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Holding Space
by wah!
Touring Europe this past summer, I gained a new appreciation of the English language. Traveling in many different countries and having my talks translated as I spoke gave me a different perspective on the words I use to explain spiritual teachings. 
There is an American expression, commonly used in the yoga and new-age community: “holding space.”  It is essentially a silent but loving action - teachers “hold space” for their students by creating a meditative atmosphere to learn in; support groups “hold space” for each other by listening and acknowledging experiences shared in the group.  Friends “hold space” for each other, offering unconditional love and trust. 
This new-age expression, as it turns out, might actually be an accurate one.  Gregg Braden, an engineer and new-age author from Santa Fe, NM, speaks about several scientific experiments in his video “The Science of Miracles: The Quantum Language of Healing, Peace, Feeling and Belief .“* The first one is about photons, which are essentially the molecules of space.  When protons, neutrons and electrons are removed from a vacuum, photons are what remain.  The experiment measured the arrangement and position of the photons in the vacuum.  With no external stimuli, the photons assumed a random pattern.  When human DNA was introduced, the photons conformed to the spiral pattern of the DNA.  The surprising part was when the DNA was removed from the vacuum, the photons retained the shape of the DNA.
I have often wondered what exactly that is in meditation, when the silence is thick and tangible.  Many people call this “a presence” – the presence of peace, or God, or their teacher, or a deity.  I can feel a difference between a room full of people who are gathered for chanting, talking amongst themselves, chatting about this and that, and the same room full of people who have just spent two hours singing mantras together.  The room has a tangible feeling of peace – the absence of thought and the presence of love.  I talk about sacred geometry being created inside and outside the body through chanting, but now I have a way to scientifically describe it.  It is the geometric arrangement of photons.
Masaru Emoto showed the arrangement of water molecules and how they are influenced by thought and music.  Gregg Braden explained this same process in air molecules by sharing the photon experiment.  In fact, our bodies are 98% space, and how we arrange that space seems to make all the difference between stress and flexibility, between dullness and brilliance, between chaos and sacred geometry.
When you sit with a friend or relative who is dying or severely injured, words are not a viable method of communication.  But holding sacred space is.  You can chant or sing or meditate or hold their hand.  You can create and rearrange the space into sacred geometry, much like the thoughts sent to Emoto’s water rearranged their crystalline structure.  How do you do that?  You can meditate, play a musical instrument, or read aloud.  I chant.  Chanting mantras is an easy way to introduce new energy and create sacred geometry in the space.
The vibration you create with your voice initiates the sacred geometry.  Many of the mantras are designed in specific numerology – for example, Om Namah Shivaya is 5 syllables (Om, Na, Ma, Shi, Vay); Shree Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram is 8 syllables; the Hare Krishna mantra is 32 syllables, also celebrating the number 8.  If you create sacred geometry using these numbers, you will likely get a kaleidoscope of patterns similar to those seen in ancient temples and places of worship.
It is not a matter of creating sacred geometry and walking away.  The one creating it and the one receiving it benefit equally from its energy. You carry the sacred geometry within you.  Your actions generated from a place of love create more sacred geometry, not a bad thing for a stressed-out world.  What happens when sacred geometry enters your system?  It organizes and rearranges things into harmony.  This is how “synchronicity” happens – you call someone just as they were thinking about you, you arrive just in time for the party even though it was postponed two hours.  The whole world is magically interconnected through sacred pulse and geometry and you flow with it when you find it within.
How to find that sacred space within?  There are techniques abounding, everything from yoga to meditation to healing practices.  I love accessing expanded consciousness through chanting and yoga, these are my tools for radical transformation.
Holding space sounds like something so unnoticeable.  It’s not a difficult yoga posture, it’s a quiet posture of grace.  It’s not a loud proclamation “No War Peace Now,” it’s a steady current of peaceful thoughts and imagination.  It makes a difference in the world, however imperceptible it may seem.
Only you know if you are holding a sacred space within.  I can’t tell you how to do it, I can only share the teachings which pull you in that direction.  We as teachers hope to bring you to a feeling of expansion but only you know if you got it.  That’s where the self-inquiry comes in.  You have to ask yourself “is this working?”  Are you finding a better quality in your life through doing this or that practice?  There are so many things to choose from now, the market abounds with possibility.  The more classes, teachers, and gatherings there are in the world, the better your chances are of finding and connecting into something that works for you.
The beautiful thing about the photon experiment is that the photons retain the shape of the DNA even after the DNA is removed.  The effects of your yoga or chanting practice stay with you all day.  It has an effect on the room and building you practice in, creating peace and harmony in the surrounding areas.  Additional scientific research indicates that the human body can retain chemical changes from positive experiences for up to two weeks.  What does this mean for you?  It means that you don’t have to practice every day to receive the benefits. Relax and enjoy a little.  A yoga class or meditation/chant gathering done once a week will create positive effects in your body and mind which you can retain and add to when you return the next week.  Practice daily.  Practice weekly.  It’s important to find something you love.  Do a practice which creates beauty and harmony within you.
*Gregg Braden, The Science of Miracles: The Quantum Language of Healing, Peace, Feeling and Belief (Santa Fe: Source Books, Inc, 2007), DVD (145 min.).
WAH! has spent a lifetime immersed in spiritual pursuit, beginning yoga and meditation at age 17. She has worked with various jazz, pop and world musicians to create trendy meditative music for the yoga community.  Her latest release LOVE HOLDING LOVE (Nutone Music) is critically acclaimed.