Defining and attaining the precious “My Space”, a guide from Chandana Ganguly, spiritual psychologist and emotional healing therapist at Ananda
When my young nephew uttered the words, “space please” I was partly impressed. I realised the concept and need for boundaries was really becoming well-established in society today. Roughly 40% of all my clients struggle with understanding the concept and need for personal boundaries and individuation. Most people, especially from Indian families tend to believe that over involvement, excessive attachment and adherence to family structures and values are signs of fulfilling relationships and good upbringing.
However, over the last decade, there has been a growing realisation and a silent revolution in therapy rooms as people discovered the concept of “enmeshed families” and the implications it has on people - from need for validation to anxiety and guilt - this concept grew in prominence and almost everyone started to re-evaluate what a healthy relationship looked like. On the other hand, as much as we grew in this need for personal identity development, loneliness - the need for finding our tribe or our sense of belonging also seemed to grow amongst many of us.
We haven’t really transcended the need for validation or conformity, but have found new ways to replace it in the form of social circles, success parameters and social media. Somehow we haven’t learnt to make space for ourselves, within ourselves. So aloneness is often lonely and we continue to find ways to fill the void as we see it. But the truth is, nothing or no-one really fills that void permanently - so we keep moving from one thing to the other - and this describes our need for space, or need for self-discovery and actualisation.
The space we seek lies internally and an external pursuit of it will be useful but limited.
“My space” is a state of being or a safe space inside of us where we feel comfortable, free and energised to be who we are. This state is always available to us but we need to cultivate practises to connect with it regularly.
Some methods that work for people
PERIODS OF SOLITUDE
where we cherish and enjoy our own company doing something that brings us peace and stillness - this could be a morning walk, a meditation practise or time in nature.
During the day creating mindful moments of silence - where we don’t necessarily do anything but take out time to break away from the noise and choose stillness - is very useful. This could be in the form of breath work, nature gazing, mindfulness practises or simply being more present in the moment. Swami Satyananda Saraswati of Bihar School of Yoga advices an hour of silence everyday as a solution for most feeling based imbalances.
ACKNOWLEDGING OUR FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS
We always have our state of inner being present with us. However, that state or its presence is often drowned out by the busy-ness of the mind or flurry of emotions. Certain practises that allow us to silence the mind or process the emotions are useful here - journaling, pursuing a creative pursuit, mindful art or colouring, pranayama, tai chi or Qigong - are all ways we clear the noise and become still where we are.
EARLY MORNING PRACTISES
The time in the early hours of the morning especially between 4-6 am have found to be very useful in connecting with this inner silence. It is that time of the day when the world hasn’t yet started to rush in, therefore we aren’t as tired as we will be as the day progresses. We are naturally lighter and more with the ‘nothing-ness’. Spending some time with yourself in these hours is a beautiful way to create that space and connect with it.
A daily routine that is helpful and allows us to create space despite the circumstances around us. However, the key thing about this routine is that it should rise naturally from within as opposed to from outside of us as a list of “should” and “have to’s”. Swami Vivekananda said, pick any one idea that appeals to you and make it your whole life, let it be at the centre of your existence and your whole life graph will begin to change.
A lack of my-space deep within creates mental-suffocation that is bound to climb up to the physical body as tightness, aches & pains or irritable responses. Iron out those creases in the mental body by stretching and literally creating space in the body’s tissues. Reach out for the sky, extend your limbs, stretch your facial muscles in a smile more often. Look up from your screen and allow your eyes to look far or practice candle gazing for the much needed physical space we all need in our cranial cavity!
You may also be interested in…
Vedanta Materclass on The Bhagavad Gita. Led by senior disciples of Swami A. Parthasarathy founder of the Vedanta Academy, each seven-day series conducted at Ananda in February, April and May begins with the chanting of the verses, followed by explanations and their practical application to life. Register here.
A true story of anger management through meditation under the Dhyana Meditation Program. Read Here