As you read these words, from left to right on the page before you, rather than pay attention to these words themselves, pay attention to the space between them. If you describe that space as a color, I’m sure you could say that it appears as white (or whatever color the screen you’re reading this on is). If instead you chose to explain it as not black, that would be acceptable too. In another way, you could say that that space is empty – as opposed to full of words. Or perhaps you could even say that that space is just space. But after all, what is space anyway?
We have space in which astronauts travel, radio signals are sent, planets exist and stars are born. Then of course there’s the space between two plates on a table or between two people just before they hug,. Isn’t it strange that that space between the plates, people and planets is really – the exact same “thing.” In the same way that a river connects to the ocean, or the air that brushes your cheeks has once blown all around the world, the space between each of us now and between the stars is really one thing.
So why is it that when we look at the world around us, we don’t notice it at all? Of course, we know that it is there, but it usually doesn’t seem like something worth talking about or even thinking about because really… there’s nothing to say? “Space is there,” probably isn’t a very common way of starting a conversation, let alone something memorable. On the other hand, what does get said? The weather, opinions, stories… What does get remembered? Experiences, thoughts, feelings… All these things can be strung together with the thread of reality. We talk about, remember, and pay attention to things that are “real.” Things we can prove by seeing or touching or asking someone else are usually labeled real. So by our very nature, we are inclined toward things that are real, and therefore not inclined towards things that are unreal – like Space, for instance.
We can’t touch it or even really prove that its there. The only reason we know it is there is because of the belief that “there is space between things.” The very definition of the word implies that there are other things present. So how can it be possible for us to pay more attention to Space – to have a conversation about Space – or to even accurately describe Space to another person in a way that they understand? More important than what we believe about Space, in this case, is what is true about it. And the only thing that is true, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that it is… it exists. So if our entire waking lives are naturally inclined toward things that are real, then if we don’t deliberately take time to honor the Unreal things, we will most certainly drift more and more toward them – like a loose ship floating away from the harbor. One could, however, choose to spend time, each day dedicated to the Unreal things around them. And today, how about, the Space between these words.