Open Focus & Space (2)

So carrying on from that last post...

Your whole life will change if you start to directly experience space. It's a bit tricky to explain the difference between space as a 'container' or a grid that things (including us) sit 'inside' - the traditional view - and spaces as all of the many lived distances in our lives and bodies. But it all comes down to actually living those distances, to directly experiencing them. So that it's not you looking out at the world, you're an extended being in the world itself - who 'you' are is that body of yours extended out into the world, and is also what you sense of the world, some of which is nowehere near your body. Because sights and sounds and smells and so on all have their own distances too. And when you see or hear something, in reality you're not 'over here' sensing something 'over there' - your presence is with what you're sensing. You don't sit at the cinema the whole time going "ok, here I am in this chair, and there's the film over there". Your entire being expands towards the screen - it's in the images you're watching and hearing.

This is why your body expands like that glove being inflated, because you actually start to inhabit these spaces, rather than push them away and ignore them. Your body is this open, extended thing because that's what the world is - open and extended, in every direction. You've gone from being 'in' the world to being the world itself, in one place. You're not really expanding, you're inhabiting the spaces that were already there, rather than folding and crushing yourself into only one of them (i.e. your head).

Practically this feels like the following. See if you can be aware of and sense your legs as being in their own disticnt space, separate to your head (where you usually think 'you' are). So that they have their own territory, not controlled from up in your head but just what it is, and where it is. Like a trailer on an articulated truck, which has to be allowed to find its way around corners as its own unique set of wheels, rather than as a simple extension of the cab, as otherwise you end up on the kerb.

Then extend this to every other part of your body - let it be its own thing, in its own space, and feel the space between your head and each of these parts at the same time. You can see why the body extends in this sort of way, once you let each part of it just occupy the space it has, rather than channel all of them through the control centre you think you have up in your head, like some sort of puppeteer. Once you let all those spaces just be what they are and where they are, you simply occupy the world, in all of those spaces at the same time.

And it's simultaneous. At every moment everything is happening at once - not only everything happening in your body, but also in the world around you. You can live in that infinitely broad awareness, where you're simultaneously aware of all of that at the same time. But at that point it's not really awareness in the sense of "I am aware" - this experience is you and the world being one and the same thing, right out as far as you can go. It's just spaces, lots and lots of them. It takes practice, but not as much as you think.

Once you get good at it, everything becomes entirely effortless and in no need of any decision or angst. Effortless because effort is you trying to control one space using another space - like you trying to push with your legs or lift your arms (or whatever), from up in your head - whereas if all of the spaces just coexist and are what they are and where they are, with no controlling centre, things like walking just happen by themselves, because your head is out in the world up near your head, and your legs are down there in their own space, doing their own thing.

And decision-less because everything you do is just a natural, automatic response to what's happening around you, because that' where 'you' now are - in the world, not looking out at it thinking about what to do.


  1. Nick, I agree. Seeing the world as coextensive and contiguous is a far healthier way of living as it literally takes the 'pressure' of the individual thinking he or she has to change, or 'fit in' or 'do' something different. He already is well and truly 'in' and 'of' the world.
    Proust in his writing describes the contiguous nature of reality.


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