The Space Between Heartbeats

One of the most memorable of my dreams occurred years ago, nearly a couple of decades. In it I heard the words, “You have to listen to the space between heartbeats.” In the dream I would drift into a vast, fathomless, spaceless, timeless void – pure peace there – and then bam, a heartbeat occurred and I slammed back into my body and this time-space continuum. Then I would drift out again, time outside of time, endless ocean of peace, and bam, another heartbeat would bring me back. This kept happening. I became increasingly irritated with the heart beat that shocked me out of that limitlessness, until I started to get the rhythm. It’s like a dance, I thought in the dream. I was catching on. A very visceral quality permeated this dream, I can still feel it.

Buddhists similarly talk about listening to the space between thoughts. I am intrigued that this dream talked about space between heartbeats. It offers a more embodied, incarnated focus; shifts the thought of the head to the experience of an embodied heart. Many of my dreams and experiences in the years after this one seemed to be moving me toward understanding the brain in the heart, the thought of the heart as distinct from that of the head–two very different systems, generally differing sets of values, methods and focus.

Indigenous people tell us that they think with the heart, and it is well understood by them that the thinking of the head is meant to be subservient to the thought of the heart. The Western mind switched this, and let the head dominate the heart, almost to the exclusion of valuing the thought of the heart. The result has been ruinous to the eco-systems of Earth and human well-being. Look at what an anxious mess we are in general, consumerists at war with each other constantly, out of touch with what truly nourishes our bodies and our connection to the Self.

Recently I have been experiencing a re-visitation of the sensations from that dream. In the transition from mountain to town, events in my current life – like a session with a client, a dinner with friends, a dream group, a phone conversation feel like the heartbeats in the dream I described. They bring me into this time/space continuum and remind me of incarnation, a very welcome sensation in this case. Between these events I seem to inhabit another reality that feels more timeless, spaceless, void-like, but rich with sensation. I won’t say that the experience of this in-between dimension is peace-filled at this time; actually there is anxiety involved unlike in the dream. But the similarity between my waking experience now and that of the dream keeps occurring to me–the constant floating out into timeless/spacelessness with the sudden return to this dimension, experiencing vividly the dichotomy.

With this I am reminded to listen to the space between heartbeats. Get the rhythm, learn the dance.

My writing has almost come to a standstill during this process. I only seem to write when I come to the mountain, on the rare occasions that I do, and not always even then. My desk in town is in a tiny room with low ceilings and no mountains outside the window–not at all like here where there is a vast sense of space both inside and outside. Must find the peace in the space between while in town, catch the rhythm and dance this new reality. Listen to the space between the beats of the heart. Then jump in when the beat happens.


One Response to “The Space Between Heartbeats”

  1. Sarah Davis Says:

    Nice piece. thank you.

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