More Space Than Substance

If you have never thought about this before, it can be a bit mind-bending. In everything that exists in this third dimensional plane, there is more space than substance. I am sitting in my rocking chair having a cup of espresso. My chair is a rattan Bentwood Rocker that I have had for years. If one of the molecules in the wood shifted out of place, this rocker would disintegrate. In order for a solid object to have form, countless numbers of atoms must align and hold their alignment. Wood, stone, bone, you name it and its substance is composed of atoms. We all know this, right? Atoms are not solid. They are energy in motion and, when aligned in certain ways, they form substances that may be fluid like water or more stationary like stone. Within all substance is the motion of the atoms, the energy, that makes up that substance. And within each atom, there is more space than substance.

My physical body is more space than substance. Does space imply emptiness? If there were nothing in the spaces, wouldn’t my body collapse into itself? Is your mind bending yet?

When I first expanded beyond the organized, dogmatic approach to spirituality, I read every book and listened to every tape I could get my hands on. As a result, I am not able to credit the quote I am about to share with you. It came from a meditation teacher and I find it beautiful, comforting, compelling, and profound:  The Divine dwells in the spaces between the cells of your body.  And so we are brought back to the importance of turning within to the Silence in order to experience the Divine that is found in the spaces between the cells of our bodies. I meet the Divine within rather than “out there” somewhere.

Where does my Soul reside? My Soul is the expression of that Divine Essence that is giving my body, mind and emotions life in form. It permeates every cell and all of the space that is my body and it is real. Getting caught up in the material world, relying on substance for sustenance is the illusion. This is our spiritual practice: to rely on that which cannot be seen or touched for our sustenance and to play within the illusion as a way to express the Divine Essence within. And this is why we call it a “practice.” To practice is to do something over and over, with commitment and consistency, until it becomes a part of us, until it is as natural as breathing. Getting this, knowing this, living this makes it possible to know peace, joy, love in the midst of the challenges this human life can bring our way.

And you don’t have to do it perfectly! Powerful spiritual communities teach us in the most beautiful ways that it is not about perfection or the material world staying the same. I’ll repeat that: It is not about perfection or the consistency of the material world. Tibetan monks create the most amazing and wonder-filled sand paintings or mandalas. It takes them days. When completed, prayers are chanted and the sand is swept up and taken away. All that exists in the material world will cease to exist at some point. Native American weavers create blankets that are in demand all over the world. When visiting a shop in Taos, New Mexico, I was invited into the back to meet one of the weavers. She sat at her loom and showed me how it worked. She told me that her designs come to her in visions and dreams. Then she pointed to the 6th row in the cloth where a flaw was purposely woven into her design. Smiling softly in response to my reaction, she said “It is a reminder that nothing is perfect in this life and that, even that which is imperfect, is part of the beauty being expressed by the Creator.”

I am not perfect. I will not exist in this body forever. I am, however, beautifully Divine! And so are you, dear heart, so are you.

Aum shanti shanti shanti.


4 thoughts on “More Space Than Substance

  1. What a wonderful question, Lee! The word “illusion” is used to remind us that this physical world is temporary and, therefore, not real in the sense of having lasting, eternal value or presence. A lifetime here is the wink of an eye in terms of our spirit or essence which lives in the body and continues beyond the physical life of this body.
    So, the True Self or Spirit or Soul comes into a body to play at being human! Most of us work so hard at it that it ceases to be fun but, nonetheless, we came to play. The Divine Essence, True Self, is love and light in form. It didn’t come here to be unhappy. I believe the truest expression of the Divine within me is joy and happiness. As the Dalai Lama has said “We are created for happiness.”


  2. Thanks for responding, Catherine! I understand your explanation, and everyday I have the intention of bringing forth the Divine within. I certainly can see that much of the pain and suffering in our lives is orchestrated by ourselves as we struggle toward finding our True Selves. My own experiences tell me this.
    When I hear about whole groups of human beings on the other side of the globe bringing immense pain, fear, and suffering into the world, I wonder how these actions “fit” with the Dalai Lama’s statement, “We are created for happiness.” How can I calm my mind about this horror which exists, and continues to increase?


  3. Precious Soul, we each live from our level of awareness and understanding. We trust that the light shining forth through and from us is lighting the path of enlightenment for others. Those living from fear-based belief systems may have many lifetimes before they begin to see the light. In the meantime, we trust the unfolding of love and light, remembering that this is all illusion and that, in the grand scheme of things, we all emanate from and return to the Source of all life. This existence is but one of a plethora of experiences in the expansiveness of All That Is. It is more than a mortal mind can comprehend so the mind must find its peace in your present moment. Gratitude for all that you are now will bring the grace you need for your mind to rest.


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