Exploring Spaciousness: Experiencing Peace

sky In Are You Afraid of Stillness and Space? Part 1, Sandra Pawula suggests nourishing yourself with space. She explains how space is a vital element that brings balance into our lives, helping to keep stress, distress, and illness at bay.

In Are You Afraid of Stillness and Space? Part 2   Sandra’s  advice is to  slowly break free of our driving need to do and to accomplish and begin nurturing ourselves with small, less threatening doses of space.

Exploring  spaciousness

I awoke to heavy rain this morning and I began my day as always in  stillness.  As I sat on my deck and simply listened to the rain pelting down I settled into calmness.  I contemplated the balance required to appreciate both stillness and activity in my life.

I view managing activity and stillness as a delicate balancing act essential to my well-being. Without activity I cannot appreciate stillness. Without stillness I cannot appreciate activity. Without entering spaciousness through meditation I cannot experience serenity and peace.

As I sat in stillness exploring spaciousness and what an important role it plays in all aspects of my life, three favorite readings on spaciousness came to mind.

Reflecting on spaciousness

“To experience your own spaciousness is to recognize the true nature of your soul, a felt sense that has nothing to do with personal history, ideas, behavior, or accomplishments. It is always there but easily ignored. It is tangible and powerful yet difficult to focus on and even harder to describe… With time and awareness it becomes possible to accept and appreciate the experience of spaciousness in your head, your body, or your sense of who you are. This opens the way for the sense of barren or frightening emptiness to become the experience of open space. When you stop looking for something to fill the space, you can begin to…feel and embrace your own spacious nature.” — Byron Brown in Soul Without Shame

Thought cannot conceive or formulate to itself the nature of space. Whatever it formulates has within it the limitation of its own boundaries. This is not the space which meditation comes upon. Thought has always a horizon. The meditative mind has no horizon. The mind cannot go from the limited to the immense, nor can it transform the limited into the limitless. The one has to cease for the other to be.

Meditation is opening the door into spaciousness which cannot be imagined or speculated upon. Thought is the center round which there is the space of idea, and this space can be expanded by further ideas. But such expansion through stimulation in any form is not the spaciousness in which there is no center. Meditation is the understanding of this center and so going beyond it.

Silence and spaciousness go together. The immensity of silence is the immensity of the mind in which a center does not exist. The perception of this space and silence is not of thought. Thought can perceive only its own projection, and the recognition of it is its own frontier. — J. Krishnamurti in The Only Revolution

This inner ‘Stillness ~ Silence ~ Spaciousness’ of mind enabled by a mindful-awareness, is the natural state of our mind uncluttered from the flow of mental chatter, images, ideas, and constant commentary. When we become too removed from the inner true nature of the minds ‘Stillness ~ Silence ~ Spaciousness’, we can begin to lose balance, harmony, peace and well-being in our life; we are susceptible to more stress, distress, angst, and illness. A mindful-awareness practiced and cultivated as meditation enables us to sustain greater ‘Stillness ~ Silence ~ Spaciousness’ as a resource for greater personal health, professional performance, and actualisation of our full human potential. — Mindfulness and Meditation by John Barter

Expanding spaciousness

I begin and end each day in silence as it’s medicine for the soul. This is my long-standing practice. For decades I have sought silence several times every day to experience the spaciousness and  peace  in meditation.  What Sandra’s articles alerted me to is that  at some point in January I gradually stopped taking my meditation break during the working day.  I’m so grateful that I read her articles and identified what has been missing from my life lately.

Spaciousness provides me with the feeling of sufficient time and space to be in before speaking or acting. I no longer feel we the urgency to fill  the silent spaces in a conversation. I notice that when I don’t speak to fill the silent space,  I am more deeply aware of the moment,  my environment and my companions.   Spaciousness provides the time I need to consider the value  and timeliness of anything I may feel prompted to say. When I  do speak, my words are much more likely to be compassionate and connected.

Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form. — Eckhart Tolle

Serenity – Meditation Music

Discussion

Meditation is a powerful tool to train the mind.  Meditation practice is time to rest and experience the natural calm spaciousness and peace in  the mind.

Are you relentlessly busy from morning until night?

Do you acknowledge your need for time to be still and silent and honor it?

