by Abigail Brenner M.D.: Going beyond What You Think You Know.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Teilhard de Chardin
Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you. Rumi
From a practical perspective, we see every thing in life as a distinct, separate entity, with its own unique properties that set it apart from anything else. Essentially, though, this is a construct of the mind, a way to order the world so as to create a structure that is familiar and in which we feel safe to live. What we see with our own eyes provides reassurance about the validity and clarity of what we think we know. After all, we believe that what we see is what is real. How then do we describe, let alone explain, that which is not so readily seen?
Spirit creates a new way to see. With limitations lifted, our focus rests not just on what appears before us, but encompasses a panoramic, unified view of everything surrounding us. Spirit is everywhere. It is the invisible numinous thread which binds everything together, affirming the interconnection of all things within Creation. When spirit engages us our personal journey takes us into the flow of something far greater than ourselves. When we follow our deepest desires, listen to the voice of our inner knowing, welcome change and believe in possibility, Spirit is at work.
Spirituality can also emerge from deep within us. Dreams, symbols, archetypes, epiphanies, and visions emanate from within the subconscious, the source of creativity, intuition, inspiration, inner knowing, interconnectedness, and spiritual enlightenment. Within the subconscious realm reality shifts and expands, creating a matrix that is far more elastic and multi-dimensional than is perceived by the conscious mind. When we access and spend time within this realm we are released for a while from the confines of thinking that is based in logic and practicality. The messages we receive through these vehicles inform us about what is unique, authentic, and sacred to each of us. When we heed these messages we are, in essence, following the path of our soul’s evolution.
The imagery within the following meditation is designed to help quiet your mind and access your inner wisdom by reaching down into the deepest recesses of your mind.
The Bridge Meditation
Make sure that nothing can disturb you during your meditation. Sit comfortably in a chair, feet flat on the floor, hands resting next to you, or on your knees. If you meditate regularly, position yourself as you usually do. Close your eyes. Closed eyed meditation allows you to shut out external stimuli in order to more readily go within.
Scan your body from your feet to your head for any tension you might be holding. If there is stress anywhere, ask that part of your body to let go of its tension.
Now, direct your attention to your breath. Take a deep breath and let it course through you. Release any tension as you exhale. Do this again. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out, once again.
Allow your thoughts and feeling to fade away.
Now picture yourself as you were just a few moments ago, just before you started this meditation. Think about what you were doing—your actions, interactions and conversations with others. Really think about this fully, using all of your senses. So often we are operating on automatic pilot without giving any real thought to what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what the significance is of the thoughts, actions, and feelings that we’re experiencing. So much of our time is spent this way. Take your time. Really let yourself have this experience. Now, let it go.
For a while you will hear protests—voices in your head, lists of things to do, bits and pieces of your life, trying to get your attention. Gently tell these intrusions to stop. Keep on reminding them about this until the voices get quieter and finally recede into the background. Now, literally, turn yourself away from them. Leave them behind you. You are going on a journey.
You find yourself in a lush garden overlooking a vast magnificent ocean. Look around you and allow yourself to absorb the sheer perfection of nature. The air is warm and wonderfully scented; the fragrance of flowers. Take a deep breath. Allow yourself to be filled with the sweetness of the scent. As the salty breeze gently blows feel the balmy air caress your skin. Taste the ocean. Listen to the sounds of the world around you.
When you are ready turn your attention to the set of steps that will take you down to another stunning garden. Rest here a while, allowing all of your senses to soak in the beauty and peace. Allow yourself to fully experience this place. Notice the colors, the sounds and scents all around you.
One last time you turn your attention to another set of steps. At the bottom you find yourself in a thick, dark wood. Before you, is a bridge, a simple foot bridge over a gently flowing body of water. Turn your attention to the bridge. You must cross it to find what you are looking for. You’re not sure what that is, but that doesn’t matter.
The air feels cooler, fresher, and is pleasantly scented. The sound of the bubbling waters calms and relaxes you. Begin to walk, one foot after the other. You focus on the sound, one foot then the other, as they contact the uneven wooden slats you walk upon. You walk, trusting you will find your way. The bridge stretches on before you. As you move forward you are aware of your surroundings but cannot see where the bridge ends, or what lies beyond it. In fact, the place where you are going is shrouded in fog and mist.
You continue until the bridge is behind you. Suddenly, the fog lifts and a vast panorama opens before you. Take in the beauty and mystery of this place, using all of your senses. Everything you can imagine exists here. It is only for you to find what you are looking for. Take your time exploring this immensely rich, fertile place. Where you go and how you choose to use your time here is totally up to you.
You may wish to explore without agenda or purpose, just simply taking in everything that comes your way. Or, you may be looking for answers to something you may have wondered about for a very long time. If this is so, allow yourself as much time as you need to find where you’re meant to be. And go there. Notice whatever comes up for you; the impressions, images, and sounds that emerge. You may not remember them, so now find a symbol that reminds you; a symbol that embodies this experience, and remember that to take back with you.
This is the place of spirit, the seat of your soul. This is the place of your creative self. This is the place of your inner knowing and the repository of all wisdom. This is the place where your pure self resides. This is the place of interconnection and harmony with all. Remember your experiences here. And know that you are always welcome here.
When you are ready, look around one more time taking away with you a heightened awareness of what is. Remember this. Retrace your steps and find the bridge. Begin your journey back. Slowly allow yourself to reenter the everyday world in which you live.
Remember the protesters. They are waiting to get your attention. But before you let them back in, make sure to ground your experience in this meditation by writing, drawing, or talking about it. Key words, images, and symbols will help you to consciously remember what has happened so that it does not slip back into your subconscious.
Remember, you can always return this place any time you wish.