Being held

It took a long time for the analytical world to look at the importance of the way a baby is held, and yet when you come to think of it, this is of primary importance. The question of holding brings up the whole issue of human reliability.   Winnicott

I love the sense of natural movement in this poem by Rilke, and the delicate gentleness of the last line. We change, are shaken and fall, as nature does, and this can seem frightening at times. It can agitate us as it goes against the security we have when things are firm. To give us confidence we need some sense of being held. Because, as Winnicott reminds us, a person’s  most formative experiences comes from the way their caregivers “hold” them, as that allows them feel grounded in the face of the uncertainties of life. Meditation practice allows us create that security within, and develop an inner stability, which is hard to shake, no matter what comes up. We trust and can let our lives unfold gently, lightly, each breath and each moment floating and falling, held in awareness.

The leaves are falling, falling as if from afar,
as if withered in the distant gardens of heaven;
with nay-saying gestures they fall.

And in the nights falls the heavy earth
from all the stars into loneliness.

We all are falling. This hand there falls.
And look at the others: it is in all of them.

And yet there is one, who holds all this falling
with infinite gentleness in his hands.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Autumn


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