Measureless Space

In a small boat on the quiet slow current of the river all the horizon from north to south, east to west was visible; there wasn’t a tree or house that broke the horizon; there was not a cloud floating by. The banks were flat, stretching on both sides far into the land and they held the wide river. There were other small fishing boats, the fishermen huddled at one end with their nets out; these men were immensely patient. The sky and the earth met and there was vast space. In this measureless space the earth and all things had their existence, even this small boat carried along by the strong current. Around the bend of the river the horizons extended as far as the eye could see, measureless and infinite. Space became inexhaustible. There must be this space for beauty and compassion. Everything must have space, the living and the dead, the rock on the hill and the bird on the wing. When there is no space there is death. The fishermen were singing and the sound of their song came down the river. Sound needs space. The sound of a word needs space; the word makes its own space, rightly pronounced. The river and the faraway tree can only survive when they have space; without space all things wither. The river disappeared into the horizon and the fishermen were going ashore. The deep darkness of the night was coming, the earth was resting from a weary day and the stars were on the waters. The vast space was narrowed down into a small house of many walls. Even the large, palatial houses have walls shutting out that immense space, making it their own.

A painting must have space within it even though it’s put in a frame; a statue can only exist in space; music creates the space it needs; the sound of a word not only makes space: it needs it to be heard. Thought can imagine the extension between two points, the distance and the measure; the interval between two thoughts is the space that thought makes. The continuous extension of time, movement and the interval between two movements of thought need space. Consciousness is within the movement of time and thought. Thought and time are measurable between two points, between the centre and the periphery. Consciousness, wide or narrow, exists where there is a centre, the ‘me’ and the ‘not me’.

All things need space. If rats are enclosed in a restricted space, they destroy each other; the small birds sitting on a telegraph wire, of an evening, have the needed space between each other. Human beings living in crowded cities are becoming violent. Where there is no space, outwardly and inwardly, every form of mischief and degeneration is inevitable. The conditioning of the mind through so-called education, religion, tradition, culture, gives little space to the flowering of the mind and heart The belief, the experience according to that belief, the opinion, the concepts, the word is the ‘me’, the ego, the centre which creates the limited space within whose border is consciousness. The ‘me’ has its being and its activity within the small space it has created for itself. All its problems and sorrows, its hopes and despairs are within its own frontiers, and there is no space The known occupies all its consciousness. Consciousness is the known. Within this frontier there is no solution to all the problems human beings have put together. And yet they won’t let go; they cling to the known or invent the unknown, hoping it will solve their problems. The space which the ‘me’ has built for itself is its sorrow and the pain of pleasure. The gods don’t give you space, for theirs is yours. This vast, measureless space lies outside the measure of thought, and thought is the known. Meditation is the emptying of consciousness of its content, the known, the ‘me’.

Slowly the oars took the boat up the sleeping river and the light of a house gave it the direction. It had been a long evening and the sunset was gold, green and orange and it made a golden path on the water.