Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A different sort of journey

This morning, on the advice of a friend, I elected to spend some time in meditation with my heart chakra. I sat for a long time in a lovely peaceful state, but nothing much was coming up for me -- probably not surprising, as I've not done something like this before, so wasn't quite sure where or how to begin.

Being an image-based sort of person, I thought... well, maybe I should try working from some sort of PICTURE of a heart, so I mentally re-visited a shot I took last week and published on my poetry blog last Saturday. It's just a hole in a mossy tree, but it's shaped like a heart (thanks to PhotoShop), and though it's dark the sun has brushed the edges of the tree and you know it will soon come round and illuminate the hole as well.

There's also a crack that extends down from the hole, so you get a sense that the tree will at some point be broken open -- so I spent some time with that, wondering, but nothing seemed to emerge there, either. But as the sun rose in its arc, I began to see that there was something large and white and curved in upon itself that had been stuffed into the hole, and that it was pushing out at the tree from the inside, which was what was causing the crack.

So I tried to get to know it: was it a man's shoulder, clad in a white oxford cloth button-down shirt? Could I take it out and love it, wrap my arms around it? It didn't seem to respond.

Perhaps the tree was working as a sort of cocoon... or maybe the thing itself was a cocoon, with an ugly caterpillar inside -- in which case I couldn't cut it open to see, or I'd risk arresting its development, so it could never become the butterfly it was born to be. Somehow that didn't work either, but I was okay with that. So I sat there a while longer, until the cat jumped onto the table beside me and I knew it was time to come back to reality.

And when I opened my eyes I looked around the room, unconsciously searching for a clue to the white thing in the tree, and found this lovely bowl of shells that sits on the side table beside my husband's chair. With a faint shock of recognition, I realized that it is a shell that I was seeing, tucked into the heart of my tree, a shell grown so large the tree is being broken open. And the sort of teary anxious feeling that was what drove the visit to the chakra in the first place is somehow connected to the slimy ugly moonsnail that lives inside the shell. Hmm, I thought, I'm not at all sure I want to go there!

Which brings me back to yesterday's post, about being a source of darkness. Because there's a tricky line to walk in there: darkness, ugliness, sorrow and pain are all an important part of the journey, and we'll never get to the heart of ANYthing if we persist in avoiding all those negative emotions. We have to be willing to walk through a dark night or two, to step into the shadows from time to time if we are ever to grow fully into the selves we were born and called to be. And the fact is that sometimes we don't get to choose: we're just thrown in with our demons and have to struggle to stay alive. Sometimes, also, we have to stay in there for an uncomfortably long time in order to fully embrace whatever it is that the darkness has to teach us.

But we do need to be careful not to set up permanent housekeeping there, to understand that we are there to journey through, that we are born to live in the light and to light we must return. So I'm thinking that on my next visit to the heart, I might need to tie an imaginary white rope around the tree and rappel in, then continue holding on to the rope as I crawl into this thick white shell in search of whatever it is that's hiding inside. Maybe it's a bit like spelunking, exploring the caves of the heart, and the rope will be how I find my way back out again. That shell looks really thick and hard, unlikely to be broken open, so I doubt there are any shortcuts to the center. I'll just have to keep wandering in, a little deeper each time as I build up my courage, and maybe eventually the moonsnail will come to trust that I mean it no harm and will wiggle out to greet me.

Ugh. Can I just say -- I'm not at all sure I'm looking forward to this?

1 comment:

Dianna Woolley said...

I look forward to hearing more about future journeys. I think this one was great!

(I did a post a week or so ago regarding balladeer Leonard Cohen's line "everything has a crack in it - that's the way the light gets in"...your post today referring to light and darkness reminded me of that phrase.