A sense of spaciousness is one aspect of experience that can make a huge difference to what it is like being us.
Spaciousness is different when relating to different aspects of being, but it’s a really helpful thing to cultivate in practice. It creates a sense that we have more room to process, connect or play with things in experience, rather than being overwhelmed, clouded or incredibly attached to things.
Spaciousness on a micro level feels like the space that makes up the majority of an atom. Or the split second either side of a moment that is just before and just after a moment.
It’s like the nothing that has to be there in order for the something to exist in and grow into it. It’s one of the building blocks of experience or life. You cannot have space without solid or solid without space.
I think that this aspect of experience is sometimes confused with emptiness. Emptiness is more like a way you can experience reality, what I am calling spaciousness is more like an aspect of reality.
You can use each part of experience to tune in to different ways of perceiving and experiencing spaciousness:
Body – imagine you can feel all the atoms that build our physical reality and then feel into the sense of just the space that makes up a large proportion of those atoms
Heart – visualise your heart space and feel into what that feels like. Focusing on things that you appreciate – cultivating a sense of gratitude – can help open this up.
Mind – expand your sense of awareness so that it goes beyond your physical body, to the edge of the room, to the size of your town or city or as far as you can go. See if you can contact boundless awareness. Notice what this perspective of expansion does to your experience.
Soul – take some time to feel into what spaciousness means to you. Whether it means opportunity, fresh air, less contraction, lightness etc. See if you can identify this in your body and experience.
As well as using these aspects of experience as a foundation for tuning into spaciousness, we can also use spaciousness as a foundation to tune in to the other aspects of experience. To do it this way around we use allowing as a concentration object.
This is a lot easier if we are in a held-space where the allowing is being modelled to us.
Body – we are accessing our direct sensate experience and concentrating on allowing the body to do and be whatever it wants
Heart – we are creating space for us to feel how we feel
Mind – we are allowing ourselves to think whatever we think
Soul – we are accessing our emotions and stories, perhaps through imaginal practice, and allowing things to show themselves to us.
The purpose is to create a space where these parts of experience are free to express themselves, by concentrating on allowing and making space for anything that comes up.
Spaciousness is really the key to a lot of awakening. The more space we can access for things to naturally express themselves, the less contraction we have.
We can create this space on our own in our practice, but we can also hold it for each other. Being in a safe, loving, held space is the fast-track to opening to new parts of our experience and awakening.