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Personal Practices: Container Contraction
Getting the Idea of Container

The idea of container may be quite new to some people. "Container" refers to a sense of energy or connection or field that seems to emerge out of a combination of the physical dimensions, human dimensions, and kind of focus or attention one brings to a setting. Here is a visualization exercise to help to grasp the concept of containers, and container contraction or expansion.

Imagine you are part of a mountain-climbing team, roped together as you ascend a peak in the Swiss alps. The air is rarified, the exertion intense. It seems all your attention is focused on putting one foot in front of the other. You are aware of the pace of your teammates, matching their footfalls. You hear the sound of their breathing and the crunch of their boots on crusty snow. It is as though despite being on a huge mountain with stunning views in every direction, your entire world has contracted to the few cubic meters around you and the group to which you are tied.

Suddenly the ground beneath your feet vibrates and you hear a roaring sound. The word "avalanche!" catches in your mind and throat. As one, the entire group stops and lifts their heads, scanning the vast expanse anxiously to determine the source of the sound and vibration. Simultaneously you spy the tumult of white at a good distance to the right and slightly above you. It does not appear to impose an immediate danger, but the group members seem hypnotized by the sight, and stand silently for some time watching its descent. Now your world has expanded, but has boundaries clearly defined by where your feet and ice axes are planted on the steep slope, and the dangerous avalanche several kilometers in the distance.

Finally the spell is broken. People reach for water bottles, wipe their brows, and exclaim in relief. The danger is forgotten, and the boundaries of your experience return to the small world of your collective effort toward the top.

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