Q: I read about a conversation you had with someone about laying hold. I didn’t really understand what it means, even though I have a feeling it has to do with me, so I’d like to learn about this.
John: You can’t apprehend a deeper level or directly lay hold of a deeper level until that deeper level in you has laid hold of you or apprehended you. Once that has occurred, you are able to be the same way to that deeper level in you as the way that that deeper level was to you in apprehending you, laying hold of you. Once that has occurred, you’re able to do it. When you know you’ve been apprehended and laid hold of, you’re able to fulfill and do the code of that.
Q: This is something people go in and out of, or does this term refer to something that stays?
John: It doesn’t stay on its own. Your being remains your being, on its own. When you lay hold of consciously entering your being, you lay hold of being absorbed and completely absorbing. That doesn’t mean that you never come back out. Of course you come back out. The form that your self is requires your attendance, but each time you lay hold of entrance, entrance to your being, you come into more that you’re able to be upon your return into your self again, changing the depth of your presence that you have in your self.
Q: When this happens, it makes it so much harder for me to attend to my self. After the last retreat I found it very hard to communicate. It lasted for about a week.
John: When you have been apprehended and laid hold of, you experience your own relating, your way of relating and what relating is to you fundamentally change. It isn’t just when you are laid hold of that you are relating to something that’s different; your relating is different. What you are in relating is different, so when you return to what is normally required of you in what you were familiar with of your life, you come into substantial difficulty. Upon your return, you realize that not only what you’re relating to changed, but your relating has changed.
You are fundamentally out of the habit of your self. As you resume your self in your familiar life, you’re no longer convinced of it. You’re no longer convinced of your self. Your identity is no longer really in your self.
You have been laid hold of and apprehended, and you awaken to identifying in what you know and cannot see, moving in what you know and cannot see, loving being taken by what you know and cannot see. You’re opened into what you know and cannot see. After that, the weight of seeing, the weight of what you experience in your self doesn’t hold the same anymore, but what you do have is you know that you’ve been apprehended; you know that you’ve been laid hold of. That knowing means everything to you. It connects you to what is deeper in you than what your self is.
Once having been laid hold of, you are able to lay hold of. Instead of trying to cope upon your return to your self and in your self, re-enter your self, be in your self while completely laying hold of what you know has apprehended you, and not being able to experience it like you did before doesn’t stop you.
Babies know how to lay hold. When you hold a baby and you’re available to what you know but don’t understand of what a baby is…what is in the baby, the power that is present in a baby…the baby directly knows you. It doesn’t relate to your self or your life. It knows you, and when you are being known directly by the baby, the baby lays hold of you. At that moment you’ve lost control of your familiar sense of reality, and you know that you are known and taken; you know you’re laid hold of. You know that what the baby is coming from is of greater value to the deep in you than all of your life.
Q: I have the hope and the longing of stepping into something new, and I also feel a lot of fear that I won’t know how to go back into my relationships and to my regular communication.
John: Don’t mind at all becoming lost, completely lost, irretrievably lost in what you know matters more to you than all of your life. Your life, the form of your self, will bring you back because it requires your attendance and your presence, but when it does bring you back, you’ll be really different, perhaps so deeply different that you’ll have measurable difficulty functioning in your self and in some parts of your life. The ability to function does come back, but it comes back not to what you were familiar with before. It comes back to your ability as a being.
There is a developmental time and space that’s required in that. That time and that space may be really uncomfortable for your self. You may not know quite how to relate comfortably to others. You don’t need to be concerned with the consequence to your self, your relationships and your life in laying hold of the deep, the deeper levels, and your own being. You don’t need to be concerned. You don’t need to relate to the consequence because you know the truth of what’s laid hold of you and you know to lay hold.
Trust what you know. Trust it more than trusting what you’ve been familiar with.
Once you’ve been laid hold of, you can’t really live anymore without laying hold of what you know has laid hold of you. Fear not. Lay hold and love. Love being completely mastered by what you know has taken hold of you.
Q: When I’m in this, it all makes sense and I know I have nothing to fear and I won’t do any harm, and sometimes it feels so big.
John: It’s bigger than what you can see. It’s much bigger than what you’ve already awakened to. Love being laid hold of and love laying hold. As you do, you’re not just being taken by the deeper levels in you; you’re being them.
If you could be taken way, way out into outer space for a couple of days, upon your return here into your life, your friends, your relationships, your responsibilities, you won’t be able to relate the way that you used to. Holding a conversation won’t be the same for you anymore. You’ll be much more knowing and somewhat less able in what used to be your life.
It isn’t different when you are laid hold of and taken way, way into the unseen deeper levels in you. When you later return to your familiar daily life, it doesn’t matter if it’s a little bumpy. You love what laid hold of you.
Q: Is there something protecting me, making sure that the steps are the size that I can take?
John: You’re able to take steps bigger than your self and bigger than your heart. You’re able to take a step that is as big as you are. You’re able to take a step that is as big as what you know. Everything else that is yours – your heart, your self, your life – that will all catch up later.
Lay hold, and live the incomprehensible results of that until you comprehend. When you do comprehend, you’ll know that it is with a different and a new self, one that is more like what you know you’ve laid hold of.