Anger-ManagementWhat is Space as it relates to the mind?

Spaciousness is best defined as being open. It is true stability in any situation in life. Having an open mind is crucial to self-discovery, and being open to change means creating space for all experiences without allowing our reactions to govern them.

Imagine getting a flat tire on the way to work. This new, unexpected change can lead to immediate stress and anger. Not only are you temporarily stranded, you are also going to be late to work. Your first reaction is to worry and be anxious. Being open to change, however, means understanding that certain things in life are completely out of our control. We must face challenges thrown to us in a positive, open way. As anxious thoughts take over, we can just remember to breathe, find the best possible solution to our challenge, and then move on. Moving on means we are open to a new, most likely better experience; instead of letting the flat tire ruin the entire day. That is an example of creating space for conflict…

Spaciousness still applies even when the challenges life throws at us are negative people. We need to apply spaciousness to the thoughts we direct to others; meaning when someone makes you angry, jealous, or stressed out, instead of closing yourself off and filing your reaction to them away as just a nuisance, try to open yourself up to the conflict. Pause and reflect on the reason this person bothers you. Instead of just filing your emotional response away, or worse, react blindly to it in anger, address it head on. As we discussed before, if you feel angry at someone, try not to simply associate anger with that person. Think of the anger you feel as just an emotion inside you. The negative energy you feel is not necessarily coming from that person. Sure, he or she may have problems and they may be the root of the negative experience you are having, but you are reacting to the situation based on your own issues and preconceived ideas. When anger, envy, or anxiety arises, let it be a mental trigger of self-awareness.  Open up to the conflict and make space for it. Feel compassion for the person causing irritation and for the experience, and in doing so, you will make the space to step back and analyze why you feel a negative reaction. Upon analyzing your feelings, you detach yourself from the initial experience. You can face that person causing conflict again feeling more relaxed and composed. You may even find the event somewhat humorous. In any event, you will be open to a new experience instead of being stuck thinking about the old one that made you anxious or angry.

Spaciousness asks us to turn toward conflict rather than rejecting it. It’s okay if you don’t have the answers about the source of your reactions and feelings right away. No one has all the answers. Just make space for the answers. We just need to make a space in our massive collection of neurons for our new and continuing self-awareness. The point is to not react blindly. It is to address negative emotions head-on, to breathe, and to make space for all experiences we encounter, good or bad. Spaciousness brings its own inspiration. When you least expect it, an inner voice will add clarity and give you the answers you seek. By simply accepting spaciousness and being open, you have gained an awareness that is the first step to enlightenment.


John C. Bader

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