I find that when I use the word contraction, I often mean it as contraction of identity.
When my sense of identity contracts down to the small self – or an emotion or thought arising from this small self, everything else – the body and everything external to the small self – becomes “other”. This is a world of blind attachments, drama, fear, anger, greed, delusion, blame, guilt and regret.
When I come to myself as space & awareness, all these phenomena arise within me in the present. It is a rich, fluid and seamless tapestry, and I find that there is no need to get caught up in any particular parts of it. I can allow the drama to let go of me.
In the first case, my identity is exclusive and I perceive myself as an object in a world of infinite and unpredictable objects. In the second case, I find a fuller holarchy of being: space & awareness and all phenomena arising – internal and external to the small self – in the present. In one, there is struggle, drama and confusion. In the other, there is a sense of ease and clarity.