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Image Credit – Calm

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl (credit Brainy Quotes)

I enjoy a meditation practice daily. What is interesting about this quote is the space Viktor Frankl discusses in this quote. There is a space in meditation practice as well, called the gap. The gap is at the end of an inhale and the end of an exhale. If you focus on the gap, there is an awe-inspiring silence and spaciousness that you begin to tap into.

When you ponder this gap, you begin to recognize that there are gaps everywhere. Listen to a wind-up clock or cooking timer. Do you hear the gaps between the ticks and the tocks? Listen to music. Do you hear the gaps? Listen to the ocean, do you hear the gaps between the incoming and outgoing of the waves?

There is a rhythm to our universe, a rhythm to this reality, filled with activity and inactivity, sounds and silence. There are gaps between each beat of your heart. There are gaps to our vision when we blink.

The space between a stimulus and response. We see something we respond. We hear something we respond. We taste something we respond. We read something we respond.

Being mindful, like the practitioners of Zen means to pay very close attention to the gaps. Think about all of the things that get a rise out of you. Why do you react the way you do? What causes you to be angry, fearful, jealous, happy, sad, excited, horny? Take a moment to analyze these triggers in your life. There is always a gap before you respond.

When we allow our paradigms or autopilot to react to these things unconsciously we are not living. We have become a machine. We see an ad and we rush out and buy something. We see a commercial with food and we go get something to eat. We get angry and we have a tantrum. We get fearful and we use whatever our autopilot dictates.

If you want to change something that brings pain or sorrow or fear or any other type of feeling that does not benefit you, you can change it. Watch for the triggers, pay attention to the space between the stimulus to this trigger and how you react to it. By observing the stimulus, identifying your trigger, you can pause, wait, and make a conscious choice versus an unconscious one. When you master this process, you begin to master yourself.

Until the next time…