How to Navigate the Silence of the Gaps

“It has been said that it’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger. And it’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence, or “the gap,” or that space between our thoughts, that everything is created—including our own bliss.”

“It has been said that it’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger. And it’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence, or “the gap,” or that space between our thoughts, that everything is created—including our own bliss.” Dr. Wayne Dyer 1

The gaps in life…those interminable periods of silence, with no interaction,  alone with one’s thoughts. Those gaps is where we can find our self, our truth, and even as Dr. Dyer said, our bliss.

How, you ask? By allowing the gaps to occur. Simply allowing. Instead of avoiding a gap in life, to actually settle into it. Be with the gap. Learn from the gap. Unfortunately, most human beings are uncomfortable with this suggestion. Most will wander from one relationship to the next with little or no break in between; go from job to job; Jump from a facebook interaction to twitter to phone to TV to computer …all in an effort to not be alone.

For we are communal beings. Social media is at an all time high in usage, and we believe we are socializing by using it. But are we really?

Are we really connecting with others on a personal level?

Are we really touching others deeply?

I’m not sure.

Perhaps we are mostly gliding through our days, filling each moment with doingness. We don’t want to be alone, and with the current state of  relationship between technology and humans, that trend doesn’t look like it is gong to shift anytime soon. For many people, we are more connected to our phones than we are to another carbon based life form.

Perhaps we are creating a false sense of intimacy.

And we certainly are not allowing for downtime, breathers, or what I will call gap consciousness.  Actually creating gaps in our life when we can stand back and gaze upon it with objectivity. To be able to see from a different point of view, a different perspective, and perhaps discover a deeper truth.

From a discussion between two world renown women, Buddhist teacher, author, and nun Pema Choron and singer/activist k.d. Lang, “…both( Pema Chodron and k.d. Lang) spoke to the importance of finding and making gaps in our lives – space in which we can find distance between ourselves and what’s occurring, or the storylines we tell ourselves about what’s occurring. Cultivating “gap-aciousness,” as they affectionately termed it, helps us to deescalate; to notice when we’ve been triggered by someone or something; to see when we’re falling into old and unhelpful patterns; to respond rather than react.”2

Another well known Buddhist teacher and author, Jack Kornfield, speaks of labeling physical sensations to create distance from them.Tara Bach, teacher of Buddhist meditation and spiritual awakening, talks of  the “sacred pause.” These spiritual teachers are preaching the same theme: embrace the gaps.

It is in the emptiness that somehow we face the reality of ourselves. We fear this, though. Are we scared of what we might discover? Or of what we may feel? And what that may trigger in us?

We are dying spiritually as human beings. Between the doingness and busyness of our lives, most of us allow little time to support our spirits, or beingness.

Are we dying to know the truth (which could create an obsessive attachment), or is there a belief that the truth will kill us, thus we avoid seeking it (an aversion).

I feel it is the later.The more we avoid the silence, the gaps, the breaks, eschewing aloneness, the more we avoid facing our reality and discovering our truth.

What does aloneness teach us? Perhaps before the next interaction on social media or the next foray into a relationship, if we choose to use this time for meditation, we can still our minds, calm our breath, and tap into the Divine energy source, centering ourselves in peace. Instead of reaching for our phone, opening our lap top, or going out, we actually have the opportunity to sit within the silence of the gaps. It may be incredibly uncomfortable at first. What I have found is that after spending sometime in the gap, what my mind created as a mountain of projection, actually dwindled to a molehill of reality.

Dr. Wayne Dyer in his book “Getting in the Gap”, is highly supportive of establishing a meditation practice in order to create healthy gaps in our lives. “The practice of meditation takes us on a healing and empowering journey into the gap between our thoughts, where all the advantages of a more peaceful, stress-free, healthy, and fatigue-free life are available. Wonderful as those benefits are, they are merely side-effects. The paramount reason for daily meditation is to put ourselves into the gap between thoughts where we can make conscious contact with the Divine, the creative energy of life itself. Through meditation, we can tap in to the abundance of creative energy that resides within us, and also a more meaningful experience of life, which enriches us permanently.” 3

When we rest in the gaps rather than run away, we are rewarded with a new perspective on our selves, our lives, and our interactions. This gives us a new found freedom. We are no longer bound by our once limiting thought forms and paradigms. We see, from this new perspective, that we have choice. Resting in the gaps or gap consciousness, gives us choice.

Mr. Kornfield, supports Dr. Dyer’s view, “The space between thoughts, gaps where we let go and are not identified with our thoughts, feelings, and reactions, arise all the time. “These gaps,” says the meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, “are extremely good news. They remind us that we can always rest in awareness, that freedom is always possible.”  4

I personally have found myself at this stage of my life wedged between different gaps: between relationships, between work projects, between living spaces. I am being my best not to fill the gaps with busyness or people.  To not default to social media when loneliness overtakes me. Or to scour the internet for job possibilities. I am being with the gaps, breathing into them, allowing them to shape me, develop me, and guide me to my next steps.

I am resting within the gaps. Sometimes, though, the gap becomes overwhelming and I need some human connection. I will call a friend to chat or meet. We need these connections as a species. We also need as spiritual beings, silence…of the gaps. To learn more about meditation and being in the silence, check out my class, Creating a Mindful Meditation Practice.

I will leave you with a a recent poem I have written about the gaps in life. Perhaps you will take the gaps to heart, and embrace them.

Silence of the Gaps

It’s in the gaps where we discover truth,

our truth, only for us.

Stumbling, falling, we trip over

those voids in life between jobs, between partners, between visits,

the long, dark, stillness of a solitary night,

the unbearable aloneness of a cold, empty bed at dawn.

The fissures in our psyche where the fears, the doubts, and the worries get twisted and tangled,

a distorted melange of jagged, raw emotions.

We want to run, to hide, from the pain of it all.

Our souls know better,

they know to look for the gaps.

It’s there that truth will be found,

our truth, only for us.

It could bring us to our knees…hearts pounding, breath shortened,

shirt drenched in sweat, clinging to our shivering skin.

Be thankful.

The gaps don’t lie.

They may, though, devastate us with an intense shot of reality,

a harsh slap across our fragile, quaking egos.

Breathe through the gaps, relax into the gaps, even crave the gaps.

Invite them in.

This is where life begins,

and where life as we know it, will end…in the silence of the gaps. 5

References List

1.Dr. Wayne Dyer,“Getting in the Gap”, Hay house publishing , 2003

2. Everyday Art of Being, “An Evening with Pema Chodron and k.d. Lang”,

June 20, 2015, UCLA Royce Hall

3. Dr. Wayne Dyer,“Getting in the Gap”, Hay house publishing , 2003

4. Jack Kornfield, “The Wise Heart”, Bantam Books, 2009

5. Brooke Becker, “Silence of the Gaps”, 2015.

Made withby Olokoo.