Leaving a Gap

I am struggling with a spiritual concept that I read about this weekend and then discussed with friends. I don’t have the reading in front of me, so what I present is no doubt tainted by my own life perspective.

The idea is that sometimes when we are faced with problems it is best to live in a gap or a vacuum. We tend to be quick to want to fix things, to make things right even when we don’t fully understand what the nature of a problem is. It is an uncomfortable thing to leave a problem unattended for a time, like first sitting in meditation. Nature seeks to fill a vacuum, the reading said. This is also true of the mental space we create when meditating. Our thoughts want to rush in. Thinking nothing is troublesome. It feels vulnerable and out of control. For some of us, the only way not to fill our heads with thought is to have something in the environment to grab our attention.

But this isn’t about meditation. It is about refraining from rushing to solve a problem too quickly. As I recall, the reading went on to say that when facing a problem, there are things we have yet to understand. Since most of my problems are relationship problems, I can see this. Human beings are complex. We each bring with us a history, life circumstances, and a perspective that is unique and not easily grasped by others. Sometimes I have trouble understanding why I behave the way I do let alone someone else. The new information that is yet to come may help in solving the problem the reading suggested. In fact, we may find that a problem existed only in our own head.

Life had taught me that many problems that come into my life are not really mine to solve. “Who’s problem is this?” is a question worth asking. If it is someone else’s problem, our rushing in to solve it can rob another person the opportunity to learn. It can also make matters worse.

I am still pondering this new idea. I remember the adage: “Do something even if it is wrong.” I don’t know who first said such a thing, but I can think of many situations in life when that was really bad advice. On the other hand, it is not always helpful to wait. We may need to act or people will be harmed.

My week offers me a bit of a vacuum. I have several writing tasks that need attention and having fewer commitments is a good thing. But I am often guilty of filling extra time with activities that are fairly meaningless, no doubt to avoid doing the difficult things on my plate.

A little sunshine and warmth would really help.

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