Spacious Mind Spacious Heart

Frans StieneArticles, English Leave a Comment


In many spiritual traditions, the essence of the mind/heart is symbolised by space. But why is this?

Our true mind/heart is a union with the universe. The universe has no beginning or end and therefore our mind/heart is as spacious as the universe. Space is a great metaphor because nothing sticks to space, we can not hurt space, space can not be damaged, and it can accommodate everything and anything.

When, through daily meditation practice, we start to remember our own spacious mind/heart, we will therefore become more accommodating to everybody. This in turn will increase our compassion. Often we are only compassionate to our family and friends; we are in a way narrow minded in our mind/heart. And as such, we can not accommodate more people, let alone accommodate animals, trees, you name it. 

But through consistent practice, our mind/heart will be so spacious that our compassion includes everything. Everything will become sacred and therefore everything will be treated with respect, kindness, compassion, and love.

Often people feel overwhelmed when helping or being compassionate to others, but that is because we do not have the energy which comes freely when our mind/heart is spacious. Imagine your mind/heart as spacious as the universe: everything is free flowing, and your energy is not stuck anymore by small minded concepts, attachments, fears, worry and jealousy. We have a tremendous amount of free flowing energy which we can utilize to be compassionate to everyone and everything, without feeling overwhelmed or burned out by our compassion.

And even if the person who we are compassionate to doesn’t say “thank you”, we will be okay with this. Most of the time we want something in return for being compassionate to others; however, that is not real compassion. When we want something back from the other, our giving has strings attached to it; the strings of the ego tie us to a narrow mind/heart. Real compassion has no strings attached at all – in fact we give with the mindset of a spacious mind/heart: no giver, nothing to give, and no receiver. Because when we are as spacious as the universe, we have the direct experience that everything is part of this universe, oneness; hence, no giver, no gift, or receiver. 

A spacious mind/heart is so important in our modern day world, as we get upset by so many small things which come our way. This happens because we have a narrow mind/heart full of anger, worry, or fear, to name but a few emotions we can let ourselves get stuck in. But with a spacious mind/heart nothing sticks! It is all okay.

These are just a few examples of why old spiritual traditions used the metaphor for space when pointing out our true mind/heart. However, if it is only an intellectual concept, then we do not embody this spaciousness. Therefore we need to meditate so that we can have a direct experience of our true spacious mind/heart. In doing this, we can bring this state of mind/heart into all we do in our daily life.

One of the Meiji Emperor’s waka used by Usui Mikao, as translated by Hyakuten Inamoto, says,

“Asamidori sumiwataritaru ohzorano
hiroki onoga kokoro to mogana”

“As a great sky in clear light green
I wish my heart would be as vast”

As we contemplate these words, we can imagine our mind/heart expanding to be as vast as the sky. And through consistent meditation practice, through direct experience, our spacious mind/heart will become as vast as the universe, extending true compassion, respect, kindness, and love to one and all, as all are One.

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