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Updated: Nov 11, 2022

There is power in Ma.

When I lived in Tokyo, I was always mezmorised when walking down a busy street that was bustling with people moving to-and-fro, like a turbulent yet calm ocean.

No-one ever bumped into me, or looked me in the eyes, or bothered me in any way, even though I was surrounded by so many moving, busy bodies.

I would experience a calmness, a sense of being alone and undisturbed.

The sense was an intentional spacing between bodies and movements, a ‘communitas’ in shared agreement.

This is Ma.

Ma exists both temporally and spatially.

Empty space

Negative space

Silent space

Pregnant pause

Slow time

Moments in-between

Ma permeates throughout Japanese culture and society and is evident everywhere.

All over the world too.

Right now.

In you.

Try this observation now to experience Ma.

Find a moment to relax.

Be in a comfortable position and bring your awareness to your breath.

Stay with your normal, relaxed breath. Don’t change it, just notice.

Breathing in, breathing out. Connect with that rhythm for a few breaths.

Now, notice the short, still moments in-between the in-breath and the outbreath.

And again, in-between the out-breath and the in-breath.

Spend 30 seconds noticing these moments of pause. Of silence. Of stillness. Of spaciousness.

What do you notice?

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