The Holding of Being

Our earliest formative experience after birth is being held by our mother. This is immensely important to the baby. After the trauma of moving by pressure and contractions through the birth canal, the baby desperately needs the warmth, contact, security, safety and love of the mother’s arms and body. It needs to feel her loving presence enfolding it, and her focused attention and concern. It needs to feel welcomed to Earth. It needs to feel that this is a safe place that it is arriving into, and that it is going to be cared for and nurtured here.

This initial experience of the holding by the mother has been expanded by psychology into the “Holding Environment,” which is defined as the totality of the environmental conditions affecting the baby and later, the young child. As with the initial holding by the mother, the growing child needs the holding environment to provide warmth, safety, security and love. These are the conditions under which it can thrive and flourish in the world. These are the archetypal needs for the experience of living a good and satisfying human life.

If the baby does not receive an adequate holding, it fears that it is not going to be cared for and protected. It fears, above all, that it is going to be negligently dropped and perhaps its life extinguished. It loses its sense of safety and security, and becomes anxious and threatened. It has lost its holding, and it feels that it is not large or powerful enough to survive on its own.

As an adult, we carry with us the bodily feeling that was generated by the holding that we received as a baby and child. It is held at a cellular level. As we go out into the world on our own, we continue to need the primordial sense of being held, of having a Presence around us that is supporting us and caring for us. We can attempt to get a holding from other human beings, but it is always inadequate. It is always temporary and incomplete. The other person always has their own life and problems that must be attended to, and our welfare may often be peripheral to them.

In the adult phase of life, the only place to obtain a real holding is from Being. If one realizes with great clarity and awareness that our life processes are, minute by minute, being supported and maintained by Being, and that this constitutes and is part of a continual holding by Being, a sense of warmth, intimacy and support are generated in the deepest realms of the psyche, and life appears positive. We can live our human lives fully.

Many times, however, the pressures of our adult life begin to crowd out our awareness of Being. We get so involved with our roles and responsibilities, our fears and ambitions and challenges, that we lose our contact with Being. If this condition of amnesia of the soul continues for any length of time, we can lose the holding of Being in our awareness. At this point, we are in real trouble.

When we lose the holding of Being, it feels like the bottom has dropped out of our stomach. It feels like we are standing at the edge of a bottomless Abyss, and that we might at any moment topple into that vast blackness and fall forever. It is terrifying. It also produces a feeling of grief, endless, continual grief and pain, which may pour out in tears at any moment. This can look remarkably like a nervous breakdown. In fact, grief and tears are appropriate emotional responses to temporarily having lost contact with your soul and with Being. The feeling of crisis that arises is emerging from the loss of the holding of Being. This leaves you in a vulnerable, threatened and extremely painful place. It can produce hopelessness. If you don’t know what is causing this state, and you don’t know what to do to heal it, it seems that it might last forever.

However, as unpleasant and painful as this state is, it is not terminal. It is possible to heal it, to reconnect with Being and your soul and re-establish the holding of Being in the deepest realms of your psyche. The requirement is that you do some serious spiritual work. It is necessary to turn toward and reconnect with invisible, living, conscious and intelligent Being, which is the Cosmos. It is necessary to put this reconnection with Being on the front burner. For some, this may mean re-ordering your concepts of Reality, your world-view. For a period, this must be the center of your existence. As you turn toward Being, It will rush to meet you. The symptoms of your loss of Being and Its holding will lessen. The grief and pain will begin to lift, and life will slowly return to normal.

Having experienced the extreme states of grief and pain involved in the loss of the holding of Being, you will hopefully never again ignore your contact with Being. It will remain in the forefront of your consciousness that your wellbeing depends on maintaining this priority in your life. On it rests all the future experiences that you might have of sacredness, depth, meaning, belonging and majesty. On it depends all your future experiences of being held and nurtured, and cared for by invisible Presence. You will, at this point, have an entirely different experience in your daily life. You will, at this point, have entered an entirely new Cosmos.

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