Befriend your body. Rewrite the story of your life.

The Wisdom of Space

by | Nov 2, 2022 | Intuitive Ayurveda, Journal, Relationships, Space | 0 comments

(listen to the audio version)

I think we need some space.

Because just as in nature, we begin with space.

This is a nod to the Ayurvedic elemental teachings. Specifically the wisdom of akasha, or space, from which all other elements rise.

Akasha, that liminal thing that doesn’t exist except for what exists in it, is the first among the elements. And it deserves some exploration. So lean into this virtual fire between us and take in the wisdom of the undefined places.

Step Away

Begin by imagining two people. Two very intimate people. The kind of people we might describe as close – the phrase that imagines a lack of space between them as the defining characteristic of their relationship.

Imagine that you are one of those people. Your closeness brings comfort. Familiarity. Enjoyment. Expectation of such enjoyment. And then one of you leaves. For a short time or a long time. A leaving that is expected or a leaving that lands quickly. And suddenly, there is space between you.

What happens next is directly related to your relationship to this most magical of elements.

Choose Your Adventure

Maybe you respond in terror. Maybe you grasp for some aspect of that previous closeness. Maybe you make feeble attempts to shorten the distance through a constant stream of text messages proclaiming your desire for the one who used to be closer.

Or, perhaps you go to the other extreme, disappearing entirely to stop the pain from eclipsing you.

There’s a third way (likely a fourth or fifth) to understand the wisdom of space between you and your beloved. But before we open that hidden door, let’s dive into the elemental understanding – back to akasha.

The Fifth Element

One of the primary benefits of studying Ayurveda is that it allows us to better grasp the nature of the world. But it’s a complex course of study. The meanings of the words that are used in this science are obscured and often purposely so. So let’s wipe away the grease on the lens and take it from this simple angle – everything you know is made up of five basic elements. And they all begin in space.

The four elements are familiar to anyone who has done any kind of New Age or earth-based practices – earth, fire, water, and wind. But it’s Ayurveda’s addition of ether – space/akasha – that fills in the missing spaces. Rather, it is the missing space.

All of the elements begin with akasha. The potential for form. The following elements are created from it in a progression of increasing weight. First, wind, which is an invisible element. Followed by fire, which is the first one that catches our eye, yet still leans toward the ephemeral.

Next is water, whose form creates and nourishes and makes way for that final element – the densest of them all – earth.

Zero Sum

All of these elements make up everything that we see and know. But akasha often gets left out of the ingredient list. But just because you can’t touch space doesn’t mean it’s insignificant. In fact, the most powerful things happen through the subtlest shifts, and space is the subtlest of them all.

Put differently, space, in the elemental understanding, is the zero in mathematics. Just like the way this most important number allows us to conceptualize the inconceivable, akasha offers us the possibility of life that we cannot yet see.

From Nothing, Everything

For those accustomed to drinking the elixir of tangibility, it may be just as hard to conceptualize that zero is the most meaningful number as it is to imagine that there’s a benefit in intentionally creating space between you and someone you love.

But the teaching is the same – what grows from nothing cannot emerge if nothing does not exist first.

Space represents not a seed but the potential of the seed.

Space is not a thought but the ability to think.

Space is the question that begins with “what if” and proceeds to stare out the window for the next half hour.

The Womb

Only when we acknowledge space as the womb in which all life begins can we appreciate the increasing density of a cool breeze, a lightning bolt, a rushing river, or a 1,000-ton boulder. None of these would be possible without potential.

But let’s get back to you and your need for space. You and that other person who share space, who find yourselves with increased space between your minds and/or bodies. What do you do with it?

Remember where we left off in that part of the conversation? You were pulled apart and, depending on your relationship to the great, vast openness, the distance can be as welcome as a flower-studded meadow between two peaks or as terrifying as being flung from a rocketship out into the stars.

Here is how to heal your relationship with space, no matter how you show up in it.

Life Begins at Zero

Begin with reverence for the zero. Begin with a solid bow to the nothingness that existed long before the first living thing took its first breath. Begin with the recognition that mystery grows desire. And as desire drives us to create something from nothing, that which was once obscured will reveal its power only when you are ready to take in that which you previously did not know could exist.

To grow more and more comfortable with the truth that space is a holy thing that birthes everything else is what allows for two people who enjoy togetherness to allow for some time apart.

Take Up Space

So make space. For yourself. From another. For only the sake of possibility.

Make space to daydream or walk aimlessly. Create time for transitions between one task and the next. Study the time between when one foot raises and the other strikes the ground.

Do this frequently and perhaps you will grow your ability to feel comfortable freeing yourself from all constraints, knowing that the walls will weave themselves new around you.

Just don’t ask too much of space as you practice allowing for its existence. Don’t demand it to do something, because its nature is to simply be. Rest in knowing that space will not stay empty for very long. But for that fleeting moment between you and the next thing, widen your lens, relax your shoulders. Lean back into the bliss of nothingness and see who you are before you are something new.


Want more on how to make meaningful space in your relationships? Dive into the story of the one who formed the foundation for your relationships: your mom. Sign up for BodyStory: Mother to rewrite the story of where you came from so you can redefine where you’re going. 


Other Posts You Might Like

“On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure.”

The Bhagavad Gita 2:40