Thursday, October 4, 2012

The holding environment of love...

The great British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott shared his notion of the “holding environment,” in which a parent could aspire to create the most optimal conditions of love, kindness, and attunement for the developing nervous system and sweet little hearts of our babies. As adults – especially those committed to a radical opening of the heart, awakening, and loving kindness in our world – we can take Winnicott’s pioneering vision into our lives and relationships in a way that has the potential to transform everything.

Winnicott notes two primary aspects of any effective “holding environment” – contact and space. When we somehow find the courage to take the risk to open our hearts to ourselves and to others – willing to remain utterly groundless, uncertain, and vulnerable in the face of the unknown luminous nature of this life – we are able to make actual contact. When we look into the eyes of another – or into the mirror of our own hearts – we are fully there, unbearably attuned to the presence of a pulsing human heart, organizing its reality in its own way, just like us only wanting to be happy, free from suffering. We see so clearly that each person we could ever meet is only longing, in their own unique ways, to know love as the ultimate organizing principle of all that is, has been, and ever could be. 

The other quality of the holding environment is that of open space. When we love ourselves – and love another – there is tremendous space for the other to be fully what they are. We become so concerned with their own organic unfolding that we’ll do anything to support that – even if it results in the annihilation of our own hearts, in the dissolution of everything we thought to be true. To provide space for another is the greatest gift we can offer – not an empty, detached, objective space, but one that is filled with the closest and most intimate contact, with the most radical love and care, and in a way where we allow the other to matter to us in the most profound way. We are willing to risk it all. 

Let us in this day allow our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our entire sensual reality to take luminous expression as a holding environment for those in our lives, for this entire planet, and for the unfolding of our own precious hearts. In this way we become radical grace-vessels of love, willing to allow our entire lives to fall apart at any time, for everything to be totally reorganized according to the forever-unknown and unresolvable movement of love, as it pours out of the divine body of the Beloved and her vision.