In our book, The Well Life, Briana and I introduced three elements of life that are essential for happiness, balance, and peace: structure, sweetness, and space. I discussed the first two in my articles of the past two weeks. Now let’s look at the most elusive and powerful: space. Like water to a fish, it’s easy for humans to be oblivious to space.
Space is the formless source – vast, intelligent, divine, eternal, nondual – behind, within, and beyond all form. Space gives us the capacity for perspective – to see and experience beyond the confines of our mind, and to reflect, refine, and heal. Space allows for the openness to receive and grow. Space offers us access to universal wisdom, creativity, and insight.
Our coaching training begins with a program called Sacred Expansion (which can also be taken on its own) specifically for the purpose of opening up space before the learning begins. You’ve probably heard the old parable about the student who approaches a master asking for instruction, but is too full of his own ideas to be open to new teachings. The master pours him a cup of tea, but doesn’t stop when the cup is full. As it spills over and the student cries out that the master is making a big mess, the master responds that this is the first lesson – the student must begin by “emptying his cup.” This is precisely why Sacred Expansion comes first.
But even if you’re not taking one of our courses, there are plenty of good reasons to become conscious of space in your life. As it relates to sweetness, what often makes the sweetest moments so powerful is that the form – the content of our lives – because thinner and permeable, and we have a more direct experience space as the formless and timeless spiritual dimension. Space gives us the presence that lets us find sweetness even in the most tedious or mundane activities. As it relates to structure, space allows our life architecture to be airy, magical, and guided by the intelligence of our Highest Self, rather than a narrow set of obligations we feel confined to in order to be successful or comfortable.
Here are four powerful ways to invite more space into your life:
- Bring your attention to your breath. By breathing more consciously and deeply, you open space in your body which creates space in your mind. Bringing your attention to your breath throughout the day expands your consciousness and the present experience. You’re less at the mercy of your emotions and circumstances. Life slows down when your breathing slows down. While a full inhale is instrumental in opening your whole self, a long and complete exhale is just as vital since this is the letting go phase (i.e., clearing out whatever’s filling your space) of the breath.
- Give your attention uncompromisingly to the here and now. HERE is the only place and NOW is the only time you’ll ever be. When you depart from the present moment to follow your thoughts, your space shrinks. The present moment all but disappears. But when you devote yourself to this – to what’s currently alive – it expands. And you’ll discover a richness here that the past and future can’t compete with.
- Prioritize space. Generally, if space isn’t protected, it will be filled and forgotten. Form is everything to the ego – the inward form of thoughts and the outward form of things. Beauty, energy, success, possessions, physical safety, and our thoughts can easily become the most important thing in our life. In order to keep this from happening, you must consciously choose space, over and over and over. Carve out space in which you can sit in the stillness (meditation, listening, being in nature, etc.) and hear your soul.
- Practice ritual. By “ritual” I don’t mean any particular religious ceremony or magical incantation. I simply mean the deliberate choice to do something special for the sole purpose of elevating the moment and honoring space itself. Forge your own rituals using whatever elements help you open to an expansive state of consciousness.
If you resonate with these ideas, I encourage you to sign up for the Sacred Expansion course. You’ll spend 8 weeks with a group of likeminded others, clearing out the obstacles to a more spacious life, and getting recalibrated through the natural world.