game, the book club meeting. No wonder we want to stop the world and get off.
What is inner space? It is that part of you that allows you to step back from yourself and witness what is happening to you and around you; you witness your own behavior, actions, or words.
And how does one come to find his/her inner space? Through awareness and presence. When you bring awareness to a situation, an urge, a pattern or habit, consistently as it happens, you begin to develop inner space. This awareness may not always succeed, especially when the desire, the long-ingrained pattern, is strong. So don’t expect perfection the first time around or maybe not even the 5oth time around. However, the more you apply awareness to a situation, a pattern, a habit, it will gradually lessen.
In a previous post I referred to this as my “oh crap” moment. The moment when you’re talking about something with someone and you say a word or phrase that may hurt their feelings and as soon as the words are out of your mouth you realize the hurt you may have caused. Sometimes this realization happens immediately after the fact and sometimes it happens way after the fact.
Lately I’ve noticed myself becoming more aware of an emotion or reaction that wants to emerge during certain situations or conversations. Instead of allowing the reaction to emerge, I find myself pausing. I take a breath during that moment of silence and then speak. And this is hard because we are conditioned to fear moments of silence. Yet it is in the silence where we find stillness, awareness, and presence. I am learning to be comfortable with periods of silence.
I’m also reminded of phrases I heard as a child: “bite your tongue,” “silence is golden,” and “think before you speak.” Perhaps those who spoke these phrases to me were demonstrating some level of awareness that I was, well, not aware of at the time.
It is also important to remember when you step into this inner space that you not judge yourself. You need to simply observe. If you begin to judge yourself, then you clog your mind with those thoughts again (hello inner voice).
This too, shall pass This too, will pass
Oh how I hated this phrase as a kid. Why on earth would I want something to pass? Why would I want it to end? Remember how hard it could be to leave a friend’s house after playing all day?
This too, shall pass tells us that we should not cling to situations or objects. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves or perhaps find comfort in these words. Rather it means that we need to become aware of the fleetingness of situations and that should help us enjoy life even more.
If we are aware of the nonpermanence of people, objects, and situations, we will enjoy them more. If we cling out of fear of loss, if we expect people and things to be as they always have, we become trapped inside the events of our lives. Through nonattachment we will also find inner space.
Discover your inner space by bringing little gaps into your daily life. Take a breath. Listen and allow the silence. Practice nonattachment, nonjudgement, and nonresistance. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if it doesn’t happen right away. Space opens gradually and when it does, be sure to step in.