The Gap Ocean Waves

There seems to be an underlying wanting for things to be fast in our lives. We get frustrated when our Internet connection slows, when it takes too many rings until someone answers the phone, when traffic isn’t moving quickly enough, when a delivery isn’t “on time.” I notice my frustration and often feel helpless, upset or just angry. Through my yoga practice I’ve come to understand that this is my “thrown” reaction to what’s occurring. I mean by this that I’m simply reacting without an opportunity to choose how to be in the situation. In the moment I notice the automaticity of how I’m wired to react, in the pause that’s created at that instant, I notice that I actually have a choice. An unfamiliar and seemingly impossible alternative requiring taking a step off of the base that’s familiar, albeit unsatisfying, but which offers a new possibility. Victor Frankl referred to this gap as a space:

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

 

When I sit in meditation I take the time to notice my breath, thoughts, and sensations. Slowly, and not always, I begin to distinguish these spaces and openings for discovery of what wasn’t apparent an instant earlier. During an asana practice, when focusing on the components of any pose, every so often I discover something new in my body, a space that wasn’t there until I noticed it. Something shifts and the pose is never quite the same. How different from moving through a practice too quickly. Bringing right effort and mindfulness transforms the experience of the same pose done countless times before.