A discussion about things of the spiritual nature.

Stillness and the space between

Posted on | November 22, 2008 | 1 Comment

Stillness and the space between

Stillness is putting a muzzle on that monkey chattering in your mind to hear the great ideas that come from somewhere else. You can call that somewhere else “God.” You can call it “the Universe.” For the sake of argument, I’ll call it “the Source.” Telling the voice in your head to shut up is one thing. Making it shut up or ignoring it until it shuts up requires practice. That practice is the basis of meditation. Another way to think of it is what I call “The Space Between.”

There is an infinity in the space between thoughts. The wonderful ideas that can come from that space are limitless. Picture a ruler or a number line from your days in grade school. On that ruler or number line, “1” is followed next by “2” then “3” and so on in both directions into infinity. Later, you learn about fractions like ¼, 1/3, ½, 2/3, ¾ and so on. Think about that. When you understand that the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on are simply labels for concepts, and the same is true for each labeled fraction, then you understand that there is an infinity in the space between each number or fraction and its label. More importantly, there is an infinity between each label we choose for anything.

The infinity in the space between doesn’t apply just to numbers. “The space between” applies to anything you can label. So examining two words, phrases, or concepts that generally do not work together is a great creative tool – examining the space between things that we don’t even associate with one another creates something I like to think of as a “bigger infinity.” You could also think of it as a “richer” infinity for great ideas, because like a riverbed that has never been explored, a virgin piece of farmland, or an isolated lake in Canada, it’s resources have not been mined by others for their own purposes. When you understand the concept of “The Space Between” then you will never again experience a scarcity of ideas. If you’re stumped, you just haven’t mined the infinite spaces between thoughts, words, actions, feelings, senses, or labels.

In the quiet infinities of the space between we find inspired ideas.

The space between is not empty. The first occupants one generally encounters are the archetypes programmed into every human. Those archetypes are described in different ways. Joseph Campbell talked of them in his famous works including THE HERO’S JOURNEY and THE POWER OF MYTH. THE HERO’S JOURNEY inspired George Lucas’s storyline for STAR WARS, and is the outline of the human spiritual journey toward enlightenment. What it describes is found in practically every culture, in a virtually identical pattern. The hero hears a call to adventure, denies that call, experiences an event that requires him to engage in the journey anyway, finds a mentor, faces the challenge, achieves of the goal of the journey, then fights his way back home where his knowledge and experience are embraced for the benefit of the group.

We can also find the archetypes of our collective unconscious through the images of the Tarot. Now, don’t wig out and think this book has suddenly gone in the direction of some Satanic cult. (My mom would probably get that idea when someone mentions the Tarot cards.) It’s not. In addition to being easily associated with Gypsy fortunetellers, some interesting historic characters, and being unquestionably the fore-runner of the playing cards you probably have in a drawer somewhere, the Tarot is a really a wonderful creative tool. Through whatever Source you want to name, the cards have become associated with different parts of the “hero’s journey” and the archetypes of all human experience we find in the space between thoughts and labels.

The deck is divided into two major parts, the Major Arcana, and the Minor Arcana. The 22 Major Arcana cards directly parallel the path of the hero on his journey. It’s akin to Joseph Campbell’s outline, except that the 22 cards outline the journey in more detail. The Minor Arcana is the basis for our current playing cards and is divided into four suits with Ace through 10 and four Royal cards.

You’re probably thinking I’m going to tell you to lay a spread of cards to “divine” the solution through fortune-telling magic. If so, you’re wrong. The cards are a great creative tool, because you can randomly pull a few cards and then start exploring their meanings, which directly tap the subconscious images that cross age, gender, culture, and time. You can also use these cards as the labels for your exploration of the space between. You’ll generate some wonderfully creative, inspired, and effective ideas that will resonate with your audience at the level of their soul. The ideas will also manifest in every sensual form – editorial, visual, auditory, tactile – and you might even get some ideas for integrating smell.

Infinities know no boundaries.

Some people find the quiet in the space between to be a wonderful place to “receive” guidance. Many successful songwriters describe this experience as something close to “channeling” the music from a larger collective creative source. To tap in, they just get their egos out of the way and listen. This type of receiving assumes many names, from the “inspiration,” the fundamentalist church attributes authorship of the books of The Bible, to the Spirit Guides of tribal cultures, the “Holy Guardian Angel” of new age spirituality, and to actual angelic visitations as described in the Old and New Testament and Islam which many people all over the world claim still happen every day.

We’ve all had incredibly realistic dreams that seemed like messages. We’ve all had wonderfully creative ideas “come to us” as we are in the space between waking up and sleeping. We’ve all had moments of déjà vu. These are all experiences of finding the stillness in the space between thoughts. It doesn’t matter what label you place on the experience, or to what source you attribute the inspiration. The one thing that matters in the creative process is that you allow yourself to step out of the masculine energy of controlling the process and allow yourself to surrender to the feminine energy of receiving the inspirations that emanate from the spaces between.

Finally, those free-form ideas must be filtered back through the left side of our brain for some logical feedback on which specific solutions can be practically implemented.


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    Kevin Houchin

    Kevin E. Houchin is an attorney, artist, teacher, author, and principal of Houchin Consulting, PLLC, a copyright, trademark, arts & entertainment, business development, and branding firm located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
    To schedule Kevin for keynote speeches, workshops, or seminars, call 970.231.2426 or email

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