Since I founded The Space Between Center for Creative Spirit in Business earlier this month, I’ve received a lot of questions asking about the thought behind the name. There’s a lot of thought behind the name, that’s for sure. I started working on the concept way back in early 2008. Much of the following essay was drafted back then (time flies) and was shared with a few friends. I pulled it up and made a few additions and corrections this evening.
Stillness is putting a muzzle on that monkey chattering in your mind long enough to hear the great ideas that come from somewhere else. We can call that somewhere else “God.” We can call it “the Universe.” For the sake of argument, I’ll call it “the Source.” Telling the voice in your head to shut up is one thing. Making it shut up or ignoring it until it shuts up out of frustration requires practice. That practice is the basis of meditation. Another way to think of this is what I call “The Space Between.”
There is an infinity in the space between breaths.
There is an infinity in the space between thoughts.
The wonderful ideas coming from that space are limitless. Picture a ruler or a number line from your days in grade school. On that ruler or number line, “1” is followed next by “2” then “3” and so on in both directions into infinity. Later, you learn about fractions like ¼, 1/3, ½, 2/3, ¾ and so on. Think about that. When you understand that the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and on are simply labels for concepts, and the same is true for each labeled fraction, then you understand that there is an infinity in the space between each number or fraction. More importantly, there is an infinity between each label we choose to put on numbers.
The infinity in the space between doesn’t apply just to numbers; it applies to anything you can label. Logically then, the space between is infinitely more abundant than anything we have or can label. This is why examining two words, phrases, or concepts that generally do not work together is such a great creative tool – examining the space between things that we don’t even associate with one another creates something I like to think of as a “bigger infinity” in the space between. You could also think of it as a “richer” infinity for great ideas, because like a riverbed that has never been explored, a virgin piece of farmland, or an isolated lake in Canada, it’s resources have not been mined by other folks for their own purposes.
When you understand the concept of “The Space Between” then you will never again think there is a scarcity of ideas, time, money or anything our minds can conceive. If there is an infinity around everything, how can there be a limitation of anything?
If you’re stumped, you just haven’t mined enough of the infinite number of spaces between thoughts, words, actions, feelings, senses, or labels.
In the quiet infinities between thoughts we find inspired ideas.
The space between is not empty. In the space between, the first occupants one generally encounters are the archetypes programmed into every human from the beginning of time. Those archetypes are described in different ways. Joseph Campbell talked of them in his famous works including The Hero’s Journey and The Power of Myth. The Hero’s Journey inspired George Lucas’s storyline for Star Wars. The hero’s journey is the outline of the human spiritual journey toward enlightenment and is found in practically every culture in our world, across time and space, in a virtually identical pattern. The hero hears a call to adventure, denies that call, experiences an event that requires him to engage in the journey anyway, finds a mentor, faces the challenge, gains possession of the goal of the journey, then fights his way back home where his knowledge and experience are eventually embraced for the benefit of the group. The trump cards of a tarot deck (called “major arcana”) also depict the hero’s journey through the archetypes of human existence in the space between where we were before we were born and the place to which we are all eventually bound.
Some people find the quiet in the space between to be a wonderful place to “receive” guidance. Many successful songwriters, novelists, journalists, visual artists, and speakers describe this experience as something close to “channeling” the message or other content from a larger collective creative source. To tap in, they just had to get their egos out of the way and listen to receive the creative flow. This type of receiving takes many names, from “inspiration,” which is how the church attributes divine authorship to the books of the Bible, to the “Spirit Guides” of tribal cultures, to the “Holy Guardian Angel” of new age spirituality, and the angelic visitations as described in the Old and New Testament and Islam. Many people all over the world claim these angelic visitations happen every day, and we can’t disprove those claims.
We’ve all had incredibly realistic dreams that seemed to be giving us messages. We’ve all had wonderfully creative ideas “come to us” as we are in the space between waking up and sleeping either at night or in the morning. We’ve all had moments of déjà vu. These are all experiences of finding the stillness in the space between thoughts. It doesn’t matter what label you place on the experience, or to what source you attribute the inspiration. The one thing that matters in the creative process is that you allow yourself to step out of controlling the process and allow yourself to surrender to receiving the inspirations that originate in the spaces between.
This concept is not just a Western thought. Verse 11 of the Tao Te Ching states:
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it’s the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
The space between is not only infinite, it’s useful.
These are the core reasons I founded The Space Between Center for Creative Spirit in Business. We all have ideas. We can reach our potential through creative business. To connect those two potentials, one must pass through The Space Between.
But, for those of you who want an easier and more modern answer, take a listen to The Space Between by The Dave Matthews Band. Here are some of the lyrics:
The Space Between
The tears we cry
Is the laughter keeps us coming back for more…
The Space Between
Where you’re smiling high
Is where you’ll find me if I get to go…
Take my hand
‘Cause we’re walking out of here
Oh, right out of here
Love is all we need here…