“Horror Vacui” — Nature abhors a vacuum. Aristotle coined the phrase that expresses the idea that unfilled spaces go against the laws of nature and physics and that every space needs to be filled with something. But, is this right? I am thinking that applying this concept of horror vacui to our life may not be such a good idea after all. I am thinking that instead of filling up all the available space that we have, we should instead keep those spaces in-between empty to reflect, to pause, to re-energize, to find ourselves. We should not underestimate the importance of the spaces in-between.
It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence of the gap, or that space between our thoughts, that everything is created, including our own bliss .
The spaces-in-between are critical to our physical and mental health
We should never underestimate the power of the spaces in-between. If I wrote this article without any spaces in between the words and with no spaces in between the paragraphs, it will no doubt turn into an incomprehensible black mass of letters aligned one next to another, that will make no sense to anyone. The spaces in between the words are critical, without those spaces, the whole text will just be gobbledygook.
Spaces- in-Between moments in our life are also vital for our physical and mental state of mind. We all know the benefits of staying active and getting regular exercise, but whether you are training for a competition or making sure that you are keeping up with your fitness regime, more isn’t always better. Rest days are just as important as exercise. Taking regular breaks allows your body to recover and repair, and skipping those rest days may lead you to overtrain or burn out. Rest is essential for muscle growth. Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue; during rest, cells called fibroblasts repair the muscle. This helps the tissue heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscle.
Life is busy, there is so much to do and take care of on a day-to-day basis, being this and that and everything in between. As soon as one task is accomplished another one is making its way on our to-do list. The result may be exhaustion and a feeling of discontent. We have to prioritize the space we put in-between moments in our life. We have to learn to press the pause button more often. Life is not an ever-ending checklist or a destination. It is a journey that should be punctuated by pauses and moments of reflection where there is nothing to do but just enjoys the silence, enjoy the quietness and the preciousness of that Space-in-Between moments.
Space-in-Between moments don’t have to be moments of silence or deep meditation, it can be anything that allows you to do something that makes you feel joyful and peaceful such as taking a minute or two to smell a flower, walk barefoot on the grass, walk in the rain without a care in the world.
There is something that is empowering and freeing about spaces-in-between
Holocaust survivor and world-renowned psychiatrist and author Viktor Frankl taught that the space in between is what differentiates humans from all the other animals. He wrote in his memoir “Man’s Search for Meaning” that between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
When you are intentional, aware, and awake, life is naturally spacious. The next question is how do we cultivate that spaciousness? First, you have to switch off all the noise around you, start with switching off your TV, and all your electronics. The constant stimulus of technology prevents us from discovering the depth, meaning, and substance found in the stillness of the in-between spaces.
“All of humanity’s problems stems from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone” Blaise Pascal.
Too often our minds are caught in a cycle of stimulus and mindless distractions, practicing the art of being still, and experiencing more space-in-between moments will definitely help us unclutter our minds. When we find the time to pause and to observe from a neutral place, we begin to see what is. From that place, you can find your way back from the confusion and chaos of life and you will be able to get a better vantage point about yourself and the world around you. You will get some clarity about who you are, where you want to go, what you want to be and you will be able to connect with the people around you in an optimum manner.
Stillness is an attainable path to enlightenment, excellence, greatness, and happiness, it can inspire new ideas, sharpens perspective, and illuminate the mind. Stillness slows the ball down so we can hit it generates a vision, helps us resist the passion of the mob, and makes space for gratitude and wonder. The Spaces-in-Between moments are where we often find some of the greatest riches of life.
And this my dear friend is your Quest.
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