I was amazed to read that we don’t believe that our ‘personal space’ extends beyond the tip of our noses! While it may be an exaggeration, it brings up a relevant question: what EXACTLY is YOUR definition of ‘Personal Space’?
If someone comes too close to you physically, say in an elevator then you may feel they have entered your personal, private space. If you can feel someone’s breath on you, then it’s a possible intrusion into ‘your’ space.
Is our personal space so small? Just a few feet away?
Is there another view of our personal space?
How about you extending your personal space beyond few feet? What if you redefine the private personal space to encompass not just your body but also your emotions? Or something beyond that?
Imagine a pot. Except that this is a ‘thinking’ and ‘analysing’ pot.
There are three ‘views’ about itself that the pot could have about its private, personal space:
1.If the pot identifies itself with the material and shape it is made of, then it may define itself as ‘metal pot’ with a ‘shape like a pear’. It can’t think anything else beyond this kind of definition.
2. Now, if the pot defines itself by the ‘utility’ – the use its put for, then it would define itself as something that can ‘ carry water’. Now it has gone beyond its limited definition of what it is constituted of.
3. If the pot identifies itself with the water (not by the utiliy) it is carrying inside it, then it has gone beyond the ‘utility’ view and identifies itself with the ‘stuff’ that’s inside it.
4. Now what about the vast river from where the pot was filled up with water? If the pot identifies itself with just water – not just what is inside the pot but the water from the huge river, then it would identify with the river and see the continuum. It would not bother about its shape or holding capacity, so on and so forth!
Our view of ourselves is similar to the above example.
At a certain time in life, we just think that our body is ‘me’ and start paying more than needed attention to the body. Over another time, we recognise that our mind/ thoughts define us too – and we start paying attention to that and derive our definition of life. Extend this to your emotions – and you now start listening in to your emotions and give it the needed importance. Again, we redefine ourselves beyond body, mind, emotions and associate ourselves with something more- say the utility / purpose of your being born here, for example!
This kind of behaviour is natural for anyone as we progress in our own views over a period of time. Hindu philosophy & thought defines ‘me, I’ as the universal consciousness that is present in all – not just the human beings, but everything that constitutes the universe – all that you can imagine and much more!
When we start looking at ourself as a ‘continuum’ – part of the universal consciousness, ( or more aptly as the consciousness itself) devoid of the ego we will have ability to appreciate all forms of life, in different stages of evolution – mental and physical and develop a sense of compassion and oneness.
This kind of a view not only helps you intellectually, it has practical applications in life. Take for example- individuals in customer facing roles – they would start seeing their role differently and how they respond to the customer will change. Also, team work & cooperation increases as you ‘grow’ in your definition of personal space beyond ‘I, me, myself’.
Different forms of yoga and meditation are the ways and means to expand our view of ourselves. These are the timeless, universal & practical techniques that you can make an integral part of life.
So, what is your personal space?
How about expanding that definition to get better results in life?