How to Embrace the Unknown: Knowing What you Don't Know, The Gap Part 3

Welcome to Mental Space Monday! Where we journey inside the rabbit hole of collective consciousness and submit to the whims of curiosity.

Hello! So great to see you again and welcome to 2015! There are so many opportunities that await us this year. So many struggles and lessons and celebrations that currently are mo more than a twinkle in our eye, our soul, our being. Our entelechy awaits - let's embrace it with open arms!

Part 3 of our Gap series is the perfect juncture to move forward into this brand new year. We will be discussing the Universal Gap which examines our place within the world around us. The relationship between us as humans and all that lies beyond. The endless, eternal question of WHY.

As a quick recap:

Real magic, the secret, indefinable ‘wonderful’ of life exists within what I like to call ‘the gap. The Gap is the place where the magic happens. between here and there; between what is and what can be; between what we are and who we will be. The gap is the space between. Between what? EVERYTHING. In essence, the Gap is that something we are missing; that we are striving for. The Gap is the indefinable magic of science, ecosystems and physics equations. It is human connection; love, jealousy, friendship. It is the yearning within us to be more, do more, understand more. It is wanting; it is striving, it is struggle and failure and determination. The Gap is why we get up in the morning and what we dream about at night.

The beauty of examining the gap is that in understanding what is missing, we begin to allow our brains to do 2 things: 1. No problem can be solved without first understanding what that problem is. To fill in the gap with our innate knowledge and our subconscious problem-solving. 2. In understanding that the gap lies between 2 things, we can jump off the side we are standing on and better trust that there is something on the other side. In awareness of the other side, we can jump with the trust that we are risking in order to reach something greater.

As an example: the most fundamental and most complex gap of all is: Life itself. Think about it. All that you are, all you will become, all your memories, your achievements, your self lies between birth and death. Both on a physical level and also on a psychological level, you exist in the Gap between birth and death.

As we have explored in the previous 2 weeks, The Gap can be best understood in 3 pieces, each broken into 2 parts:

Individual: pertaining to the self and all that lies within who you are (including all potential that you contain). Elemental Gap: The physical gaps that exist on the cellular, biological level inside each of us. This Gap refers to the basic challenges of being a living being. Fundamental Gap: The essence that makes us who we are; the difference between our cells and our selves. This is that something that makes you more than a collection of atoms, but an actual person with desires and dreams.

Social: Pertaining to the interaction of self with those around you. The bridge between Primal Gap: The physical gaps that exist from person to person. We have an innate need for physical contact, for palpable assurance that we are not alone. Perspective Gap: This is the space between my life experience and yours. The space that, when bridged, gives us perspective, connection, comradery.

The last level that we will look at is the Universal level. This is the level that deals with purpose. This is the  gap that examines how we fit into the bigger picture and most importantly, the WHY. Why are we here, what purpose does our existence serve?

The first level of the Universal Gap contains the fact that we are basically filters for what is happening in the world around us. Yes, the world continues if we are not here to witness it but the distance between a happening and our perception and understanding of it are what make it notable. This is the age old question, "If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?" I will answer that for you - yes. But what sound? That can only be described through the filter of how you define "sound". Is sound simply the fact that there are sound waves created? If this is all that it means and no one is around to experience or document the emission of those sound waves, does it still count as a sound? Furthermore, the relevance of it making a sound all comes back to its importance as a part of a greater system. Who cares if it makes a sound if no one is there to hear it?

The beauty of the Filter Gap is that the implications of it are infinite. We are the filter of the world around us. This gap also includes the idiom "looking at life through rose-colored glasses". Think of yourself like Cyclops in X-Men. He is unable to look at the world at all except through the filter of glasses that he wears. We too are blind to the world around us without the 'glasses' of our perception. There is actually no such thing as "objectivity", no such thing as "un-biased". All that is taken in through our senses, even through our comprehension has, by necessity, been filtered.

What this means is that we can alter the filter at will. We can choose to wear 'rose-colored' glasses; to see things positively, or otherwise. When I was younger I had fairly severe depression. Living in this hopeless state convinces you over time that any happiness you have felt before was just pretend. That looking at the positive side of life is simply making yourself believe in a fantasy world. You feel as if the bleak view of the world that you currently see is its true nature. This is not true of course - the reality is that both points of view are equally real. Both require that you view the world around you through the lenses you have chosen to put on. (In no way am I saying that depression is all a choice or that it is not chemically based, but I am saying that little by little, you CAN train yourself to wear other glasses.)

The last of all 6 gaps is the biggest. This one is the doozy that we all spend our lives trying to 'get'; to define, to understand, to wrap our heads around. The Purpose Gap is the reason we are all here. It is the gap that we try to explain with religion, with philosophy. We try to define it through science, through meditation, through the bridging of all the other gaps combined. In essence, it IS the other gaps; they are all contained within the bridging of the Purpose.

What is important to note about the Purpose Gap is that, like all the others - but to a greater level, this one is completely unknowable. We must become comfortable with the fact that this one doesn't get solved, but that within that unknowable nature is the beauty of life. We are all working the same puzzle. We examine the little pieces, assess their shape, their size and try to fit them into a larger picture, but here's a clue to its completion: not one of us has a complete set. No one does. We all have a few misshapen shards of the bigger picture and the only way that we can make sense of the whole, of the entirety of the puzzle of life, is to share. Is to combine our pieces; our experiences, our perspectives, our passions, our pain and lessons, with those around us. I promise you, the picture on the box is no help. Any "final picture" of what it should look like is a facade, it is a fabrication likely made up to make a profit. Not one of us knows what it is supposed to look like. Bridging the Gap is about combining our pieces with others and getting collectively closer to a real, meaningful conclusion. We must let go and hold on for the ride without assurance of what lies on the other side of this gap; of what our puzzle will ultimately look like. That is the exhilaration of existence. THAT is the magic that we are all looking for: the fact that it all unfolds before us as it should in its own time and that we have the privilege of being here to watch it all unfold. Isn't it marvelous?

So I encourage you to delight in the gap. Embrace the uncertainty of it and commit to the exploration of its infinity. Just as in life, the gap is not about finishing, it is about experiencing and enjoying - while we strive to reach the other side, we also know that it is impossible to reach it. (Math nerds: we have reached our asymptote.) The exhilarating part is that the closer we get to our goal, the more enjoyable it is, the closer to infinity we become (wallflowers, you know what I mean).


Embrace the infinity of the gap; enjoy the unpredictability of the journey.