The Space Between
In our daily lives, we tend to focus on objects, tasks, relationships—anything that we can see, hear, feel, taste or touch. At any moment, we look at what we can see and react to it. Rarely, if ever do we focus on the spaces between. How many times have you driven on auto pilot to work or back home? Conversely, how many times have you looked at your home and seen the space around the objects?
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Hirshhorn National Museum of Modern Art in Washington, D.C. The theme of some of the exhibits was absence. They focused on what wasn’t there, or as I like to call it, the space between. When we look at something and focus not on what is there, but on what is not there, we see things in a radically different way. We are able to stop, pause and reframe. And any time we reframe things, we learn.
Taking time to see the space between means perceiving in a new way. It forces us to slow down. It captures our attention. It moves us into this moment right now. We shift our focus from the drawing of the flower, to the canvas; from the clutter in a room, to the space around the clutter; from the inhalation and exhalation, to the pause between the breath. And with that shift in perspective, we are able to step out of the hectic pace of life into this long, languid moment of presence.
We can practice this in meditation. When we sit in meditation and get really curious about the breath, about the sensation of each inhalation and exhalation, about the pause between the breaths, we move our presence to the present. When our minds wander to the latest story, drama, grocery list, or dinner prep, we practice focusing the mind back on the breath. We do this in the way we would gently move a toddler back to the task at hand, with no judgment. Time expands, the mind slows down, and we get to experience the space between the thoughts, between the breaths; the space of this moment, right here and right now.
All we really have is this moment. That is where we can create, work, laugh, sing, dance, clean, draw and be. What if we really lived in each moment as it happened? How would our lives and the world be different?