Transcending the Plot Line: One Morning’s Meditation
I’ve been meditating and exploring consciousness for about 2 years now, over which period I’ve delved in academically and experientially, scientifically and emotionally. I immersed myself in New Age and traditional religions, Eastern and Western philosophies. I tried psychotherapy, yoga, reiki, psychics, channeling, crystals. I learned about quantum mechanics, spirituality, genetics.
One clear conclusion from all my exploration is just how little we really know about how the universe or even ourselves work. What began as a struggle to understand, to have a feeling of control and knowing, eventually gave way to an okayness in not knowing the whole picture — accepting that we’re all blindfolded people touching some part of an elephant guessing what the object actually is. Wonder, rather than ego, allows us to experience more fully and not try to prematurely box and categorize the amorphous and elusive.
Now onto the main topic of this post: this morning’s meditation. I usually meditate in silence but today happened upon a guided meditation on Spotify that seemed interesting. It was about Archangel Raphael and Mother Mary. DON’T STOP READING HERE. I know things just got weird and perhaps alienating. But bare with me because I’m going to make a case for why “woo woo” may actually be worth your consideration.
The Guided Meditation
Here’s how the guided meditation approximately went:
- Body scan (~5 min) — This is a common relaxation technique where you systematically release tension parts of your body from head to toe.
- Open field (~5 min) — I was told to imagine a beautiful open field where I touched the grass, smelled the air, felt the sunshine.
- Ascension (~5 min) — I was told to imagine meeting an angel who wrapped his/her wings around me and brought me upward into another dimension.
- Mother Mary (~10 min) — I was told to imagine a blue light from which Mother Mary appeared. I was to tell her the one thing I most deeply desired and then to imagine she granted it to me. I was to describe how it felt to accomplish that desire. I was told to hold that feeling and to realize that it was already mine. I was told to imagine Mary holding my hand and feeling her energy run through my hands to my heart. And to ask any questions and tell her any concerns I had.
- Archangel Raphael (~10 min) — I was told to imagine an emerald green light from which Raphael now appeared. I was to tell him what parts of my health I was concerned about and to let him bring healing to them. I was told to then imagine healing being brought to everyone — people in my life, hospitals. I was told to feel how it was to be completely safe.
- Library (~10 min) — I was told to imagine being in a library where all the books represented my current and past life experiences. I was to take the books that represented burdens that no longer served me and to set them on fire. I was told to look up and notice the glowing golden books in their place on the shelves representing healthy new beginnings.
- Outro (5 min) — I was walked slowly back into my regular consciousness, gradually feel my body again and eventually open my eyes.
What I Learned
I’m not Christian, nor do I belong to any religion. I couldn’t tell you much about Raphael or even Mary for that matter. But in the end the names are inconsequential. Frankly, the religion is inconsequential. The details are inconsequential. The meaningful place of focus is the inner learning brought about by the experience. This morning, I took away deep personal insights from this unusual meditation that even hours later I’m still in awe of:
- At present, my deepest desire is to more fully express love — This is the most fundamental atomic motivation behind what I do in my career and my interests. I want to help people, save the world, teach mindfulness, be a kinder and more empathetic person. The truth behind all of it is a desire to love more fully.
- I now know what it feels like to achieve this — And it feels gooood. And clear beyond measure. Sometimes we have to know the feeling we’re after, then practice making it happen more regularly in our lives. And the more sure and clear it feels, the more we know we’ve struck a chord with ourselves. We realize that we got to know ourselves better.
- I want to help people, they don’t need to be helped — This is a paradigm-shifting realization for me. My desire comes from my own need to experience expressing and giving love. This is a more fundamental truth than the more surface-level and self-aggrandizing view that “people need help.” It’s still a noble and beautiful cause, but I now recognize that my role in it is the result of my own desires and needs.
- Symbolic experiences help to evoke experiential truths — This is another huge paradigm shift and at the heart of what I want to communicate in this post. The remainder of this post will be devoted to explaining this point.
We often dismiss things we don’t view as true. For good reason. But what about novels? Do we read the first chapter and toss it aside in disgust because it’s fictitious? Do we walk out of movie theaters because we can’t be told lies about cars transforming into robots? We don’t, because we’re expecting to be told something imaginary. What’s far more important than the story line is the journey the story takes us on, the feelings we feel and the truths we learn about ourselves and our world.
Guided meditations, and many forms of hypnosis, are also symbolic. Religious texts, likewise, are mostly symbolic. Stories are an amazing way to communicate complex concepts by allowing us to feel and experience. We can nitpick details, but we’d be missing the point of what they are truly there to teach us. I was once a smart-aleck skeptic. But I went through each experience taking away far less, and less happily.
Let’s give credence to imagination because, while story lines may not be real, our feelings always are. And our feelings are where we learn. Our feelings are our deepest experience and understanding.
And one final note just to provoke further thought. What if we view even real waking life as a symbolic experience? What if all external objects and circumstances were viewed as mere props for evoking inner learning? I’ll leave it at that. Thanks for reading :).