In INSIGHTS by Frans Stiene3 Comments

In many spiritual traditions, the essence of the mind-heart is symbolized by space. But why is this? Our true mind-heart is a union with the universe. The universe has no beginning or end and therefore our mind-heart is as spacious as the universe. Space is a great metaphor because nothing sticks to space, we can not hurt space, space can not be damaged, and it can accommodate everything and anything.

Everything will become sacred and therefore everything will be treated with respect, kindness, compassion, and love.

When, through daily meditation practice, we start to remember our own spacious mind-heart, we will therefore become more accommodating to everybody. This in turn will increase our compassion. Often we are only compassionate to our family and friends; we are in a way narrow-minded in our mind-heart. And as such, we can not accommodate more people, let alone accommodate animals, trees, you name it.

But through consistent practice, our mind-heart will be so spacious that our compassion includes everything. Everything will become sacred and therefore everything will be treated with respect, kindness, compassion, and love.

Often people feel overwhelmed when helping or being compassionate to others, but that is because we do not have the energy which comes freely when our mind-heart is spacious. Imagine your mind-heart as spacious as the universe: everything is free-flowing, and your energy is not stuck anymore by small-minded concepts, attachments, fears, worry and jealousy. We have a tremendous amount of free-flowing energy which we can utilize to be compassionate to everyone and everything, without feeling overwhelmed or burned out by our compassion.

And even if the person who we are compassionate to doesn’t say “thank you”, we will be okay with this. Most of the time we want something in return for being compassionate to others; however, that is not real compassion. When we want something back from the other, our giving has strings attached to it; the strings of the ego tie us to a narrow mind-heart. Real compassion has no strings attached at all—in fact we give with the mindset of a spacious mind-heart: no giver, nothing to give, and no receiver. Because when we are as spacious as the universe, we have the direct experience that everything is part of this universe, oneness; hence, no giver, no gift, or receiver. A spacious mind-heart is so important in our modern day world, as we get upset by so many small things which come our way. This happens because we have a narrow mind-heart full of anger, worry, or fear, to name but a few emotions we can let ourselves get stuck in. But with a spacious mind-heart nothing sticks! It is all okay.

These are just a few examples of why old spiritual traditions used the metaphor for space when pointing out our true mind-heart. However, if it is only an intellectual concept, then we do not embody this spaciousness. Therefore we need to meditate so that we can have a direct experience of our true spacious mind-heart. In doing this, we can bring this state of mind-heart into all we do in our daily life.

About the Author
Frans Stiene

Frans Stiene


I love travel, teaching and writing, and have been teaching meditation internationally for over seventeen years. I am passionate about studying Japanese esoteric Buddhist teachings like Shingon, Tendai, and Shugendo, and then teaching them from a less strict viewpoint so that we all can benefit from these wonderful teachings. My main focus is helping people to remember their own true identity, because it is only through remembering this that we can start to create a world full of compassion and wisdom. My website. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author.

Photo by Gerhard Bögner, Austria.

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  1. Kay

    Spaciousness is one of mt favorite reminders for myself and others. Thank you Frans for reminding me and others with this article and Eric for the positive comment . Shunyata ,emptiness is kind of taken by high spiritual insights and if used ,eveb though a great ,important reminder ,easily implies one is on another level .
    Spaciousness is therefore less heavy ,so to speak ,still in an easier realm for conversations and reminders .

    I want to add a lifelong experience to this ,might write an article on this later ,but for starters this comment .
    As a son of a professional politician ,lawyer and historian I was , since thinking days ,influenced by great democratic ideals and thoughts and as a voracious reader knew that millions died in human history for democratic rights and still do . One fact struck me early on . Even great social activist had and have often a great discrepance in their outward activity for democratic rights ,but in their private ,more intimate behavior followed other ,contradictory rules .
    Democratic rights ,hard fought for , are for instance : ” Free speech ,free information ,free choice ,free gathering .
    They could lead someone ,if taken joyful seriously ,very far spiritually !
    Often the spaciousness in understanding and application is missing !
    Who is really evolved enough to truly live free speech ? no animosity at all as reaction to any comment ?
    Most start to be censors ,become speech dictators at varying degrees of uncomfortableness
    Instead of seeing any uncomfortableness as further possibility to check once perception ,choice of understanding ,choice of communication and choice of leaning towards heaviness or lightness ,spaciousness !
    Spaciousness ,to evolve more and more towards an understanding ,freedom of spaciousness ( ,beginners mind ,comes to mind there as well ) ….
    Is a healthy ,where is my mind check up tool and much ,much more ,luckily beyond any grasping
    Do we live giving others and ourselves all relevant informations for their own ,as free as possible choice . ?
    Or do we contain ,manipulate the options ?
    Reminders of space and spaceousness can help us to live democratic ideals .
    Interestingly ,the best training tools ,technics to learn and live democratic ideals I found expressed and taught in Buddhism ,even though Tibetan Buddhism is outwardly still involved in big hierarchy structures .
    Please ,both of you Frans and Eric and others ,keep reminders of space and spaceousness coming and alive !

  2. Frans Stiene Author

    Hi Erik, interesting to hear that you translated several conferences on this topic. Love to hear more about it. Think it is so important as so many people are burned out and I think this is also why depression is such a big issue in our current world. I love Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche’s work.

  3. Erik Pema Kunsang

    Excellent article, Frans. This will help many people, especially in the medical profession. I have translated for several conferences on the burned-out syndrome, and Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche emphasized this exact quality of spaciousness in compassion as the remedy.

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