Do you make time each day to experience spaciousness and peace?

If so, then how does letting go of the effects of activity and finding some peace affect the rest of your life?

If not, then have you considered creating a space for meditation in your life and bringing activity and stillness into balance?

Related posts found in this blog:
Stillness Speaks
Being yourself: The stillness of pure consciousness

29 thoughts on “Exploring Spaciousness: Experiencing Peace

  1. A lovely post Timethief and I particularly enjoyed meditating to that wonderful piece of music. Some of those images made me feel nostalgic and homesick, for whatever reason.

    Creating an inner space has always stood me in good stead, none more so than when seriously ill. At that time, meditation and quiet contemplation brought about inner peace and a fundamental change in the dynamic of my illness and how I was to handle it. The stillness brought strength and allowed healing on many levels.

    It’s my belief that reflection and meditation make life purposeful and mindful, stripping away the cluttered layers that we accumulate daily.
    Thank you for this great post.

    1. Dear Crystal,
      You are lovely and I apologize for making you wait so long.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the music and the images. I had the same experience. It’s music the evokes memories. What you have shared in second paragraph is upheld by my own experience. I concur with your conclusion as well. Images, music, silence and spaciousness — meditation — complete rest, healing, and peace that surpasses understanding.

      With love,
      TiTi

  2. And yes, I think some people are afraid of silence, the reminder of their separateness, their solitary humanity, their one voice.

    Nowadays with email, iphone, and cell-phones, the silence opportunities become rarer and rarer.

    1. Hi Jean,
      Yes, I do agree that some fear silence. Ironically in a culture that upholds individualism so few embrace silence. And, as you point out the never out of touch technology can set us even further and further away from experiencing the silence and spaciousness we need to nuture ourselves with.

      Love you,
      TiTi

  3. During my time at home, when dearie is not around yes it is quiet. I don’t have a tv and I honestly forget to play music. Whereas he likes some noise in background to keep himself from being bored.

    So I can for whole evenings and days plug away at my activities at home and it’s silent. I’m accustomed to solitude in this way. It is not surprising that my favourite hobbies tend to be solitary (blogging, art) and a sport/fitness/exercise like cycling, tends to focus on individual/solitary activity.

    I enjoy coming into work early after cycling to work, to have my coffee before I formally start REAL work. Solitude and peacefulness relaxes me for real. I welcome it when I choose those times, not when it’s forced on me (ie. because I lost someone, etc.).

    Which is interesting because I also have decent tolerance to low level human conversation and activity around me at work in an open office concept…provided the person is not constantly angry/mean to others. I believe this comes from having been raised with 5 siblings in a small /crowded home.

    I consider myself lucky as having this nearly schizo-duality in appreciation of both contemplative silence and happy human buzz nearby. I know some people cannot tolerate a huge amount of children’s noises when they are childless themselves. But I can, after looking after nieces and nephews, …and earlier after looking younger siblings early in life because parents never could afford to pay outside babysitters.

    When growing up in crowded home, I learned to create my island of satisfied peacefulness if I occupied myself with favourite hobbies.

    In fact if I play music too long (whole day or abit less), I feel exhausted or if there are lyrics, it wears me down/I get a headache. It must be from the fact, that my senses are trying to block out “noise” and recapture peace and silence.

    It may explain I have little interest in using a cellphone often or subscribing to cellphone service for daily chat. I don’t have a powerful need to check with another adult in my life every few hours.

    1. @Jean,
      Wow! What a wonderful comment this was to receive and read.

      Your first two paragraphs describe me as well as you. :) I also was raised in a large family who lived in small places, so I can relate to and identify with much of what you have said like the “schizo-duality”. I don’t have any inclination to be in constant contact either and it amazes me that others do.

      With love,
      TiTi

  4. Our whole civilization is, as Krishnamurti has noted, devoted to the eradication of silence and reflection. It is dedicated to use the day and night to sell you merchandise and propoganda, and to supply political and social fodder to a people devoted instant news and opinion. Nice post. My best

    1. Dear Count,
      Perhaps the increase in noise that we observe makes the silence we do experience more precious to us. I know I require it but it grieves me that our society and technology driven lifestyles belies the truth. We all need silence and there’ less and less opportunity to experience it than there was when humans were not racing ahead like machines. Oops! I think I started to rant there.
      All my best too you,
      Love and peace,
      TiTi

  5. A few quiet moments in the morning really do help prepare me for the day. It will be a difficult transition when the kids get out of school for the summer. I’m so used to the quiet during the day. I’ll have to make sure to grab some moments of silence here and there to keep me sane and help me enjoy my time with them.

