To properly travel at all, one needs to know several things--where to begin, what route to travel and where to arrive. The first and most basic task of these is to know where to start. Once the starting point is determined, an appropriate road can be selected for the desired destination. In terms of spiritual growth, knowing where to begin is equivalent to becoming familiar with one's personal qualities and character. It is only by gaining an understanding, and then mastery, of our inner psychological dynamics that we can hope to tackle the further esoteric challenges that spiritual development can present.
The following guided Counselling Meditation can provide you a good means to contact your inner resources and start assessing who, and how, you really are in this world. Parts of your being "inside" are wise and capable, and do believe in your worth fully and whole-heartedly. Working through this meditation will help you to honour your inner spirit and find a way to make space and quiet for it to share with you. You can actively meet with your inner heart and discover what all parts of your being have to share. Through this, both your whole, and your hurt, inner voices can have expression to cooperate and discover a fair solution for your entire self.
Please bring your whole being to this meditation. By giving it your undivided attention and enthusiasm you may gain a fuller understanding of who you are and what your current situation may be. You will likely reap a deep harvest of insight from various aspects--both psychological and spiritual.
It's good for you to have a basic notion of what psychotherapists mean by the unconscious before you begin the meditation. The following provides a very succinct explanation. If you require further details, you will find an abundance of relevant material available on the web.
First off, you might consider yourself partitioned into four loosely related parts: spirit, mind, heart and body. Modern neuroscience tells us that much of the brain's processing is unconscious. That is, it is too subtle for us to notice in our everyday awareness. In particular, much of our thinking and feeling occurs at a level that we usually are not capable of perceiving.
Psychotherapy is similar to spiritual development in that it also is concerned with helping us become more aware of ourselves. The main difference is that therapy usually helps us become more aware of our underlying thoughts and feelings whereas spiritual practice is chiefly aimed at helping us to become familiar with our spiritual part. So, the goal in both cases is to gradually incorporate a wider range of experience into our "normal" awareness.
Thus, through psychotherapy and counselling, we can learn to gain access to our usually unconscious processes when we need to. And this is a really big help. For, many problems that people ordinarily must deal with in life are mostly self-generated. And these problems come from stress and distortion that has been stored in the unconscious areas of the brain.
Psychological research has shown that our basic character and attitude is set by the time we are around the age of five or six. That is, from then on we have a basic predisposition and strategy for dealing with life. And it is the norm that most of us have quite a dose of dysfunctional behaviour included in that conditioning. This stems a lot from our early interactions with our parents, especially mums, but also comes from our dealings with other family members and the community at large.
Just one more piece of information and you'll be ready for the meditation. What is normally considered the self, that is, your ego or personality, is actually a collection of selves. Normally we act as if we are simply a single person, but with practice and increased sensitivity through therapy, one begins to realise that actually there are multiple subpersonalities that have a semi-autonomous existence of their own. These subparts usually operate at an unconscious level so we don't notice them too much. In effect, they collectively vote on what we need to do in any situation and the brain acts to sum their votes together so that the end result seems as if we, at a conscious level, make the decision as a single identity.
It is true that we do have a conscious self, but what you need to realise is that we also have subpersonalities that have somewhat of a say in what we do too. This is entirely normal and not to be worried over. The important idea is that some of these subpersonalities are unhappy and some are quite positive. Further, quite a few are a mix of happy and unhappy. One especially important subpart that you may have heard of is called the Inner Child.
So much for psychology. The one other thing to note, which you probably already know, is that we all have Inner Guides. Depending on what your beliefs are, these can be spiritual entities, subpersonalities or some combination thereof. Functionally it is sufficient to consider them as subparts. That is, they have a vote in how we run our lives too--along with our conscious self and our unconscious subparts.
Whew! A lot of theory but now you are set. Ready?
To begin your exploration, you might like to try and set up a cozy spot by in sight of the computer screen. Try to make a quiet sanctuary for yourself and allow yourself to get comfortable. Have something to write and draw on nearby and perhaps have a variety of pens and markers available. Use your imagination. Be creative! You may find that whatever your problem or concern may be, the following reflection will help you find your way forward more smoothly and easily.
Take a moment to settle down and then, if you have not already done so, launch the colour palette and enlarge it to full screen size. Slowly scroll through the colours from beginning to end and back again. Note the ones that really reach out to you--those that affect you, either negatively or positively. Those that seem totally neutral to the point of blandness might also be useful. Write them all down along with their effects so you can recall them later on.
