“The space where your thoughts appear is the same as the space in which the universe appears.”
Infinity and space
First, let’s examine what space actually is. The Miriam-Webster English Dictionary defines it as follows: ‘A limited extent in one, two or three dimensions.’ So we define space on the basis of its limits. The only space that we know which has no limits at all is the universe. ‘Know’ is probably not the right word here, however, given our limited knowledge of the infinite space around us and its countless billions of stars. Our mind is also unable to comprehend the concept of infinity. This is because the way we think is in itself a limited process that can only conceive of space in terms of the boundaries that contain it. However, when you examine this limited space it becomes apparent that it is only a small part of infinite space, in much the same way as our thinking is only a small part of the totality of what we are. We use our limited thinking to frame the concepts of infinity and totality in our attempts to understand them. In doing so, our thinking filters infinity until it has achieved a reasonable level of comprehension.
Take for example the space in the room in which you are now sitting. You experience this as a separate space because the walls set limits that you can perceive and acknowledge. However, those walls are nothing more than self-imposed limits. The space that you call ‘my room’ may appear to be demarcated by its walls, but those walls aren’t real limits at all. The space in your room or house, even the space in your neighbour’s garden, is in fact all the same space. Space does not allow itself to be fenced in by walls. The space in your room is the same space as that between the stars, planets and galaxies.
The space in your room is nothing other than infinity itself.
You may have heard the phrase ‘As above, so below’ before. Or you might know it as ‘As within, so without.’ The physical space that you perceive around you has its equivalent inside you. We refer to it as our ‘inner space.’
Inner space is the place where you can be with and focus your attention on yourself. It is the place where all your experiences, feelings, images, opinions and beliefs come together. It is, in fact, what you call ‘I’. You could also call it your private space, which may make it easier to understand. In any event, the majority of your life takes place in this private space and we live our lives on the basis of that space. This private space tends to take up most of our time and demands most of our attention. It is the place where we regard ourselves as important; it is a place that we like to use to show others who we are; it is the place where we feel hurt when others fail to notice us, when we don’t get the attention we think we deserve. And it is the place that makes us believe we are the centre of the universe.
Take a moment to feel the essence of what we are talking about here.
You may already be aware that your private space can be bound by limits, just like physical space. Inner borders are the confines within which you operate. ‘I’ is the wall that defines that space.
Just like the walls in a room are artificial limits that we use to reduce the infinity of the universe to comprehensible proportions, our ‘I’ is also an artificial limit what we use to define the infinite space of our being in understandable terms, in terms of something that we know. But our inner space is just as infinite as the universe. Our inner space is infinitely deep, infinitely still and infinitely complete.
Your ostensibly private space is nothing other than infinity itself.
The infinity of our inner space may sometimes feel as strange to us as the infinity of the universe. We are simply unable to grasp the concept of infinity. Infinity can even appear intimidating to us. After all, what is our place in all that infinity? We usually feel more comfortable dealing with a familiar and limited space. The space in your room, for example, feels safe, as does your private inner space. But, in fact, they are both fragile illusions. The space in your room is part of the infinity of the universe and your private inner space is part of the infinity of yourself.
There is nothing scary about this, it is only our thinking that sometimes causes us to fear it. It is usually only your ‘I’ that tries to resist infinity. It is your ‘I’ that tries to deny the infinity that is you. Of course, this should come as no surprise given what is at stake. ‘I’ exists only because of the apparent borders surrounding our private space. Losing yourself in the infinity of your inner silence dissolves those borders and when that happens the thing you call ‘I’ dissolves in the infinite stillness, too.
We are continually trying to develop ourselves – trying to be better and happier, trying to be someone. This is why we are always searching, either in the realm of spirituality, through self-development or through further education. However, this searching is usually a very I-oriented exercise. It is your ‘I’ that seeks the experience, your ‘I’ that wants to develop itself, your ‘I’ that wants to grow and be better. The most dangerous pitfall is that the ‘I’ is allowed to claim infinity for itself. When this happens, the ‘I’ extends its own boundaries and becomes bigger and better. For the ‘I’, the idea of dissolving completely in the inner stillness, of removing the limits on private space, is rarely an attractive proposition. We are so attached to our experiences, feelings, images, opinions and beliefs that we try to keep anything that poses a threat to that attachment at arm’s length.
However, somewhere deep inside us we still have a memory of what it is like to live without limits, to live in infinite oneness with everything around us.
And in that same place deep down inside us we also know that some day we will have to abandon our private space. If we don’t do it ourselves, then death will do the job for us. Death is the great dissolver of boundaries. In that moment, everything that we thought we were falls apart.
And somehow we also know that it is our private space that provides the sting in all our conflicts.
We know that our moments of true happiness are those moments when we are not thinking only of ourselves, the moments in which the walls of our private space become a little thinner and allow the light of our heart to shine through.
We know that our private space forms the greatest obstacle to Genuinely Being Ourselves.
However, we are also very reluctant to give up our private space. Why? What is holding us back? What’s so scary about infinity? In the end, infinity is nothing other than love.
