Holding space

Image from Paul O’Brien’s Visionary I-Ching

Yesterday I addressed the false belief that centering means being able to come to a point of comfort after shifting out the pain. From my perspective that is not centering. That is jumping the gun to release something you haven’t yet fully looked at. Centering, at heart, is being with What Is.

To do this most fully we need to be able to hold space for whatever is coming up in our life and in our energetic fields. “Holding space” is another way of saying “being with what is,” which we do by creating sacred space. And creating sacred space is just another way of saying holding someone or something in unconditional love. Unconditional. That means no insistence that that person or thing (and that includes you and your pain) shift and change.

When I was in youth work people attributed my “success” with young people to the fact that “I saw the person before me,” rather than the problems to be solved. It is more accurate to say that I held space so that the person before me could make a fuller appearance. I created a non-judgmental, safe, and expansive space for this. This is the exact same skill I bring to my current energy healing work. And it is the skill we all must learn to use to our own benefit, as well, if we truly want to get to know ourselves, instead of feeling pushed always to “improve” or to hide.

How do we do this? The same way we engage our brilliant system: by intention and breath. When you start to come to center you might notice thoughts, feelings, and sensations calling your attention, and some of them may be uncomfortable, tender, or even painful. If you are in acute physical pain, see a doctor. If it is more of the emotional kind, start breathing space around it. Don’t ask how. Your brilliant system already knows.

To appease your inquiring mind, what you are doing is creating a more capacious container for your disharmonious flows. If you think of your pain as red dye dropped into a thimble of water, what you want to do is to increase the size of the container. You are not the red dye but the ocean of water around it. If you continue to find your expansiveness with your intention and breath, you will be able to identify more with the steady observer within, your true or Higher Self.

That’s it. If you continue holding that pain with earnest curiosity and unconditional love (and there is no tricking it with false pretenses to get it to pop out), then it will start to open to you and teach you. It is shifting you, you see. You aren’t trying to “release what no longer serves you” because currently it undeniably is serving you. (That is why you are holding onto it.) So be compassionate with yourself as you learn, and honor your pain as it teaches you. You will also sense your next step if you don’t rush it or demand that it appear exactly as your ego wishes it to.

In this state you are doing both the holding and the being held in love. This is quite a skill worth mastering. With practice you will be able to take this off the mat and on the go. And your self compassion will also translate into greater compassion for others.

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