When I was first attracted to Tantra, one of the main appeals was that I saw a path that seemed to be able to help me open up. Open up my barriers, open up my heart, open my sexuality, open my energy, open my personality into a more transparent and pure expression of Being…
As I walk the path I recognize an equally important element to opening up: the art of holding space and creating a safe/sacred container for this journey of opening.
Have you ever experienced opening up in some way, but it has been in a situation in which it was not safe to open and thus you got hurt (and then no doubt recoiled and closed back up again!). For example, expressing deep emotions to people who could not handle them- who maybe laughed at you or rejected you for your expression. Or maybe you opened sexually with someone who couldn’t stay present and avoided intimacy. Or perhaps you confided something very vulnerable to someone who broke your confidentially and passed it on in gossip. Ouch!
These situations are all an example of a lack of safe space.
In these examples, the people you chose to reveal yourself to could not hold space for you. That’s not to say that they should have. It is wise for us to discern who we share our deepest selves with. People cannot hold space for you what they cannot hold space for within themselves. Thus if someone has rejected their own feelings of grief, they are unlikely to be able to hold space for your grief.
Meditation is excellent practice to expand our capacity to hold space, for ourselves and for others. Meditation is the practice of witnessing without reacting. Therefore a meditator can hear stories, feel emotions, witness life… and make space for it to pass through without judgment.
So as we leap onto a path of opening up, it is wise to consider also the space around us. Do you feel safe with this teacher/ therapist/ lover? Have you made a ritual to create sacred space? Do the physical surroundings feel good to you? Have you thought about how to complete the experience and take care of any emotions that may arise or energy that may move? A wise teacher and a well-trained therapist will know how to do all of these things. But you can also empower yourself to take care of yourself on the path of opening up.
If you do find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of opening up and then feeling dropped or unheld or rejected…then this is the time to hold space for yourself. Get yourself into a safe-feeling physical space and then do some meditation or practice that brings awareness to your inner world. You may want to find a private room, or go into nature, or even into a church or temple.
If you are not so experienced in practices, then simply close your eyes and watch the inner sensations in your body without judgment, without analysis and without trying to manipulate what you feel. Deepen your breath and relax, allowing feelings, sensations and energy to move as they will. Literally make the space within your body for the energy/emotions/sensations to move. In the light of conscious awareness, energy purifies. Your silent mind will heal any distorted energy.
If you feel a lot of pain then inhale that pain into your heart, and exhale love like a pure mist (Atisha’s Meditation). You can even place your hands over your heart center as you do this meditation. But don’t get too busy doing techniques…loving presence is all that is called for. Too much technique can get in the way!
As you learn to hold space for yourself, you will also become better at holding space for others. Not only that, but you will find that you open up naturally when there is a space of loving presence…so as you create space you will also open up like a flower blossoming in the light of the sun.
OPENING IS THE DANCE OF SHAKTI (LIFEFORCE ENERGY)
HOLDING IS THE PRESENCE OF SHIVA (CONSCIOUSNESS)
WITH BOTH TOGETHER WE CAN EXPERIENCE THE TOTALITY OF EXPANSION.
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