Space Awareness: A Simple Practice for Dissolving Stress and Anxiety

Space Awareness - Simple Practice for Dissolving Worry, Stress and Pain

By Tomasz Kopec, MD

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Space Identity

You may have heard that every atom is mostly empty space. But have you ever thought it also applies to you. I mean, there is a lot of empty space inside your physical body. The fact is that we are mostly space — we just do not see it in this way.

This is a similar illusion to that of the Sun and other stars appearing to circulate around our planet. You know that if you jumped on a space ship you would see that the Earth is not in the centre of the Universe. In the same way if you looked at any solid object through a quantum microscope you would see it is really made of space. The only problem is that you are tuned to notice differences and to ignore space. But there is a reason for it.

Space has no taste, not texture, no smell and we cannot see it. We do not have receptors to notice or perceive space. However space is as real as everything else and we cannot deny it. Without space there would be only one solid object and we would not be able to move. Without space entire human race would fit in volume of a sugar cube and we would be stuck one on another. So space is essential, but it cannot be noticed. We can only be aware that space exists.

Space Awareness Exercise

Now look at your right hand and realize that your hand is full of space inside and between atoms. Your hand is also surrounded by space (which seems more obvious).

Now move your hand a few inches to the left.

Ok, you moved atoms of your body but what has happened to the space inside and between them.

Has it moved? Can space move when it is not an object?

You can imagine that space inside and outside of you is like a still background, which cannot be moved. It means that from the atoms point of view they stay still to each other but space around them is moving. For me it feels as though I was completely transparent and very light.

Just try it.

Space Awareness and the Alpha Frequency

Dr. Lester Fehmi neuroscientist and psychologist from Princeton discovered a very interesting fact, which is directly linked to space awareness. According to Dr. Fehmi when we become aware of space, which is between and within objects our brain, electrical activity slows down and becomes synchronous in alpha frequency. It brings a feeling of deep relaxation and stimulates the para-symphatetic (rest and digest) part of our autonomic system.

Dr. Fehmi created a series of mind exercises, which help to experience it. The main challenge in Dr. Fehmi’s exercises is realisation that there is is nothing to be felt in space and there is no need to keep trying. Everyone has a moment of realisation that whenever s/he senses something, which might be space, s/he is wrong because it cannot be that. The only solution is to stop wasting time on trying to sense space and let it go. It makes the practice effortless and very effective at the same time.

When you practice awareness of space, the feeling deepens in the way that during the exercise you feel borders of your body become blurred and you are not sure where you start and where you end. It comes with gentle experience of feeling lighter, softer and brighter. After the exercise you find it easier to enjoy and immerse with any activity you perform and physical exercises are much easier. You feel fresher, more relaxed and energised at the same time.

With regular practice people feel that they become something bigger than their mind and their body. I mean you are still aware of who you are but you feel expanded beyond it. Whatever happens in the mind (worries, problems, excitements) emerges from the vast space you are always aware of, is surrounded and permeated by space and dissolves in space and this process continues (e.g. you are not hooked to one obsessive thought for the whole day). It is because worrying thoughts are not stuck in the centre of your attention. You have the ability to see what is happening around them and you can see through them. You are aware of the background of things and you see that there is a lot of love and peace around you all the time.

I have been practicing space awareness for last 5 years. There are still busy days when the world grabs me with its constant buzz and overwhelms me with its affairs. I shrink my mind to a small piece of reality being fully focused on problems to solve and issues to address. However, it takes less and less effort to expand again and feel the vastness of space not divided by any borders. It naturally makes a worry, stress and physical pain very easy to dissolve.

You can try a simple exercise to experience for yourself how space awareness and diffusing attention feels like from here.

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About the author:

Tomasz KopecFrom Tomasz Kopec MD: I enjoy helping people and making the Universe a happier place. Fortunately, I work as a family doctor and this is a part of my job description. For many years I had some questions at the back of my mind, like: what is happiness, what is love, who we are, where we go after death, where this all suffering is coming from…? I have been a regular meditator since I was a teenager (mostly Zen tradition) and I was searching for answers in my head and in my heart.

My turning point was reading a book The Open Focus Brain by Dr. Lester Fehmi. He runs a neurofeedback clinic for attention disorders at Princeton, New Jersey, US. I enrolled an Open Focus workshop and I became a true enthusiast of Dr. Fehmi’s approach. I love it because it beautifully connects the western scientific way of thinking with far east approach to reality. It also gives a very simple, practical solutions to a physical pan, anxiety, insomnia, creativity etc. I would like to make Open Focus a lot more recognizable because it is worth it!

To learn more about Open Focus, visit:

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