The Gap

There is a Gap between thinking and feeling and another between feeling and
speaking or acting. When you experience whatever triggers you, your response may happen so quickly that you’re completely unaware that there is a Gap. But there is one. Bringing our attention to the Gap and opening ourselves to it can help us find comfort when we’re in emotional pain, find direction when we feel lost and help us to not respond with anger.
What exactly is the Gap? Think of it as an emptiness, a void. A short moment where we exist without emotion, thought or personality. This empty space is our entryway to infinite knowledge and information. It’s the entryway between acting from anxiety, fear or stress and acting from our true nature. The Gap is a break in the mental loop of our habitual thinking and behaving. It can be, if we allow ourselves to enter, the moment between confusion and clarity. When I finished writing the poem She, I focused on my breathing and let go of the poem. As my mind stilled I opened myself to the Gap. My intuition immediately kicked in and said clearly; It’s not ready, put it aside.  So I did. A month later a friend proofed it and gave me exactly what it needed. The Gap is not the intuition or the information. The Gap is the space between the writing and getting the intuition.
My friend’s brother died unexpectedly and he was grief-stricken. I wanted so badly to comfort him but was at a complete loss for words. After wrestling with it all day I thought of the Gap. I set my intention: Please give me the words to comfort my friend. Then I let the intention go and meditated for a few minutes. For the next two days I meditated to quiet my mind and repeated my intention before I went to sleep, when I woke and as often as I remembered during the day. Always trusting that the words would come. And they did. We went to my friend’s home for a condolence call and as we were leaving he said: The hardest part was watching them put him in the ground and then start putting dirt on him. I replied: It wasn’t him, it was only his body. I could feel a shift in his energy and he smiled, a genuine heartfelt smile and grabbed my hand. These aren’t the right words for everyone who has lost a loved one, but they were the right words for him.
Bob and I were planning on having dinner with someone who in the past had been intensely vocal about her disdain for our choices. We knew that there was much more to her than this judgmental behavior and wanted to connect with the kind, loving side of her hiding somewhere in her heart. Again I wrestled with different options until I thought of the Gap. I set my intention: I want the three of us to have a pleasant non-stressful evening. Let it go and meditated for a few moments. Then the answer came to me and I sent her a text: After having a crazy hectic week we are so looking forward to spending time with you and just relax! To do that we’re setting some conversation ground rules. No talking about: ———. Can you agree to our boundaries? We hope that you can so that we can have a fun night together. Love, Us. She agreed and we had an evening that we all enjoyed.
We humans are creatures of habit. Whether it’s a healthy habit like regular exercise or a not so healthy one like overindulging. Our habits are about more than physical routines; they’re also about mental ones. If as a child you were often criticized and that criticism led you to feel unworthy, no matter what your accomplishments you will likely continue that thought and emotional stream into life as an adult. Even when we know that our thoughts or behaviors aren’t rational or beneficial, it can be extremely challenging to change them. Learning about the Gap can help.
Connecting to the Gap can’t be forced or willed into action; it has to be allowed. And the way to allow it is with a quiet mind. When a challenging situation arises these meditation steps can help you connect:
1. Focus on your breath, in and out.
2. Recognize what you’re feeling. Fear, anger, uncertainty?
3. Recognize what you’re thinking.
4. Recognize how your body is reacting to the situation. Where are you feeling tense?
5. Accept that these are your feelings thoughts and body sensations and sit with them.
6. Just keep sitting with these things and focusing on your breathing.
As you continue with your breathing there will be a moment when all thoughts and feelings will disappear. It may only last a fraction of a second but this is your conscious connection to the Gap. The more that you practice this meditation, the more aware you’ll become of your natural connection to the Gap and the deeper it will become.

7 Comments:

  1. The Gap is a great key to peace of mind for ourselves and those around us. We control our own actions instead of being controlled by anyone who triggers us. Using the Gap prevents a lot of misunderstanding and regret.

    It takes practice, though, to break away from knee-jerk reactions. I’m working on it! Thank you, Victoria.

  2. I love the remark you gave to your friend, that is so true. I have begun to meditate more and also think before a respond to someone.

  3. Victoria, beautiful. I do something like that, but I like the way you describe it. Thanks for a powerful post! You are awesome!

  4. Thanks for this post, Victoria. I have recently went through anger and mindless reactivity. But I have also experienced the Gap. The latter is much better of course. At the same time I’m learning to accept my humanity and that I am not perfect and I sometimes get angry

  5. Thanks for all the great ideas to focus, meditate, and avoid stress.

  6. OK, this is a comment from somebody who shops for clothes at the GAP, so pardon me if any of what I’m saying sounds ignorant.
    I love your response about your friend’s brother being buried. I had a hard time thinking about my Grandfather (the first loved one I lost) lying in his grave as it got cold and rainy.

    Question: I had an encounter with a stranger on broad daylight. He grabbed my butt and said something like “hey, gorgeous, let’s go and have a drink, how about it?” I felt like I was taking off, I was so outraged and angry that – I felt – I couldn’t think. I raised my hand and stopped half an inch before his cheek. I hissed at him “what do you think you’re doing, don’t you ever do that to me or any other person, understand?”

    He ducked and disappeared. For a moment I felt like a superhero. After my adrenaline subsided, however, I was shaking, and I thought “was that smart? I had no idea I could react so strongly. What about if the same happened in a dark alley, and the guy had a knife?” So my question to you is: where was the gap in this situation?

  7. So true. Feeling the gap is a great place to be. Your thoughts are beautifully shared in your article.

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