Last week, after many years in outer space, the US Mercury Messenger space probe finally achieved orbit around Mercury, the smallest planet nearest to the Sun. For the first time scientists will get a good look at the Solar System’s smallest planet, a planet bathed in solar radiation millions of times stronger than the harmful radiation of any nuclear reactor.
If you choose to sit outdoors and look out into the night sky you can perform a thought experiment about form and space that will tell you more about reality than any space probe. The next time you look at the stars don’t worry about the shapes of the constellations and what their names are. If you see a planet, don’t try and figure out which one it is. Instead, let go of your desire to label or explain and become only aware of objects inside an infinite plane of endless empty space.
To contemplate this vastness you will have to become still enough to where the enormity of space can fill your awareness. When we think of space we think of nothing being there. And yet the word space implies that it is an object since we named it. The Buddhist word for space is Void and that term means an awareness of space that is really nothing but awareness itself – or what some would term the inner space or Void of consciousness.
Suddenly, at this point you may feel like you and your awareness is actually the universe becoming aware of itself. It turns out that anything that we objectify as form is form – even empty space. And it’s also true that that as you sense the vastness of outer space as your own inner space you will know this precious stillness that has no form to be more who you really are than any content of your daily life.
This practice can be a very important one to give our awareness perspective when earthquakes, tidal waves, nuclear meltdowns, and cruise missiles attacks in the Middle East dominate the airwaves and bombard us with news of the pain body of our culture and our planet. Remember, a sane and productive human life is a dance between form and space. You can call on the power of inner space at any time to summon compassion and perspective between what appears and what is.
~ Eckhart Tolle www.tolleteachings.com (see below)