A colleague showed up at my office yesterday and asked “what are you doing tonight at 7:30?” For the first time in weeks, the answer was “I don’t have any plans, actually.” She smiled, presented me with a free ticket to the Aviv String Quartet’s performance that her husband wasn’t able to use, and left.
As I sat in the concert hall, listening, the music worked its magic. It felt as though the sound waves were massaging my brain into a dreamy, peaceful, yet creative and inspiring state. I came out of it feeling deeply rejuvenated, like an especially deep meditation or trip to “acu-land.” While feeling deeply grateful that I was there having this experience, I was reminded of this passage from the Tao Te Ching:
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
–Tao Te Ching interpreted by Stephen Mitchell
If there’s no space, nothing happens. We need yin to engender yang.
It’s so easy for me to see space as simply something that needs to be filled up. This keeps me very busy (usually with things I love!) but doesn’t allow for a whole lot of spontaneity. What would happen if I left a little more space ?