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Space in the Crowded Workplace

--by Ashvin Iyengar (Aug 02, 2010)


The more I live, the more I am realizing the importance of space. Space between thoughts and actions. Space which has room for possibilities despite being crowded with opinions. Space which makes choice possible. Space that allows me to respond instead of having a knee-jerk reaction. The list goes on and on.

Someone opposes what I am trying to do and I want to brush him aside out of fear that my assignment may not get done otherwise. If I have the internal space in the moment, then I can choose to flow around the obstacle instead of trying to overcome it. Or maybe I realize that flowing around is not working and I need to confront the issue. Space is what allows me to have the confrontation with the right amount of force and without making it into a ‘me against him/her’ issue. Space is what lets me win a point without making the other into a loser. Space is what lets me concede a point and change my stance without feeling like a loser.

And sometimes, holding a free and open internal space, or presence if you will, can result in a transformation of the environment around you. The environment around me, and I suspect for most if not all people, is mind-blowingly complex and full of divisive groups at odds with each other and competing with each other fairly as well as unfairly. And even within a group, often people have their own agendas that run counter to the goals of the group. No surprise here. This is a fractal pattern that repeats almost at every level of society.

But if I hold an internal space that does not project this and allows people to come together towards a common objective, I find that sometimes it results in almost magical co-operation. Where meditation comes into this equation is that it allows you to open up to all your opinions, pre-conceived notions, irritations and reactions on the cushion and have equanimity with this so that when they surface in the middle of a meeting or any work-interaction, they have a lessened chance of making you react blindly.

--Ashvin Iyengar


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16 Previous Reflections:

 
On Feb 26, 2016 Ashanka Sen wrote:

 Good point that can be used in all spheres of social interactions with positive results and common victories.



On Jul 30, 2013 Will Odamtten wrote:

This a great article that summarizes one of the many powers of meditation... that is training the mind to take control over the space between stimuli and response.  When the mind is trained to work with a base of pure truth... the results are transforming. Great job Ashvin!



On Aug 27, 2010 Austin wrote:

Very englightening.  I read the full article at corporatepunish.blogspot.com/  Thanks!



On Aug 9, 2010 jananibala wrote:

very contemporary.

 



On Aug 8, 2010 Ashvin Iyengar wrote:

Thanks everyone for your comments and support. It means a lot to me. The article was excerpted from my blog by iJourney.

Here is the link for the blog which is essentially about mindfulness at work written under the dharma name given to me by my teacher Shinzen Young:

corporatepunish.blogspot.com/

 Love,

Ash

 



On Aug 8, 2010 Michal Rinkevich wrote:

Thank you for the space and for making space. 

How each person can make this world an even better place, one space at a time...



On Aug 6, 2010 sachin gupta wrote:

really it is too appreciating...................

this article can make easily space in the human'sheart............



On Aug 6, 2010 ashok wrote:

Space in your home.
Space in your heart.
Space of learning.
Space of sharing.
Space for many people.
Space for expressing gratitude for EVERY thing.



On Aug 6, 2010 shalini wrote:

Thanks for the beautiful writing Ashvin. It touched me deeply. Very inspiring!



On Aug 6, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

I loved reading this. Just today, I got a "reject" on a paper I'd submitted. It was fascinating as I started looking within for signs of depression, or feeling like a loser, and there were some rumblings, but as I went deeper, noticed a space with compassion - found myself agreeing with the reasons given for the reject. The reviewer did not have enough context, and I should have submitted a preceding paper before submitting the current one. Also true that there are all these other sensations which, if not observed carefully, would take me down a path I would call a mistake. Loved the part about not needing to destroy someone else to win, and not needing to destroy oneself when conceding. Love comes from that space, and leads to acceptance. It is amazing that to realize that life does not become all hunky-dory with awareness and equanimity. Things happen beyond our control. However, what does change is my ability to open into a deeper and more authentic space, where happines  See full.

I loved reading this. Just today, I got a "reject" on a paper I'd submitted. It was fascinating as I started looking within for signs of depression, or feeling like a loser, and there were some rumblings, but as I went deeper, noticed a space with compassion - found myself agreeing with the reasons given for the reject. The reviewer did not have enough context, and I should have submitted a preceding paper before submitting the current one. Also true that there are all these other sensations which, if not observed carefully, would take me down a path I would call a mistake.

Loved the part about not needing to destroy someone else to win, and not needing to destroy oneself when conceding. Love comes from that space, and leads to acceptance.

It is amazing that to realize that life does not become all hunky-dory with awareness and equanimity. Things happen beyond our control. However, what does change is my ability to open into a deeper and more authentic space, where happiness, love, etc. and their opposites are decisions, not conditions.

