In this new year, one of my intentions is to be more present. In the book How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness; one of the chapters speaks of looking at the space between things. How many of us do this? Realizing I never do, I took the time to observe the other day, while I waited for my son to meet me for lunch. I noticed the space between the leaves of a Palo Verde tree—desert tree with tiny leaves—and it gave me a different perspective. It’s hard to describe the space around something. It takes practice to see the space. The supporting actor reluctantly comes forward, taking a much-deserved bow; always allowing the leaf to stand out. Without the space between the leaves, you wouldn’t see the leaves. After studying the objects around me—especially the living objects—I noticed a vibration. Subtle, the space beamed a little bit. I think it winked at me.
Several years ago, I learned a drawing technique where you draw the spaces around an object. After trying this method, I was pleased to see how it actually resembled the object. The lesson then had me draw the same object, only I was to avoid looking at the spaces. Ha! It wasn’t as accurate. Funny how the brain works. Curious, I tried it again this morning— a simple sketch while only looking at the spaces around my glasses– kind of like those magic eye pictures where the photo turns into a 3D picture once you look beyond the actual photo.
Now, move this idea to the thoughts in your mind. Notice the space between your thoughts. Notice the silence. This is being present.
“It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.”
― Charles de Lint
It takes practice to notice the space, but give it a go. Try the drawing practice or just simply observe the space between thoughts. Leave me a comment or show me your drawings…notice the spaces today.