How does our practice become our own practice? One that is created from and supported from within? Who is the one who will always be with us, inside of us, holding the space, the sacred space that allows for the intimate observation of our breath, our life, even at the time of our very last breath, the very end of this life? How intimate are we with this innermost host? Do we have time for this relationship?
Underneath all the other voices, the voices of our parental figures and teachers and all with whom we have been in relationship, underneath all of those voices, the chattering, poking and prodding cacophony of our histories, is a silence and a space that holds our innermost host or teacher. It takes real courage to hear and feel this silence, and then to see and listen into all that is revealed. What if we don't like what we see? Or it doesn't take the form we expected?
Take the limbs of practice called Yama and Niyama, for example. The Mahavratam. In the classical yoga of Patanjali, these great vows (maha-great, vratam-vow) and personal observances are the essential and transcendent principles of practice.
For example, try simply (though not necessarily easily) creating and holding space for the observation of Satya or truthfulness, one of the Yamas. Try observing truthfulness on a deep and cellular level. The cells of truth revealing themselves from within. What does this truth sound like, look like, feel like? What is it to see, hear, and feel our cells in this sacred space of truthfulness? And in creating the space for truth, cellular truth, and holding the space for such an observation, much else is revealed. But this space holder, this inner teacher, is not a judge, or critic. But rather simply holds the space for observation. Listens, sees, supports, and guides by being a continuous and powerful space holder. The space holder like a sort of super hero or heroine. And the space holder can hold space anywhere. Because the space holder is inside. For instance, you can take a walk with the space holder, who holds space for the observation of satya (truthfulness), or ahimsa (non-violence), or anything with which you are willing to hold a space for observation. This could be your breath, for example. The space is created and held by this innermost host, or space holder. But this necessitates a willingness to create and hold a sacred space for observation. And can be challenging for a number of reasons.
Of course, the willingness to be receptive, to receive whatever is revealed through this lens, or in this atmosphere, of truthfulness, for example, it isn't necessarily easy. It can be very challenging. Mahavratam means great vow. Maha is the Sanskrit term for great. And vr ('to will') is the root of the word vratam (or vow). The vow, vr 'to will' being willingness. A willingness to see, to hear, to feel, to awaken to what is. Not as necessarily 'to will’ as in "will away' or will something to happen. It is more like the willingness to hold the space with out any desire or expectation. The vr or will is the willingness to provide and hold the sacred space for a particular observation. And the willingness to be receptive to whatever is revealed there.
Springtime Salutations to your Space Holder!!!