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On Aug 5, 2010 Prakash wrote:

  Thank you Ashvin for writing this beautiful piece, thank you Wed extended family for sharing the space and reflections.   With fresh experiences of our first 10-day sitting, I am deeply inspired to share my experiences relating the topic of space, before that, I would like to start off noting that there were so many moments in the circle that deeply touched my "inner space" -- thank you all :-), three in particular that I can remember now are Pavi's idea of  "Love creating space", Dinesh uncle's idea of  "going-with-the-flow creates space" with his witty yet practical example of Mumbai's local trains seemingly having space for constant flow of commuters, and Smitha's reflection on "the act of listening opening up the space, where as the act of talking shrinking the space for her." The idea of space to me is about Community, Universal Reality, Simplicity, Emptiness, Freedom and Innovation,&nbs  See full.

 

Thank you Ashvin for writing this beautiful piece, thank you Wed extended family for sharing the space and reflections.  

With fresh experiences of our first 10-day sitting, I am deeply inspired to share my experiences relating the topic of space, before that, I would like to start off noting that there were so many moments in the circle that deeply touched my "inner space" -- thank you all :-), three in particular that I can remember now are Pavi's idea of  "Love creating space", Dinesh uncle's idea of  "going-with-the-flow creates space" with his witty yet practical example of Mumbai's local trains seemingly having space for constant flow of commuters, and Smitha's reflection on "the act of listening opening up the space, where as the act of talking shrinking the space for her."

The idea of space to me is about Community, Universal Reality, Simplicity, EmptinessFreedom and Innovation

The enriching experiences from our Community Yoga each week in our little home space, open unconditionally to all seems to have created a space of inner-connection in the community.  The many stories of people who were total strangers before coming to the community Yoga stepping up to help each other in small ways, support each other's passions in community like community garden project and neighborhood safety-walk team and such grassroots initiatives has been truly transforming experience. So a space -- big or small can be a avenue to bring communities/families together to do something beautiful (borrowing from Dr. V's wisdom on KarmaTube).

From the Vedic wisdom, this idea that everything in the universe is a manifestation of five fundamental elements -- riching experiences from our Community Yoga each week in our little home space, open unconditionally to all seems to have created a space of inner-connection in the community.  The many stories of people who were total strangers before coming to the community Yoga stepping up to help each other in small ways, support each other's passions in community like community garden project and neighborhood safety-walk team and such grassroots initiatives has been truly transforming experience. So a space -- big or small can be a avenue to bring communities/families together to do something beautiful (borrowing fromDr. V's wisdom on KarmaTube).

From the Vedic wisdom, this idea that everything in the universe is a manifestation of five fundamental elements -- bhu (prithvi - earth), aapa (water), agni (fire/light) and aakasha (space) quite nicely connected the core the message to me. The passage was special; it touched the roots of the Universal Reality.

From our own journey of many years simplifying inside (purifying the mind 'n heart) and outside (worldly things that are absolute necessary for a living), it's the clarity of awareness in the inner-space and the cleanliness (and orderliness) in the physical space that shows that there's progress in this journey. Journey itself becomes the> bhu (prithvi - earth), aapa (water), agni (fire/light) and aakasha (space) quite nicely connected the core the message to me. The passage was special; it touched the roots of the Universal Reality.

From our own journey of many years simplifying inside (purifying the mind 'n heart) and outside (worldly things that are absolute necessary for a living), it's the clarity of awareness in the inner-space and the cleanliness (and orderliness) in the physical space that shows that there's progress in this journey. Journey itself becomes the fruit.

As a spiritual seeker, to me, the idea of space also means emptiness. Perhaps, being empty inside and out feels so light and ready to receive the universal reality when the time is ripe.

On the physical front, in fact the lack of space created space for innovation in so many areas of our everyday lives -- computers, microprocessors, mobile devices, medical scopes and such ever shrinking in size yet improving the performance.

Lastly, space means freedom to me, the freedom to be one. A short poem flowed as I wrote in my journal this morning, in the spirit of sharing, here it's for you: 

 

Space -- everyone likes to have more

Take only so much you need -- Nature will be happy

Remember Nature gives only so much to each one that one deserves

Space --

less or more

big or small

closed or open

dark or lighted

dirty or clean

just know that ultimately follow the Nature to know your inner-space

make the best use of every gift of space in life to live-free.

 

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On Aug 3, 2010 Susan McCauley wrote:

 Much appreciated....thank you!



On Aug 3, 2010 Kevin Ison wrote:

Very nicely written.  I enjoyed it very much!



On Aug 3, 2010 ardita wrote:

the best article I have read so far ... compliments



On Aug 3, 2010 julieoolums wrote:

great thots...thanks for sharing

we need this to help us get along

and together make a better world



On Aug 2, 2010 jon madian wrote:

Purely beautiful... thank you again and again