If you’ve travelled on the London Underground, you’ll have heard the announcement ‘Mind the gap’ just before the train doors open. This is to alert you to the gap between the train and the platform. By avoiding the gap you can continue seamlessly on with your thoughts as you step off the train.
From a health perspective it’s good to find the gap between your thoughts! Most of us have an unending stream of thoughts going on in our heads from the time we wake up until we go to bed. Many of these thoughts arise spontaneously, replaying old stories of anxiety about what’s going on – or not going on – in our lives, and often leading to a feeling of stress.
‘Finding the gap’ simply means slipping into the gap between your thoughts. When you stop thinking you access stillness, your peaceful place of connection with your inner self. In this space you have access to the bigger picture, the large obstacles in your thinking dissolve, and you relax.
Three ways to find the gap
There are many ways to find the gap. Here are three ways Eckhart Tolle suggested during Oprah’s ‘A New Earth’ course to access the still space between your thoughts.
1. Ask yourself if you are breathing
Many forms of meditation involve a focus on your breath. Tolle shortcuts this down to a simple question you ask yourself: ‘Am I breathing’. As you respond you automatically withdraw from your thought train. My article ‘Am I still breathing?’ considers this method in more detail.
2. Become aware of the aliveness in your body
Very young children are extremely alert and alive to everything around them. As we grow older thinking absorbs more and more of our attention so we’re no longer aware of the aliveness in ourselves and the world. If we perpetuate this pattern of more and more thinking our world becomes dull.
Take your attention to the feeling of aliveness inside your body. Start with your hands and see if you can feel the aliveness within them. Then your feet. Then the rest of your body….
3. Enter the present moment
Take your attention to this present moment. Accept it fully, regardless of the form it takes. Try and get a sense of the essence of the present moment; of life itself. In this way you start to feel yourself as life, rather than as a person.
Deepak Chopra says: ‘If you have life-centred, present-moment awareness, then the imaginary obstacles – which are more than ninety percent of perceived obstacles – disintegrate and disappear.’ This has to be good for your health!
At first you may need to practice finding the gap. As it comes more easily, try to find the gap as often as you can through the day. Even a few seconds in the gap makes a difference.
How do you/could you slip into the gap between your thoughts?
How could you prompt yourself to slip into the gap more often through your day?
What will you do today to find and slip into the gap?
The Delicious Nugget: Finding the gap between your thoughts takes you to an inner place of stillness, where you experience the nurturing essence of life.