Finding a real way forward in life always begins with a question, or at least a recognition of not knowing the way.
Perhaps our individual way forward in these confusing times could be found by genuinely asking the question 'Am I missing something obvious?
As we find ourselves navigating dramatic change, amidst seemingly insoluble, entangled and rigid challenges, it is becoming clear that each individual has made many wrong turns and missed much key learning along the way. How have individual choices combined to create so much imbalance, that is now reducing biodiversity and poisoning the soil, water and air, in order to feed humans, the livestock we consume and the machines we rely upon?
Where did it all go wrong?
Could there be something vital we each have failed to notice…..something incredibly simple, obvious and practically applicable - that anyone could do?
Could the solutions we each seek be right under one's nose?
Could we ditch the complicated stories that leave people exposed to deceit, corruption and confusion? Do we need self appointed experts? How can they help solve wicked problems that, by definition, no ‘expert’ can solve?
As we find ourselves backed into a corner with threats, fear and wrong thinking, is there a way through that doesn’t involve more destruction?
The simple thing that I see near everyone missing is choosing ‘space’.
Despite the desire for peace, most still create conflict, is this because most have forgotten how to access the seeds of real peace.
Peace can only grow when rooted in the silence and stillness of ‘space’.
Because it is only through ‘space’ that people can truly relate and begin to better understand themselves and how to connect harmoniously with others.
It seems absurd that to truly bring people closer together they must create space between themselves. Yet this is the only way to remove the disharmonious division between individuals, created and fed by the vanity and ignorance of each individuals preconceived ideas and faulty assumptions.
When someone gets pulled into the drama and noise within themselves and the myriad of distractions available 24/7 in the world, they lose their frame of reference, they lose perspective, proportion and the capacity to see, think, learn, receive intuitive insights, understand and ultimately evolve into greater harmony.
When one loses the capacity to experience a balanced perspective, proportionality, learning, understanding and evolution, it’s because they have descended into the noise. They have disconnected from the space that allows one to relate effectively to ‘other’, they have lost the capacity to truly see.
Many talk about unity and being ‘in this together’ but without space it is impossible to be in anything together. It is only through space that we can recognise, relate, co-operate and harmonise with others.
We’ve all felt the need for space, breathing room and peace during our lives, but how can we access it and how could this create the solutions to the seemingly endless problems we are currently facing?
Space is silent stillness. It is not some difficult mystical state only available to those who dedicate their lives to sitting cross legged on a mountain top.
Space is available to everyone all of the time.
It’s simple to access….in fact you can’t get through a day without experiencing it repeatedly, but all too often it passes by without notice. The major key here is in deciding to access space
Choosing to access space allows us to access the solutions we need, because it allows an individual to let go of all the repetitive, dead end thinking that keeps them going around in circles. Space allows someone to step outside of what they currently believe.
Space allows room for new ideas, new perspectives and new ways forward to ‘drop in’. Space allows room for answers to emerge from beyond your limited self. When someone creates space - they immediately realise that there is always a way forward.
An easy way to generate some space is when speaking to someone. In a conversation, when you would normally feel the urge to respond, or reply to what is being said, take a moment to pause, let your response go, (don’t try and hold onto it or remember it, no matter how much you value it, or want to say it), then allow room for another response to emerge - perhaps you may even decide not to respond at all. Nearly every time you do this, you will respond differently and more harmoniously - because you created room for an actual conversation to take place. This creates greater understanding, connection, intimacy and harmony.
Space can also be created through reflection and contemplation. Something that the constant noise and busy-ness of the world around us distracts us from.
When you are facing a problem for which there seems to be no immediate solution, allow yourself to ‘not know’ the way forward, let go of all the dead end solutions you have come up with so far and give yourself some room, into which ideas you have never had before can ‘pop up’
Imagine you have a freezer full of food, or a wardrobe full of clothes, a drawer full of odds’n’sods, or a shed/garage rammed with ‘stuff’. Somewhere in one of these rammed storage units, is the item you need, yet there is not enough space available to look around and find it. In order for these storage units to be useful there must be enough space to actually see what is in them. The ‘stuff’ here represents all the noise going on within our own self - some of it may well be useful, but most of it is not. When you remove a load of stuff, suddenly you can easily find the real treasure you are looking for.
What we needed in the above example was not more stuff (noise) but more space, to see what was already there.
If every individual dedicated some time to creating a bit of space, whether that be in their physical homes, (through a good spring clean and sort out), day to day decisions, conversations and reflections, perhaps great progress could be made in the world.
Nature invites us into deeper connection. Natural environments are filled with unfurling proportionate patterns, ever changing harmonious colours and crucially - balance, despite the constant change that occurs in the cycle of life. Nature knows a thing or two about space and the emergence of harmony in relationships. Spend plenty of time in nature during these restless times and perhaps you too will find a way forward that you hadn’t thought of before.
Now more than before we need to connect with space and natural environments, so that we may better connect with our self and one another.
Before you react to media stories and to other people’s opinions, before you respond in conversation, or before you make decisions at work - pause, let your reaction, response, or decision go and see what emerges in the space you create. See if you can learn, understand, grow and evolve into greater harmony through accessing space.
In the words of a lesser known wise man Arthur Norris:
'The way forward is always simple, obvious and feels right'.
No-one needs complicated ways forward right now. Harmony and true progress only ever emerge from simple, actionable steps made by individuals.
Nature could teach individuals how to do this if they were truly willing to learn. Maybe then more individuals could let go of ignorance and work together to create truly good things, perhaps then greater peace may be possible.
Find out more about Arthur Norris' and other wisdom teachings through the work of Richard Abbott here: https://www.thehermitage.org.uk/