Resting in The Space Between
I am aware that there is a way in which we are all in transit all the time. It is just more obvious in my life as I fly across the ocean, wait in various airports for hours for my next connection, and recover from jet lag. We are all moving from this moment to the next. Life is constantly unfolding. We all have the opportunity to be with this transition. Our tendency, however, is to focus on whatever task or entertainment we are involved with, and to miss the mysterious and wondrous unfolding within and around us.
I am reminded once again of one of my favorite topics – Embryology. I am constantly informed by the development of little ones before, as well as after, birth. Embryos, as far as I can tell, are not absorbed in watching TV, in getting things done, or in planning for their future. They are simply present, being in and with what is. In the process of being, their little bodies take form. They grow and coalesce from a single fluid cell into a highly complex human baby. They are changing constantly. If they were to latch on to any one stage of their miraculous development, I imagine the journey to being born would be more challenging.
We know from research in the field of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology that babies who been overwhelmed by trauma, either in the womb or during birth, do tend to lock in to that experience, just like anyone else with unresolved trauma. Our tendency, at any age, is to return to a trauma experience when life reminds us of it, and to react to life as if it were the same as the past. In an untraumatized state, however, little ones are very present in this moment with whatever may present.
What would it be like if we lived our lives more like the little embryo, being with what is? Our grown up bodies do not seem to change quite as quickly as the embryo’s little form. When our bodies do change, we often are not happy about it. We resist the drying, the wrinkling, and the stiffening that often accompanies aging. When we are younger, we may wish we were already more mature. I remember my grandfather admonishing us to not wish our lives away. They will be over sooner than we might imagine. On the other hand, teenagers or young adults may fight against the pressure they feel from others around them to grow up and take more responsibility in their lives.
Being or Resisting?
We all tend in various ways to resist this moment of change. We tend not to nurture our ability to be, to rest in a state of being, as Franklyn Sills describes in his book Being and Becoming. In a state of frenetic activity, awareness contracts. Our perception narrows to the task at hand. Our body tissues also contract, as Emilie Conrad points out in her book, Life on Land. As we narrow in our bodyminds, we become less receptive, less fluid, and less resilient. We tend to identify in this state with our little personality self. Our self state, as Sills defines it, is an expression of the conditions of our lives, our personal history, and how we have learned to hold and defend ourselves when it has been too harsh.
Living from this small Self state, it becomes difficult to rest. We must stay active or defended. We live in fear of history repeating itself. Often, with this focus, we find ourselves seemingly re-living our history, just as we have feared.
Being present in the moment, in the midst of the dynamic shifts of life, requires widening our perception. When we slow ourselves down, we can step back a little to observe our patterns, rather than automatically and unconsciously re-enacting to them. We begin to identify with something larger, deeper, and more universal. As we settle into a Being state, we have more access to the more primary forces that formed us as little ones, and continue to form us every moment of our lives.
As we slow down, we begin to settle into the space between. Our perception is no longer limited to the more coalesced forms of our bodies, or our mental or emotional patterns. We also perceive a spaciousness between the forms…a stillness… potency that feeds us on a primary, quantum level.
In this more expanded state, we begin to perceive possibilities we could not access in contraction. Rather than seeing life as black or white, we begin to acknowledge and perhaps even enjoy the shades of grey in between. Polarities begin to present as two ends of the same continuum. Problems become opportunities to explore new realms of creativity. We enter a new plenum, a realm that may have been previously unimaginable.
Here, at last, we can rest, as we did at first. No need to effort to create or re-create ourselves. We experience the wisdom of a force much greater than our little selves. We learn again to trust the intelligence that works through us. Perhaps, we become clearer vehicles for its expression in the process.
Returning to a presence we once knew in the early formative waters of the womb, we can be. We can take joy in the constant change that is life. We can embrace our dynamic aliveness. As we do, we may be perturbed by old trauma patterns rising to the surface, as if wanting to partake of the feast, to be nourished, to be seen, to be loved.
Our challenge is to resist the temptation focus in on the patterns. As we continue to practice resting in the space between, these patterns seem less binding and less bound. We can observe them as they begin to morph, dissolving in the greater sea of being. From this place, anything is possible! Like the little embryo in the womb, we have seemingly infinite potential to develop.
When we rest, our perception shifts. Our vistas expand as the smallest, most subtle spaces between come into view. The space between each cell, between each organelle within each cell, all offering complex worlds of interaction and potential. Our inner ocean expands, as we resonate on a deep, cellular level with the origin of being, the source from which we emerge. We become conscious representatives of the mystery of life.
Welcome back to being.