Illustration by Mike Taylor
Illustration by Mike Taylor

These days we have so many things to think about: our health, our family, our work, our dharma practice. When we don’t know how to deal with them, these worries can make our minds start to slowly shrink, becoming more and more narrow, and as a consequence more and more negative. Sometimes things start to overwhelm us and we feel trapped physically. A small problem can come to seem so big that we can’t deal with it at all.

A good way to deal with this is to create space mentally. It helps relieve the tension and uptightness in your mind and in your body as well. Creating space is a very simple method. This is a technique we can apply to give ourselves space and freedom and relief from all our worrisome thoughts.

When you have a few minutes, look ahead of you and simply imagine that you’re surrounded by empty space in all directions. Sometimes it is useful to look at the empty sky. Just imagine space everywhere: no walls, no boundaries, no buildings, nothing. Don’t think about your work, family, or the things you need to do. Simply imagine that everything is just like the vast, open sky, like empty space, and let your mind blend into the space so that it becomes just as vast and open. You can close your eyes if that helps. Imagine this spaciousness for a short while. After a minute or two you’ll start to really feel spacious mentally. Your chest will open up and you’ll feel relieved of all those tensions and thoughts that were crowding in on you just moments ago. Your mind opens up and then your way of thinking changes. The practice takes just a few minutes, and it is so easy—that is the magic of creating space.

Adapted from Kyabgon Phakchok Rinpoche’s “Guru Rinpoche” newsletter, November 5, 2011. Reprinted with permission of Kyabgon Phakchok Rinpoche.

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