This week was a little difficult for me, frankly. It’s all about gentle holding, and I’m all about fierce and unrelentless. Add that to a day filled with unscheduled errands and visits, and it became a comedy of errors. But, a day late, we’re rolling!
Holding the tender mystery
Kumbhaka has many definitions. It can be a vessel, jar, or chalice. It can be the prominence on the upper part of an elephant’s forehead. It can be a type of breath where you linger and pause.
Kumbhaka is the pause between the inhale and exhale, that sweet spot of holding, of anticipation. From the Radiance Sutras:
At the end of the inhale,
Filled with the song of the breath,
There is a moment when you are simply
Holding the tender mystery.
In these interludes,
Experience opens into exquisite vastness
With no beginning and no end.
Embrace this infinity without reservation.
You are its vessel.
Think about the things you hold tenderly, the things you hold with as light a touch as you would a baby bird. Think about the love you give gently, lingering and tender.
Take in a deep breath and pause. Hold the breath until you must release and then sigh it out. When you inhale, you are the vessel of infinity. Your container is full. You are expansive. When you exhale, your container is empty. You are receptive.
I contemplated this concept and thought about the fact that we’re all connected, we’re all one. I love you as I love myself, as I love my husband, my parents, my children. It is a gentle holding, though – it is undemanding, a low thrum, soft as a sigh. I love you because your existence is woven into infinity just as mine is. It is a whisper, asking for understanding, for compassion, for empathy. It is a powerful whisper, but a whisper nonetheless. I will always hold space for you, even when I disagree.
Ways to work with this prompt:
- Journal about holding and the things you love gently.
- Meditate on interconnectedness. Practice the kumbhaka pranayama (breath regulation): inhale, hold for a count of 3. Exhale. Repeat. Try it when you are feeling overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated.
- Explore the concepts of expansive/receptive, the concept of holding, what it means to hold, to hold space, to hold love.
- Use the quote, “Holding the tender mystery”
- Elephants. Why not?
No video this week (Patreon supporters get this as a timelapse!), but I’d love to see where kumbhaka takes you. Come on over to the Facebook group to share your work!
Until next week <3