There is a space within ourselves, the space within the heart. It is not a physical space but the space of consciousness itself, the very presence of the Divine. We seldom dwell in this inner space, except in deep sleep, when we return to it unconsciously for rest and renewal.


If we look inside our minds we see emptiness. Most of us fear this emptiness within. We do not like to be alone because we must face this internal emptiness that brings into question our entire existence. We are used to looking and relating externally. We find that to be alone is to be no one, to be unrelated, to have no stimulation and no importance. We flee that inner space and run into outer sensation and involvement. We fill ourselves with the things of the world or occupy ourselves with the things of the mind. This makes our inner space appear frightful. We dread it, as if it were a great suffering or darkness.


But the small space within the heart is the most marvelous of all things. The space within the heart contains everything. The entire universe is there, all time and space, and all creation. Past, present and future are there. All our memories, the memories of all things, and all that we could become rest in perfect harmony within it. The fulfillment of all wishes is there. There to see is to be and to be everything and always. All worlds and all creatures dwell in that inner space, woven into a lotus, from the infinitesimal to the infinite. The key to the fulfillment of all wishes is not to pursue them externally but to look for their essence in that space within.


This small inner space is called the dahara akasha in the Upanishads. The spiritual heart is the Hridaya as mentioned in the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, the essence of our immortal being beyond body and mind, thought and emotion, consisting of pure Being-Consciousness-Bliss (Sat-chit-ananda).


That inner space is full of light like a thousand rising suns. It contains the inner Sun of pure consciousness, of which the outer sun is but a reflection. It holds the inextinguishable flame of our own being, the soul’s awareness that persists throughout all our incarnations. In our souls we all dwell around that inner fire like children around their mother, the flame providing nourishment to all. There the original life-force abides that gives vitality and hope to all creatures.


Life dwells in the space within the heart, not merely our personal life, but all life throbbing, pulsating and vibrating everywhere. Our true Self dwells in the space within the heart, ever at peace, far removed from all the worries of the mind and all the strife of the ego. The space within the heart is our true home, in which we can let everything go, including our body and our identity, and become completely free.


The Ocean of the Heart


This heart space is like a great ocean, and all the universes are but its waves. A special music comes forth from it, the primordial sound that creates the worlds. It contains the highest stage of speech, the supreme silence which is the revelation I-am-that-I-am. It is the origin and support of all mantras, where all mantras become one and universal. There we contact the voice of the original teacher or guru, who is the source of all genuine guidance and all true inspiration, the Divine Word and cosmic sound vibration. There we discover our true ancestry and lineage, the sages and seers who have helped humanity from time immemorial. There we contact the supreme Beloved, the Divine Father and Mother, whom we all seek for grace. The heart space is the heaven of all true devotion, beyond all form, division and limitation, where all the Gods and Goddesses become one.


Those who do not know the space within the heart have missed the most important thing in life. They have condemned themselves to be ever seeking and striving and never come to rest. Because we are afraid of being nothing, we must ever struggle to become something. We fall from spirit, which is immaterial, into matter, which being formed is mortal, limited and uncertain. We lose our inner space and become an outer thing, a mere body or person confined within a few feet of flesh. We give up our light and become a shadow of what other people think.


True meditation is returning to the space within the heart. It consists of withdrawing and immersing the mind in the inner heart space, in which the mind gets lost and loses itself like a drop within the sea. This requires that we sink deep inside ourselves, merging everything within the core of our being. We must trace all our thoughts to their origin in the heart. Then we can abide in peaceful, blissful thought free awareness. That is the essence of Vedantic meditation and the ultimate method of Vedic counseling.


Yet while easy to understand conceptually and not difficult to feel emotionally, a complete merging into the inner space is not easy. Though the most direct it is also the most difficult of all practices and the fruit of all. Few advanced yogis are able to accomplish it, even after years of practice. To move into the spiritual heart requires that we withdraw our entire attention from the field of the senses, directing all of our energy within. A tremendous fire of spiritual practice is necessary to get there. It requires an inward death and transfiguration even while the body is alive. To really fully return to the spiritual heart requires the consummate energization of our entire life and consciousness. Yet any contact with the spiritual heart, however minor, must sow the seeds of its eventual realization.


To open that space within we must release the knots of fear and desire that bind us to the outer world. We must let go of all the stress and tension that we create around ourselves trying to sustain a personal life or promote a personal identity. Space is our true nature. We must open our hearts to the inner space of pure awareness. That is the ultimate goal of all life, the beginning and end of everything, of which all that we know is but a shadow.

Vamadeva Shastri

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