Soul Places

Befriending the Soul through Inquiry and Creativity

Tag: meditation

What Has Your Spiritual Practice Created?

Copyright Diane Ludeking 2011

A visualization/meditation:

A door with a weather worn sign hanging above it comes into view between the bobbing heads of my heavily armed escorts.  We are hustling through the underbrush of a place I don’t recognize, urgency is in their faces.  I do not know how I got here or what we are running from, but I follow them, certain that they can offer me protection from imminent danger.  The door opens automatically as though someone on the other side is awaiting our arrival.  I am astounded to see that the door is thicker than I am wide and appears to be solid steel.  Frightened by the necessity of such extremes, I obediently cross the threshold.  Once inside, I quickly assess my surroundings.  It is a small, cold, dimly lit room that is no doubt a bunker built to withstand the most gruesome of attacks.  Surely there is nothing that can pierce or destroy this shelter or it’s inhabitants.

My escorts silently guide me toward the center of the room where I am startled to discover the floor moving beneath my feet, lowering me to another space.  As the elevator comes to rest in this lower level, I am inexplicably drawn to the only person in the room.  She is wrapped in a cocoon of the finest blue silk, perched on her heels; kneeling atop the most plush and delightful pillow I‘ve ever seen.  Her eyes are closed and she appears quite peaceful.  I must disturb her however to get some answers.  As I approach, she opens her eyes and smiles at me as though she knows me.  “I am your authentic self and this place is what your spiritual practices have built,” she explains without prompting.  “Impenetrable to anything that may cause suffering.  And through those doors,” she continues with a nod across the room, “is your Paradise.”

Following her gaze, I notice the elegant French doors across the room.  Eager to see what’s on the other side, I cross the room to find…

Please finish the sentence in the comments and/or your journal.  What does the sign above the door say?  Comments are welcome too.

Who do You Meet in Meditation?

The tool of meditation has been a great bonus in my life recently.  It began with an all day meditation retreat at Thundering Clouds, LLC a few months ago and quickly became my new favorite thing.  I had no preconceived notions about it so I was able to give myself fully to the experience.  Guided through several different meditations throughout the day, I found myself sinking further and further into – myself?

By the end of the day, I became quite familiar with what many people call their ego – or as a friend of mine recently called the voices in her head – the Committee.  No matter the label, the voice that talks incessantly about what others think of me, what I should be making for dinner and that ponders situations and people, was revealed as multitalented.

I sat like a mountain, breathed like the wind and tried to make my mind open like the sky.  I focused on my breath, even counted it, as an effort to quiet the voice, the background noise.  I soon realized with amazement that my monkey mind continued going despite all my efforts to sooth it away.  It was as though my thinking mind had been installed with a permanent wind up gear that the monkeys gladly kept wound tight.

My thoughts would momentarily retreat, like the waters during the splitting of the Red Sea, but then they would quickly come flooding back, distracting me, drowning me.  Before the thoughts came flooding back however, was an incredibly clear moment.  I could see the land on the other side, the prize, the antidote, for a more peaceful life.  In each of those fleeting moments, I became more and more convinced that there was a great boon in this age-old practice.

I met a kinder, gentler me on that day of meditation and I continue to learn patience as I bring my attention to the talking mind and then refocus on my breathing and sitting.  I have begun to use this skill throughout my day as I realize I am getting worked up about something.  I have even met my shadow in meditation and embraced her fully.  I meet all of me during meditation and am thankful for what I’ve learned from her.