The Spaces In Between

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

~T.S. Eliot

Have you ever noticed that as humans we tend to focus on the tangible; the object, the sound, the smell, the taste, the texture and never the spaces in between that give the objects their shape?

My eyes read the lines of text in a book or on a computer screen, but what lies in the spaces in between the text? For it is only by including those spaces that we can form words and sentences.

My ears hear the drum beats in the music playing on the radio – but what is it that is not heard in the silences; those spaces in between; those pauses in the music without which there would be no music, just a continual cacophony of noise?

My mouth tastes the food that is placed into it; it chews and swallows, but there is a moment, just before I swallow when I am neither chewing nor swallowing, and without that pause there would be no differential between the two.

And when it comes to breathing, what exists in the instant between the exhalation and the inhalation; that pause where I am not breathing but transitioning from one to the other?

Perhaps, once upon a time, mankind actually paid attention to the spaces in between.  Perhaps we listened to the silences and read between the lines.  Perhaps we once saw the beauty in emptiness; in the space where something could be, but was not; and felt with our hearts the pure power of potentiality.

But somewhere along the line we became obsessed with filling up the spaces.  I don’t care if it’s in traffic or in conversation; in home decorating or in our belief systems; for some reason we feel that those spaces just have to be filled.

Maybe we feel that by filling up the spaces we can reassure ourselves of our own solidity (when in truth, physics dictates that we are anything but).

Perhaps it is because in filling the silences we no longer have to listen to that inner voice that tells us that we are more than this shell of a body; that there is more to life than this physical reality.

And perhaps the true mystery of life lies not in the knowing and the becoming – but in the spacesin between; in the silences of the symphony; in the darkness behind our eyes when we blink; in the blinding moment of sexual release when the world shrinks away to a pinpoint and everything else ceases to exist; in the pauses between heartbeats when we can feel the true nature of who and what we really are.

Consider that it may be in the not-doing that the secrets of the universe lay; in the non-tangible that the truth of reality waits patiently to be discovered.

And perhaps, just perhaps in learning how to read between the lines; in learning how to listen to the silences between the sounds, in pausing between heartbeats to appreciate those moments when we don’t exist; perhaps then and there we will find what we’ve been looking for and in so doing become so much more than we could ever have imagined.



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