The several meanings of space
No space is empty. All spaces have meaning.
The social spaces
Have you ever sat on a beach looking at the waves going up and down? Is that empty space?
The answer is, it depends. When you are looking at the waves, you are not looking at the waves. You are thinking about life. You think about the waves being a metaphor for the ups and downs of life. I have, every time I have been on a beach.
Have you been to a hill station and looked at the mountains, standing somewhere in the middle of them? Is that empty space?
The answer is, it depends. When you look at the peak of the mountains, you think about the highs of your life, and when you look at the hollow depths of the mountain, you think about the lows. Whenever mountain beckon, I have done this exercise.
Spaces are only physically empty. If they are empty metaphorically depends on us, and how we view those spaces.
Is your home empty?
May be it is not, if you are fortunate to have people who love you, live inside it. A home where nobody loves each other may feel quite empty, even if it is full of people.
The space for solitude
I have spent quite a lonely life, even though I have always had people around me. I have struggled to understand people, and they have struggled to understand me. I don’t understand pretense and people can’t face the truth.
When I traveled solo, I spent a lot of time by myself on the beaches, and in the mountains. There have been these vast empty spaces, but I haven’t quite felt lonely in my own company. I am a writer, and a reader. So, books have filled up the empty emotional space, wherever they might have been.
I guess I am trying to understand what space has meant to me, as I write this essay. Do you feel the same?
Of physical and emotional spaces
Have you ever been unfortunate to be in a long distance relationship in a romantic sense?
Yes, that question has been deliberately framed that way. I think people who love each other emotionally (which should be the first level of love), would hate to be away from each other physically. I know, because at one point, I was in a long distance relationship. It destroyed a few precious years of my life because distance doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes the heart lonely and crave for physical touch.
Love has a physical context too. If you love someone, you want to love them physically, as well as emotionally. You want to be touched physically, hugged, for example. Physical spaces expand emotional spaces.
Similarly, when people don’t love each other emotionally, they learn to grow apart physically. The physical space expands because of the emotional space. There are couples who live in the same house and don’t make love. The emotional space expands their physical space.
Love fills up empty spaces, and the lack of love creates empty spaces, in the physical and emotional sense.
I am sitting here in my room in a corner of the world, in India. This is a rented apartment. I have been living here for the last few years. Is this room empty? No, it is not an empty. This is my room. There is a study table here, where I sit when I am tired of working in the bed. Can you visualize my room?
So, to conclude, spaces have meaning depending on who occupies them
Spaces have meaning depending on who occupies them. When I occupy this room, it makes it a writer’s room. When my mother occupies this room, it makes it the homemaker’s room. When my wife occupies this room, makes it the working woman’s room. If my father occupies this room, it makes it the authoritarian’s room.
You could feel lonely in crowded spaces. You could feel liberated with one person, who fills up all the voids of life for you.
Spaces by themselves, mean nothing. They are defined by who occupies them.
What does your space feel like?
Thank you for reading.