A friend had some questions about space:
I notice that the noticing of Space happens in the mind. This happens in space but also the noticing of space happens in the mind somehow. What is this about? Is this because of the identification with mind?
Also I remember discussing with you once that it makes sense to say that nothingness is seen in the mind but its spaciousness is experienced in the heart area. I'm getting an inkling of that but there's some confusion because anything that appears anywhere, appears in space. In other words whatever the experience in the chest area is it comes and goes in space.
And finally what is seen as annoying is that in order for space to be acknowedged there has to be like a mental remembering about space and its being here always. Is this again down to the fact that Space has not really come into the foreground of life yet?
Here is what I wrote back:
Your questions are very good ones. Space is a fundamental quality of everything, just like awareness and oneness are fundamental qualities. It is a quality of the ultimate mystery beyond all qualities. You could say that which is aware is also by nature spacious or empty.
And so you can experience space everywhere and anywhere: in the mind, in the heart, or all around you in the room. There are differences you can discriminate in how space is experienced in different parts of your being. In the mind, awareness and space both become fairly contracted and focused generally, but there can be experiences of an opened mind that feel very spacious, especially in comparison to the usual way awareness is contracted in the mind. We are very conditioned to identify with and localize our identity in the head or mind, so it can often feel like the awareness of anything including space is happening in the mind. It is still the same space that is aware, whether it is located in the mind or in the Heart or in the entire room.
In contrast the Heart is generally a more open channel for awareness and therefore it feels more spacious a lot of the time when your awareness is localized or assembled in the Heart. However the Heart is also more sensitive to the degree of truth in every experience, so the Heart will also more exquisitely feel the contraction when someone lies or acts with little or no awareness and love. So in this sense the awareness you experience when resting in the Heart is more directly discriminating of the context of each experience, while the mind is more directly discriminating of the content of experience. Both are necessary and good, but the Heart is a better overall guide because it is responding more to the whole truth of this moment, and not so much to just the details of this moment.
That is perhaps why space is experienced as nothingness by the mind. Because the mind is focused on details or content of experience, it looks at empty space and sees no content or details. So it decides that is just nothing! In contrast the Heart sees the same emptiness and notices how big and soft and spacious and allowing it all is. The Heart sees the context of space and therefore notices the amazing qualities of space itself. The Heart does not really think about all of this as much as it just directly tastes it.
You are correct that in order for there to be a conscious recognition of space, at first there needs to be a mental remembering or conceptualization of space. That is fine as long as it also leads to a direct experiencing of the space that is here right now which is not really conceptual and is much more real than our concepts. With time, there is less and less need to think about it so much. It is like how after a while you can drive a car without thinking about it, and you just naturally respond to the conditions on the road. Eventually, there is a sense of the emptiness or space without thinking much about it. Again you just taste it and even chew on it, savor it, enjoy it, and then wash it down with some sweet love. You can even become a connoisseur of the many flavors and tastes of space! Dark space, bright space, foggy space, clear space, soft space, alive space, silent space, deep space, and more!
And beyond that is the recognition that space is not just something you experience, it is what you actually are. You are the space that is reading these words. Or more accurately, you are the source of the space that these words appear in and you are the source of the awareness that is seeing them on the page. The source of space itself cannot be described or conceptualized, so we settle for describing it's most subtle expressions or qualities like space and awareness. What beautiful expressions they are! This whole universe is one big spacious, alive, aware mystery that is living your life and mine and everyone else's. That is what has always been happening. Why not become as familiar with it as a connoisseur of fine wines is familiar with the many flavors of wine? Care for another glass of silence? Or how about a taste of some really dry emptiness? It is always a good year for the vintners of space!