Infinity and love
The infinite space of which we are often so afraid is pure love. Infinity and love are synonymous with each other. Infinity carries everything. It carries the universe and it carries you. It carries everything without preference, without prejudice and without precondition. This unconditionality is its true nature.
Take a moment to allow this to sink in.
Your inner space is infinitely deep.
Your inner space is infinitely still.
Your inner space is infinitely complete.
This timeless and infinite space unfolds inside your heart.
Love is its true nature.
You become one with it in your heart.
Your borders melt in your heart.
Your private space dissolves in your heart.
Your private space becomes one with infinity again inside your heart.
Infinity and consciousness
“The space where your thoughts appear is the same as the space in which the universe appears.”
This space is often referred to as consciousness. It is the arena in which all experiences and manifestations are played out; from small to large and from simple to magnificent. You could compare it to a screen in a cinema. One on which hundreds of movies have been shown down through the years. The screen ‘carries’ all those images unconditionally and passes no judgement on the movies it shows. The screen is the unconditional underlying layer that enables all of those movies to be shown. Without the screen there would be no movies, without the underlying layer no experiences and no universe. However, the screen itself is not an experience. Experiences and manifestations come and go, but the screen just is.
The only thing missing in this metaphor is love. Unconditionality is evidence of love, but there is another, even deeper level where love achieves its most primal expression. If you study the screen and the movie closely, you will see that there is nothing separating them. In actual fact, they are not two separate things at all. You cannot scrape the movie off the screen because it is not a tangible substance but rather a manifestation of the play of light. Our most insignificant experiences and the greatest manifestation of all, the universe, are as intrinsically bound to their underlying layer as the movie is to the screen. In fact, experiences and manifestations are nothing other than a play of the light, albeit in material form, that appear on and are an intrinsic part of the underlying layer.
It is an infinite symbiosis. An infinite collusion, an infinite dance of love.
This consciousness, this dance, is not an activity. It is not a process, it is not a thing that grows, it just is.
It is stillness.
Let every sign be an act of compassion, a dance of love.
Know that there is no activity required, you do not have to do anything.
All there is is the all-permeating infinity.
All there is is the love that carries everything.
It carries the closing of your eyes.
It carries your breath.
It carries your body.
It carries your thoughts.
It carries your whole being.
Love is your whole being.
Love is the breath that fills your whole being.
An infinite stream of life.
An infinite dance of love.
An infinite stillness.
A stillness in which you dissolve.
Dissolve in the love that you are.
Sit for 20 minutes in silence
If you are stuck for time during the day, you can do a shorter version. It will cost you no more than 1 minute of infinity. Do the meditation with your eyes open. Keeping your eyes open helps you to learn how to just be in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It teaches you not to exclude anything.
- Breathe calmly in and out and remind yourself that everything you are now experiencing is carried by love.
- Look around you and see that everything you can perceive is part of infinity. Realise that nothing ever comes unstuck from the underlying layer. Look through the same eyes at things/people/situations that you experience as being difficult.
- Breathe, stir yourself and resume your normal activities without losing this realisation and connection.
What you can ‘do’.
‘Doing’, in the generally accepted sense of the word, as an activity involving an ‘I’, is an illusion. That is why the word ‘doing’ is written in inverted commas here. This form of ‘doing’ suggests the action of an ‘I’ and that is precisely not what we are referring to. In this case, ‘doing’ is the whole movie. However, we have also seen that the movie and the screen form one whole. So this means that what we require is a subtle form of ‘doing’. Doing without a stated goal, without any expectations, without any certainties. It is ‘doing without gain’. In this form of doing, there is nothing to gain for the ‘I’. After all, the ‘I’ is always focused on goals, expectations and certainties.
- You can start by trying to ‘do’ something without any goals or expectations. Chop a carrot for no reason; forget the end result and just focus on the chopping. You can try the same with ironing, walking, cycling or brushing your teeth. See what effects and changes this results in. Introduce ‘doing without gain’ to your daily routine. Meditate ‘without gain’, without any goal, just be still. Embrace and accept this form of ‘not doing’.
- Take the time to look inside your inner space. What do you see there? What goes on in there? How private does it feel? Can you identify its borders? Do you see any of the habits and patterns that permeate your ‘outside’ life?
- Examine the way you ‘search’. What motives do you see? Which expectations? Examine the phenomenon of ‘searching’ with respect to ‘not doing’. Look deep inside yourself.
- You can see the movie in the metaphor used above as your own life. Who has the leading role in your movie? Are you prepared to offer up that leading role? Are you prepared to surrender to life itself, to the love that carries everything? How does contemplating this make you feel? How would it feel to relinquish your leading role?
- We not only play the leading role in our own movie, we are also the director of that movie. In many respects, we really do live inside our own heads. We are constantly playing the movie of our life inside our heads. What we are trying to do here is to change the setting from the head to the heart. Let the heart be the director of your movie. If you allow this to happen, there will be no roles to speak of anymore. Roles are merely a product of your head.Take the time each day to examine your leading role. Stop breathing for a moment and transfer that role from your head to your heart. Relax and allow your heart to take control. Do this ‘without gain’, do it without any goal. Your heart does not care for goals or results, your heart concerns itself only with the gentle carrying of the infinite lightness that is you.