The Gap

Some meditation instructors talk about the gap, explaining you will find it in between inhales and exhales when you pay attention to your breath, or in between one thought and the next one when meditating, for instance. As you become familiar with this gap, sometimes the time spent on it increases and you can stay longer in those gaps the more you take time to enjoy them. Sometimes they seem to last forever, yet only a few seconds pass. Inside the gap you may find quietude and a deep sense of well-being, even restoring some energy in your body, helping you rest without the need for a snooze, in my opinion.

Yesterday while practicing yoga I found the gap without trying to. I was in a pose called Eka-Pada-Galavasana; it is an arm balance and I had never done it to the level I got yesterday. You are supposed to balance on your arms and lift up one leg back, which will float in the air. When I first encountered this pose, that seemed impossible, I would try it and laugh, imagining the logistics of how my leg could float back there by itself. So I would do my version of the pose, which was balancing but keeping legs close to my body; as soon as I tried to reach back with my leg, I would fall from the pose.

I have included in this post a picture of BKS Iyengar doing the pose, which is also called “Flying Pigeon”. His book Light on Yoga is marvelous at explaining asanas. I need to point out thaEka-Pada-Galavasana-BKSt in no ways I am saying that trying this pose will get you in the gap. In fact, any pose could, even sitting down or walking could take you there. But it is not a requirement; the meditative state is. So, I have the picture just so you know the difficulty of this pose for me. And what I meant by leg floating back while balancing in my arms. Although no one took a picture of me while in the pose yesterday (even to remind myself I can do it next time), BKS shows it well; the book is old, so the quality of the picture is not great, but you can get the idea.

Well, yesterday, once again I tried to extend the leg back. And, to my surprise, it went! And stayed! Then I found the gap! Maybe it lasted two or three seconds, but my leg was floating weightlessly, and my mind was clear and free of thoughts or judgments. It felt like my whole body was actually floating; so cool! When I came to senses again, I asked myself where I had been for the past moment, and the answer came easily: in the gap!

Here is the catch from enjoying the gap: you can only stay in it while you are not thinking… As soon as you realize you’re there, you think and then get snapped out of it. It’s pretty tricky! Here is an explanation from the Chopra Center website about the gap, if you are wondering what I am talking about:

“To answer your question, the term “gap” simply refers to a state of quiet, restful awareness in which you experience no thoughts about the past or future and are squarely in the present. Since there are no thoughts in the gap, as soon as you realize that you have been in this state of pure awareness, you have just drifted out of it, for the thought “I’m in the gap!” is the thought of the thinking mind. Most meditation techniques are focused on cultivating this state of expanded consciousness, whether through focusing on the breath, an object such as a candle, or a mantra.”

Another person’s view on the gap:

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you get in touch with the gap at some point today and enjoy it!


About thowling

Peace, love and light! Thereza Howling.
This entry was posted in Spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Gap

  1. Mrs Finkling says:

    awesome post – really like the idea of the ‘gap’ – its all about paying attention really isnt it?

  2. A Table in the Sun says:

    I’ve recently read The Presence Process which terms the gap as present moment awareness. I’ve been practicing for 6 months so far….learning to keep my mind from drifting to the past and the future. Not an easy habit to break after 55 years of thoughts that zoom, zoom, zoom. But the time and effort in meditation are so worth it.

    • thowling says:

      Thanks for sharing that book’s definition for gap; I believe the more ways we can explain things as abstract as this, the more people can start to grasp it.
      Have you been practicing every day? You know, it’s never too late to start! And it is totally worth it, I agree.

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