    1. @Janene,
      I find such value in quiet mornings and I hear you when you speak of the kids being out of school in summer. Small silence and stillness breaks are healing and rejuvenating. Just ten minutes of silence can be enough to being us back into balance. I hope you have wonderful summer with your kids, punctuated by stillness and spaciousness.

      With love,
      TiTi

  6. It’s a strange thing, but good to learn, that the more I have withdrawn from what was a style of living that was broad and rapid, to one that is deeper and slower – the more I feel in touch with everything.
    Stillness unifies it all. Thank you for pouring so much of value into this space.

    1. I’m sorry you waited to so long for me to reply. Thanks for your kind words about this piece. W well said too. Silence unifies all. In meditative stillness we recognize our true nature is inseparable from stillness.

      Peace be with you always,
      TiTi

  7. Hello timethief,

    Thank you for giving us a glimpse into the spacious heart of your meditation practice and for these profound quotes. I feel as you do that meditation is “medicine for the soul.” I really appreciated your insights into the relationship between stillness and space in particular > “I contemplated the balance required to appreciate both stillness and activity in my life.”

    I have a regular routine of meditation practice every morning and other spiritual practices in the evening. In the late afternoon, I almost always go for a walk to a cliff above the ocean, sit on lava rocks, and drink in the spacious quality of sky and sea in front of me.

    I’m just finishing a three week break and am refocusing on work this week. As you express so well, this is when it’s so tempting to let activity take precedence and let go of space. Your article is an excellent reminder for me not to do that.

    It means a lot to know that my articles made a difference in your life. Yours make a difference in my life all the time.

  8. Lovely post. I make time every morning and then throughout the day when I notice I need it. I know I haven’t given myself the space when I’m oddly irritable for no reason. My inner self tells me off with a bad mood.

    1. I share that same inclination. I’m irritable if I don’t get time to be still either. You nailed it in your last sentence. I’m so glad you left this comment. Thanks :)

  9. @np, you aphorism is beautiful!

    @np&tt: i’ve always been enjoying being alone with myself since early age. for me, i learned more from inside myself more than outside from others. solitary life style is perfect to me.

    @tt, i don’t mind at all.
    sorry to hear you had not been well and had to take care of your sibling. life is always up and down. i hope you get through this time safely and make good money to support the situation. i have been doing good with my health. recently i am also experiencing some abnormal condition which has been taking too much my time to take care. but, it is not something serious, but rather something might push my health to a new level. :-)

  10. I spend a lot of time alone, just being still and observing the world around me. In fact I’d say that comprises the brunt of my day. Just yesterday I wrote this aphorism about that:

    “When the mind is quiet you can hear the trees breathing.”

    1. Hi Marty,
      It wasn’t until after I had read Sandra’s articles thrice and slept on them for a couple of nights that what was niggling my mind finally became discernible. Somewhere during the month of January or perhaps in early February when so much was happening in my life and lives of those I loved, I stopped making the time to meditate during the working day. I have been juggling contracted work, studio work and blogging and dropping the balls, so to speak. :(

      Your aphorisms are profound and I value your friendship so much. This one is awesome. (Apologies for use of an overused word but it’s the only one that “fits”.)

  11. beautiful TT!
    yes, slow down, give our spirit a room, we would feel much better. have you watched Ellen Degeneres’ stand up about “Procrastination”? Not exactly relevant but it is very funny and thoughtful as well:

    1. Hi Yun Yi,
      Thank you. I’m happy to hear you found value in this post. I have been working hard so we can be preared for when one of my siblings has surgery and need a caregiver. Now is the time to make the money required to to get there and stay there for as long as requred. I have had a minor health crash and now I have had a wake-up call about my practice which I have been neglecting. It’s so hard to maintain a balance between all spects of one’s life both offline and online. I hope you do not mind that I chose not to post the video.

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