Once I was on a walk observing nature and it occurred to me that it might be a helpful practice to talk from the place of space and silence rather than that which divides it. As a result, we would place ourself in what I like to refer to as “space consciousness.” We might say something like, “I like the way the space is divided by the shape of the branches.”
Consequently, we would be centering attention on the space rather than the object of “tree.”
Space and Object Consciousness
In order to help make sense of this, lets consider the difference between “space” and “object” consciousness. When we focus attention on any object it engages the sympathetic nervous system, and in turn, activates the “fight or flight” response. Bodily changes occur that prepare us to run away or stay and fight the perceived threat.
As vision narrows on a specific object, the heart rate increases and high volumes of blood are diverted to the muscular system and away from the non-vital systems in the moment, such as the immune and digestive systems.
Indeed, what good would it do to invest energy into digesting food if our life was about to end? The purpose of this phenomenon is to help protect the body to “live to fight another day,” so to speak. Therefore, when we focus on an object, it places us in object consciousness because the energy needs to be diverted in the way that would best suit the organism.
That is what consciousness does, it directs energy.
After a perceived threat goes away, our attention typically focuses outward once again, to a more generalized perception of the environment. In turn, we are then focusing more on the space that contains all objects, the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged, the heart rate slows down, and blood flows more evenly to all systems of the body as the “stand down, all is well” response kicks in. The purpose of this phenomenon is so that our system as a whole doesn’t become overtaxed. Stress is often referred to as the “silent killer,” as it keeps the body in a state of overdrive, leading to chronic health problems and ill health. In summary, when we are in object consciousness, also referred to as “ego” consciousness, the body is in a state of alarm, but when we are in space consciousness it is in a state of rest.
Overarching and Underlying Influence
I would like to consider what is meant by “overarching” influence in our life. With regards to consciousness and the functioning of the human nervous system, the space and silence in our experience is the overarching wholeness that contains every”thing,” with the space containing all objects and the silence containing all sound. It could be argued that sound is another object because it is made up of vibrating energy, and according to quantum physics, everything in the known universe is made up of nothing more than vibrating energy. Therefore, for the purpose of this particular exposition, I am going to include space and silence in the same category, a sort of space-silence continuum if you will.
Now, turning to the “underlying” influence in our life in relation to the nervous system and human consciousness, space consciousness is the state we find ourselves in when we place attention on space-silence. It is the underlying wholeness that pervades everything. When we are in space consciousness we feel connected to source energy, whereas, when we are in object consciousness we feel separate from it. This is why some say that “ego” stands for “edge God out.”
Space Consciousness is God Consciousness
When we are in object consciousness that the ego is active, and it becomes the “doer.” When we are in space consciousness, which has also been referred to as “Krishna,” “Buddha,” “Christ,” and “God” consciousness, there is no doer. Instead, there is only what is happening, and it is happening in the now. Furthermore, only right action happens in the absolute present moment, with no egoic involvement whatsoever.
I realize that last part appears to be quite a leap. However, when we are acting in the now, it can’t be anything but “right” action, because it happens in the midst of the flow of life according to what the contextual situation is calling for.
Going With the Flow Equals Freedom
When we come from the ego, or object consciousness, we act counter to the flow of all that is (known as the “Tao” or “the way” in Buddhist literature). This is so is due to the nature of object consciousness itself. As stated earlier, object consciousness divides the space-silence, which provides us with an experience. This is “good” because it creates the change of form, which is life itself!
When we can look at life this way, as the play of form, and remain unattached to the form itself–which is not life but merely a reflection of it–we experience freedom. It is this freedom from attachment to form that places us in the state of space consciousness, and it is here we find “the peace that passeth all understanding,” as it was written in the Bible.
Fortunately, we can practice getting into space consciousness by beginning to talk in different ways. We can consider each event from the place of space-silence, and learn to speak from there. For example, we might say, “I like the way the notes of the music interrupt the silence.” Again, it puts the focus of attention on the absolute, on the silence that contains all sounds. And because we have our attention there, we are better able to remain unattached to the object, or in this case, the sound.
One Body, Mind and Spirit
What must be remembered in all of this is that we are actually never separated from source energy, as that is not possible. Indeed, according to modern science, not only is every”thing” nothing more than vibrating energy, including us, we are living in a “field of energy,” as it is proposed in quantum physics. Furthermore, since there are, in reality, no actual “things,” or objects, there is really only process occurring as we interact in the energy field around us.
This is the reason that it has been suggested for thousands of years that in truth, we are all one body, mind, and spirit, the body being perceived by mind and the spirit being the energy that pervades all that is. In other words, we are never separated from source energy. It is only in the mind in which we are separate. It is an idea only. By letting that idea drop away we are able to see clearly that we were never separate in the first place.