I remember years ago attending an art class where my teacher instructed us to draw ‘negative space.’  Instead of focusing on the object or the scene, we were asked to focus on the space around and in between the objects, then draw those shapes.  We were encouraged to avoid drawing the familiar, avoid replicating what our eyes normally ‘saw’; our assignment was designed to retrain us look for the shapes and the forms that lay between the objects — to perceive negative space.

Negative Space is always there, it is always present; we have just become entrained to look for familiar shapes, known objects, and to compare one type of object to another.  We learned to focus on content or form; no longer focused on the space that exists between the forms.

The same can be said with regards to our Spiritual/Religious Life.

What if our Spiritual Mentor or Spiritual Teacher were to challenge us to look for the Negative Space — to explore the space in between the things we hold near and dear? To see the Space that lies between what we’ve been taught contains spiritual or religious significance/meaning?

By focusing on Negative Space we have an opportunity to NOT know what it is we are seeing, to see uniquely the shape that isn’t attached to content, to see beyond the definable or recognizable landscape.