Grumble, grumble, grumble. This Saturday witnesses the close of week 2 of the University of Oregon’s Fall 2011 term and the official opening of “all the new students give the instructors a cold” season. And I am the latest victim. Hooray for doubly-achy bones, nasal congestion, sore throats, and deadlines that don’t quit just because your frail little body can’t keep up.
But, knowing I need to accept my condition while keeping up the mental daring, I guess I can segue into Roderick’s water meditation, which is designed to allow us to feel the element. As with other guided meditations, make sure you sit or lay in a comfortable meditative position that provides you the ability to align your spine. Either read through the script and commit it to memory before beginning, or record it or have someone read it to you. Or click my SoundCloud link. Whatever floats the old boat.
Close your eyes and take three deep, slow breaths. Now allow your breathing to become rhythmic and natural. After a few moments, imagine that a twisting white mist begins to form in a ring around your feet. You notice that with each inhalation, the ring of mist grows, expands, and climbs your legs. Continue to visualize that with each inhaled breath the mist climbs your body, until it covers you completely.
Suddenly you feel the sensation of lifting. Your body feels as light as the mist that surrounds you. Soon you discover that you are hovering over the place where you were once sitting. Imagine that the mist now begins to move you across a colorless, imageless void. It is moving you through time and space. It is taking you to a sacred place of magic and power.
Soon the mist dissipates and the movement stops. You find yourself standing along sea cliffs that overlook a vast ocean. It is dusk and the sun is nearly set. It hovers half-hidden as it sinks slowly below the blue-green horizon.
Begin breathing deeply. With each inhalation, imagine that the ocean begins to churn and large waves crash up against the cliff below your feet. Each wave throws a magical, sparkling, blue-green mist into the air around you. Feel the cool energy of this mystical sea spray as it comes in contact with your skin. This cool energy now penetrates your skin and begins to fill the entirety of your body. It is a tingling, soft energy. If you look at your spirit body, you’ll notice that you glow with this blue-green aura. You are filled with the element and powers of water. stand with this energy and simply allow it to penetrate to the very depths of your spirit. Become one with the power of water.
Reader: pause for a few moments.
It is now time to return to the place where you began your journey. Look down at your spirit feet and you’ll notice the glowing white mist beginning to encircle your body. Once it covers you completely, it lifts you and swiftly carries you back to the place where you began. When you are ready, open your eyes and stretch. Take note of how different you may feel now that you’ve taken on the qualities of water.
Live the rest of your day through the magical energies of water.
Funny…it might be because I’m feeling so depressed in general right now, but I haven’t thought about my trip to Ireland in a really long time. That trip did so much for me, and I often credit it with saving my life. I went there with my best friend as part of a DePauw winter term trip in 2005, and I came away from the experience feeling so, so happy. That happiness carried me through the troubles that would come that summer and for the next several years. In fact, I suppose my depression now is about the same as it was back then.
Part of what made the Ireland trip so amazing and restorative for me was that you couldn’t get away from Experience and the Elements. Heck, we even got stranded in the Aran Islands (in January, so most everything was closed up except for a convenience store/grocery, so we basically drank away our boredom in cheap wine) due to the incredible winter waves. One of the more powerful spiritual moments for me was standing on the Cliffs of Moher with my best friend, Shea, and drinking in the powerful juxtaposition between land and sea.
I found that the mists took me back to Moher, and I was struck by the enormity of the ocean, how you could see the waves rolling up from miles away from shore and how they smacked against the cliff face and sent water spraying up a hundred feet, easily. Even 600 feet higher than what the water spray could reach, we could feel the salt mist on our skin–from the wicked weather, at the very least. I knew that if I stepped one foot farther and fell off the edge, I would die from the water. It would have an impact like slamming into the hardest of iron, but would then hurl me against the rocks until there was nothing left to find. The water just had so much force. Eventually it will even wear down those 700 foot high cliffs, but it will also be content to stay where it is until the rock wears away.
In the meditation, I drank in this force and the enormity of its scope, and I emerged feeling so powerful. I don’t know if I’ve ever given water, the wishy-washy emotional element, that sort of immense power before.