Colours are a beautiful and powerful way to access the unconscious. As you continue with this work, you may begin to notice that certain feelings and sensations seem to be associated with certain colours. In effect your subpersonalities and Inner Child and Inner Guides are all selecting the colours that are most suited for their purposes at this time.
For this work, you will want to especially notice your feelings and very much notice how your body reacts to those feelings. As mentioned earlier, the body is one part of our self and it is an especially grounded part. Many times our subparts will be found to be grounded in body sensations. And only when we can bring some awareness to the body parts that are "talking" to us--much like a subpersonality--can we hope to begin to heal the related subpersonalities. It does not matter whether you consider the body sensations as a separate subpart or simply the channel of expression of some subpart. You just need to be aware that body sensations are "alive" and need to be treated as if they were another subpart.
As an example of all this consider a man who has a bad lower back. He has pain around a particular area near the top left part of his pelvis and also along his spine. When during therapy he senses into this painful area he begins to feel a certain anger and depression. Further, as he gives himself permission to talk as if he actually was the pain in the back, he begins to speak as a child and cries for his painful relation with his mother. When he feels and senses for a colour for this region he finds that dark red and bright green come to mind.
In the preceding example, the painful lower back fully came alive. It had a richness of feeling and colour and even words. This is the type of expression you should aim for in your work during the following explorations. Don't worry that you can't sense too much or that you won't find enough. Whatever you do find will be more than sufficient. Have faith in your own innate wisdom. It's alway there!
Take a moment to be quiet and then say the following to yourself: "I will more fully embrace my inner talents and feelings. Friends now help me along the way." Note your reactions. You may notice thoughts, feelings, sensations. Perhaps an image will present itself to you. You may not notice anything at all. That is ok too. Just gently notice whatever wants to present itself to you and quietly but attentively allow it to be. Simply watch it arise and participate and then gradually change into something else. What colours do you find associated with these experiences? Write or draw what is important for you from this investigation. If you can, try to include a body location, feeling, colour and thought for each of your main experiences. Take your time. There is no real rush. If you need, have a bit of a break and refresh yourself before continuing.
Next repeat the previous reflection and exploration, but this time say: "The road I must take is sometimes not so clear. I care but my way ahead is blocked." Again, please note all your reactions that seem important or that catch your attention. And also collect all the colours that emerge for you. You might like to scroll through the colours again to help refresh your memory and give your unconscious friends another opportunity to speak with and through you. As before, collect all the different pieces--colour, body location, thoughts, feelings, images, sounds and whatever else seems right to you. Trust yourself. There are no real mistakes in this meditation. Your guides and higher self are here with you and working to support you in this endeavour. You can rely on this truth as it applies for all of us.
It is very useful to believe that all your unconscious parts are friends of yours. Some may be bitter and want to bite but they too have their place. In fact, these "difficult" parts are difficult, but they are also simply wanting to fulfil their own mission in life to protect and support you from their limited vantage point. Often such parts are much like little children trying to make sense of a sometimes brutal world but without the luxury of adult understanding and insight. So it is no wonder that some of our hurting subparts are a bit trying for us. We need to muster up all the compassion we can to try and appreciate these subpersonsonalities. It is no easy task, being tolerant and even accepting of beings that willfully harm us but it can be done. And by anyone! We all love our close ones even though sometimes we may get into a tussle or a fight. We can hope to embody much the same flexibility in our relations with our very own unconscious selves too. This attitude is worth the effort. Don't try too hard but be safe in the wisdom that you can, and eventually will, achieve this balanced capability.
And finally, write a short story about all the colours and experiences that have presented themselves to you. Give names to each of these groupings of experience. For instance, from the earlier story about the man with the hurting lower back, a name of "Angry Child" might be given to his lower back which shouted "go away!" and shone out the colour dark red. Make these names real for you. Make them personal. They may very well be representations of people that you have known around the time of the memories and images associated with the colour and feelings. For instance, it is practically universal that one of our subparts will carry the voice of our mother. Often, in fact, multiple subparts carry the voices of multiple parts of our mother--there might be a "Sweet Mother" and a "Lonely Mother" and others as well. It is your story. What parts have been speaking to you?
