Introduced by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the 1970s, “mudra space awareness” was the name given to a theatre training practice that we pursue here. In the past decade we here at Mudra Institute shortened the phrase to Mudra alone. But that does not mean that space doesn’t matter.
Here are the seven ways that “space” plays an important role in Mudra training:
1) Mudra refers to optimal action — action that resolves duality. For actions to be optimal, they must arise in a spacious (mental) environment. Therefore, each exercise begins with an orientation to space as it exists in the present, e.g. by scanning.
2) Therefore, mudra exercises always evoke a subjective experience of vastness. Without spaciousness, actions would be mere ordinary reactions, not transformational.
3) Senses are not physical mechanisms but “fields” of spaciousness. Each sense field has its own quality of space. Seeing has a quality of space that is different from hearing or touching. Reducing each sense field to its essential nature reveals it to be space.
4) Seeing the co-dependence of” this” (the subjective — over here — nature of experience) and “that” (the seemingly external nature of experience) requires establishing a spacious viewpoint.
5) While gesture (Mudra) is a masculine action, space is a feminine context. Both work together in a balanced way. That’s why Mudra requires awareness of space. Muda + space is non-bilnary, non-dual.
7. Gestures made without space lack compassion. When gestures arise from space, they are compassionate. Thus Mudra = space + heart.