« Availability | Main | Reflections on music in the context of self-management »

April 25, 2005

Are You taking up Space or Creating Space?

In the check-in Prasad mentioned about the conversation with the Sufi master Kabir Helminski. One thing that stuck in his mind was the statement about human beings coming from space. After check in, the dialogue started with a question: Wherever we are, most of us occupy space. Do we ever consciously create space? (There were other reflections on motivation, innovation, effort vs. results and we will include reflections on them as we go forward.)

By space, we are here referring to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual spaces.

Immediately two more questions came up: What is the importance of space and why should we create it? And how do we create it?

Prasad brought in a quote from the first verse of the Brahmananda Valli of Taitriya Upanishad. He felt that the sufi statement is valid according to Hindu scriptures also. His interpretation goes like this:

Consciousness that pervades the entire universe has three essential characteristics. They are: Truth, perspective and infinity. In other words, consciousness brings what is true, gives us the perspective and is not limited by our awareness and observation. It is the underlying flow of life and magic that makes us and makes the universe what it is. This consciousness is our self. That self is not limited (because it is infinite) and creates the infinite possibilities called Space or Ether (Akasha). It represents all unmanifested potential in the universe. Time/space concepts from science do not apply this field of potential.

So the evolutionary process goes like this: From consciousness came Space. From space, came air. Air represents movement of consciousness within the Akasha. It also represents breath of life. Fire came out of air and it represents the vision and the fire within us. Water came out of fire and represents flow of energy and intention. From water came the earth and it represents the fertile field of the material world. Herbs and trees emerged from the earth and produced food. From food, came the human being. Thus the human being came out of infinite consciousness, from the universal self, from the infinite space or field of potential.

If this is the way of Nature, then maybe, every time we create space, we open up infinite possibilities and tap into the true nature of our self and without it nothing else is possible.

In the beginning of the dialogue, Manju had recited the 7th sloka of the second chapter of Bhagavad Gita. Prasad had connected well with that sloka for past several years and he shared a personal story.

This sloka summarizes the predicament Arjuna was experiencing in terms of self-pity, confusion and attachment. He declares his commitment to Krishna being his teacher and requests guidance and a clear direction from Krishna from the space of complete surrender.

Not coincidentally, that is the precise point from which Krisha begins his teaching to Aurjuna, not a moment early.

Because, any meaningful learning takes place only when the learner empties out all that he or she is attached to, and creates space for listening, for transformation and for meaningful action.

In a very timely manner, Jags brought up a challenge that most of us face one time or the other. He asked, �Why is it that in spite of putting enormous efforts, many times we don�t get much result (meaning success)? Could it be that efforts actually have little role to play in producing results?� In other words, what is the role of space or gap between cause and effect? What happens if we shrink the gap?

Our exploration of the question brought out some insights:

On one hand, we do know that without any effort, there would be no result. But in the process of putting the effort, we get more and more attached to the process and the expected outcome. Attachment of any kind occupies space. The more we get attached, the smaller becomes the space. The smaller the space is, the lesser the chance for any result to happen. As someone said, �For the person who already knows, there is only one answer, for the person who does not know, there are many answers.� So, the lesser we are attached to what is happening in our physical, mental and spiritual spaces, the more space becomes available for newer answers, and newer results. The number of options for success is directly proportional to the kind of space available for success.

So how do we create space?

Two ways came up in the dialogue: One is through non-attachment � letting go. And the other is through a larger vision.

Letting go:

The 7th sloka mentioned above is a great example of what does it mean to let go. Like Arjuna, once in a while we could brave ourselves to drop the attachments we have in our relationships, with our material possessions, knowledge, ideals etc and completely surrender to an authentic teacher or God and ask for help. There are countless examples of people who have done this, usually in a state of utter desperation.

But should we wait for some crisis to hit us to realize that what we hold on to are barriers to what we want to achieve? Prasad suggested a way to let go without the need for a crisis: He said that letting go need not be a big, one time action. Without an extraordinary circumstance, it is not possible to let go of all of one�s attachment in a single moment. Even if one does it mentally, it may not translate into practice immediately. Letting go can happen incrementally, on a daily basis. The spiritual traditions of the East and West offer many means like meditation, self-enquiry, and love and compassion to let go of one�s attachments. If every day we let go, to some extent, of something we are attached to, we will be creating space for new answers and solutions in our lives.

A Larger Vision:

The second way to create space is to jump out of one�s individual desires and embrace the needs of a larger community as one�s own desire � what is called �enlightened self-interest�. A person living with a larger vision no longer does anything from the point of view of �What is in it for me?� But rather asks oneself, �What am I in it for others?� Such a person, in one sense, has more desires than others! He or she is greedy for the well being of many others. But this is so only if we interpret that person�s behavior through the language of a person who strives for nothing but a �darkened self-interest�. Such a person due to his �scarcity mentality� has intense attachment with everything. This gives raise to characteristics such as overt protectiveness, competitiveness, high skepticism, cynicism, aggressiveness etc. These characteristics do have power and may even create success. But history shows that such successes are short lived and are disastrous in the long run for that person and everyone else.

Whereas, having a larger vision, even if fails to produce immediate results, at the least, will inspire others to keep the vision alive and hence keep the space open for success for oneself and everyone else.

I will end with a quote by Prasad, �Inspiration is what you breathe in; creativity is what you breathe out. In between the two is the space where creation takes place.�


Have you managed to create space in your life? If you have or if you have ideas to do so, please share it with us here by posting your comments.

Some of the other conversation this evening produced the following statements being made:

- Looking inside into our self gives Insight, looking outside for knowledge gives Outsight.

- Effort is like the lighter fluid. It helps to the extent that it lights something else with more energy to burn brighter, larger and longer than the light sparked by the lighter fluid.

- Lighting fire on wet grass does not produce wild fire. (Bernie De Koven)

- Confuse, Refuse, diffuse, infuse � all share fusion of two ideas. When we are confused, we are unable to separate the two ideas that are fused together. Refusal allows us to let go of the current fusion and re make the connection at an appropriate time. You get the drift�

We also talked about the process of Innovation and role of Space in it. Will post that as a separate article.

Posted by Ragu at April 25, 2005 01:47 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry: