If you've been on the London subway, you've heard that oh-so-polite voice urging you to "please mind the gap," between the train and the platform as you're about to step off. Those words are fitting for my latest topic -- nothingness ... no-thingness ... the void ... the space between ... the gap.
Every now and then we find ourselves in a gap: A place where something has ended and nothing else has yet begun. Maybe you've lost your job, have just ended a relationship, moved to a different city, just graduated from college, someone close has died. These are the biggies. Suddenly there is a void in your life -- where there was once a lot of activity, suddenly there is nothing and you don't know what to do with yourself. It's very common to rush to fill that space -- with anything, with anyone. We are uncomfortable with nothingness, with waiting, with silence. But Osho puts it beautifully: nothingness is not just nothing – it is all. It is vibrant with possibilities. It is absolute potential.
Our yoga practice gives us lots of opportunities to "mind the gap." We start out small, in the space between the breath. At first just watching, then maybe experimenting with expanding that space. There is a gap when we are holding a posture -- we've done the work to get in, and now we're just hanging out there. Can you just be in that space as you are, or do you start wondering when it will be over and what will be next? There is the gap that I force you to take between poses to breathe, feel, and be aware of how the posture has affected you on various levels. All of this practice on a small scale gets you ready for the bigger gap of savasana and meditation. And that in turn is practice for being in the gaps of life.
If you can simply "be" -- without rushing to fill empty space with words or busyness -- you allow for the flow of creative potential. You allow time to get to know yourself and what you'd really like to do next. You allow life to unfold ... you allow the universe to present you with a gift that meets your needs, rather than rushing out and grabbing anything you can get ahold of, regardless of whether it's a good fit. Again, Osho puts it beautifully: All you can do now is to relax into this nothingness. Fall into this silence between the words. Watch the gap between the outgoing and incoming breath. And treasure each empty moment of the experience ... Something sacred is about to be born.