You may not be familiar with the notion of intimately holding space for someone, but this is a profound gift that you can give to another human being. When you hold space for someone, you bring your undivided presence to that person which is a very intimate act; it’s not about sex, it is about vulnerability, communication, presence and acceptance.
This means to be with them without judgment, to lend your heart and ears, accepting their truth and giving without wanting anything in return. It can be very cathartic and extremely restorative for someone who is in emotional pain, to those with depression, grief, unresolved trauma or unresolved issues of any kind.
Buddhism promotes loving-kindness (often called Metta) as the one human characteristic to be developed above all others.
Holding space is a deep act of loving-kindness which involves speaking and listening honestly and compassionately. It involves softening our hearts and can be developed through practices that help us cultivate the unconditional, expansive qualities of the heart. It is unconditional, inclusive love, a love with wisdom.
The Metta Prayer is designed to intentionalize good wishes and a sense of benevolence for oneself and then others. In relaxing into a space of loving-kindness you may find it useful to whisper to yourself inwardly the following phrases:
My heart fills with loving-kindness. May I be happy. May I be well. May I be peaceful. May I be free.
For all beings everywhere, whether known or unknown to me: May you be happy. May you be well. May you be peaceful. May you be free.
A place of non-judgment is important for another person to feel free to express themselves as it allows for instant inner peace. This takes practice, but if we open our hearts, then anyone, including the people who make us crazy and push our buttons can be our teachers. Try to sit in the given moment, and don’t think about whether it is good or bad, just observe the sensations of the moment. Let the other person express their emotions, feelings, and ideas without giving them advice.
There are various ways to feel un-grounded, but the general description is when you feel untethered; like your soul is not in your body, like you are not paying attention and easily drift off in all directions without a strong attachment to anything.
The key to grounding yourself does not rest in controlling yourself, the situation, or other people around you, but in simply allowing everything to progress naturally. The more you try to control or resist a situation the more physical, and emotional turmoil you will experience. Additional, the more you accept a situation as it is – without trying to change it in any way, or change yourself in any way – the easier it is to stay centered and hold space.
Don’t Absorb Their Pain-
The last thing one should be aware of is not to absorb the other persons’ pain. As sensitive people, we may present with high emotion and feel easily overwhelmed by our senses and the emotions of the other people around us. So ground yourself, breathe and just bear witness and let the person release. Think of it as a wave of energy (which it is) and then imagine it flowing around and past you, not through you. We are there as a witness more than a fixer.