Have the named colours involved in a story about your journey towards spirit. Interpret your problem or situation in terms of this journey so that a satisfactory resolution of your concerns will be the same as some progress, however mild, along the path toward spirit. In fact, this is how our lives really operate in the face of Eternity. Let the colours become persons, or forces, that can speak and act. Let them speak the story through you. Simply try to be a scribe, or channel, for these voices.
Your story can be as long as you like. It should be complete enough to allow each main character in your drama to speak and act and to share what it needs to with the other actors. You're the director of this script! What do you feel in response to this mounting drama? Can you refrain from trying to force it to resolve in a certain way? Can you be open enough and curious enough to let the story speak itself? It isn't easy at times but you will find the rewards you reap are very much worth your diligence. It is especially important that you give voice to any feelings, or any of the colours, that are especially loud in wanting to speak regarding your journey.
Which of the characters are the "foes"? Which ones might be your Inner Guides? Which colour represents your Inner Child? How about your mum? Where are you, the conscious you, in this cast? What themes are present? If you were watching at the cinema, what sort of groupings of the cast would you be noticing? What are those groupings saying to you?
If you can, try this work with a friend who is also interested in learning more about herself or himself. You can find out a lot by sharing your ideas and feelings through this process. Take notes and allow yourself to be intuitive and creative with this expedition into your inner worlds. What learning or understanding can you take from this experiment? How might you make some "small steps" to begin applying your learnings? Congratulations! You've done a great job with this work. Hopefully you have enjoyed a few surprises and also managed to accept a few challenges too. You may find it helpful to save your writings and any drawings for later and revisit them from time to time over the next weeks and months. In reviewing them you will be able to confirm your continued positive transformation. You will likely find that the many strands of your life, as identified in your story, are slowly and steadily shaping into a firmer more reliable whole. To bring your meditation to completion you may find it enjoyable to read through the following. Be open to any responses from within to this reading and as before, jot down what seems most interesting and appealing to you. This is a good way of helping you to finish processing through any strong emotions and experiences that you may have encountered during your telling of the story. You have a right to know who you are and how to be happy. When we come into this world we all have a special part to play. You do too. And you can find out what it is and do what you need to do. Your desire to complete this meditation and find out is a solid first step. In fact you are already half the way there! Honestly, most folks never even get to the point you have reached. To know what's missing and what you really want is vital. So be encouraged. You are walking the path to your goal.
A Concluding Reflection
If you can, try this work with a friend who is also interested in learning more about herself or himself. You can find out a lot by sharing your ideas and feelings through this process. Take notes and allow yourself to be intuitive and creative with this expedition into your inner worlds. What learning or understanding can you take from this experiment? How might you make some "small steps" to begin applying your learnings?
Congratulations! You've done a great job with this work. Hopefully you have enjoyed a few surprises and also managed to accept a few challenges too. You may find it helpful to save your writings and any drawings for later and revisit them from time to time over the next weeks and months. In reviewing them you will be able to confirm your continued positive transformation. You will likely find that the many strands of your life, as identified in your story, are slowly and steadily shaping into a firmer more reliable whole.
To bring your meditation to completion you may find it enjoyable to read through the following. Be open to any responses from within to this reading and as before, jot down what seems most interesting and appealing to you. This is a good way of helping you to finish processing through any strong emotions and experiences that you may have encountered during your telling of the story.
You have a right to know who you are and how to be happy. When we come into this world we all have a special part to play. You do too. And you can find out what it is and do what you need to do. Your desire to complete this meditation and find out is a solid first step. In fact you are already half the way there! Honestly, most folks never even get to the point you have reached. To know what's missing and what you really want is vital. So be encouraged. You are walking the path to your goal.
You also can rely upon your strong belief in yourself. Parts of your being "inside" are gentle, knowing and do believe in you completely and unconditionally. How might you honour this inner spirit and find a way to make the space and quiet for it to share with you? How can you actively meet with your inner heart?
Your innate abilities have been with you since birth. They are available for you when you feel ready. Have the courage to look inside and try to accept ALL that you find. You will find some unpleasant and unhappy things too. It is ok. Simply hold the sad in one hand and the sweet in the other and then bring both hands together to your heart and let them all wash through you.
Your real self is whole and good. And the sadder experiences will find their rightful place in relation to you. They are part of life and you can be stronger and better for allowing them their due. Because you are, in truth, a spiritual being, you will naturally gravitate toward the Light and Love. This is just the way it is. You can count on it. It is universal law and it applies to you too!
Spiritual development is a wonderful way to find deeper levels of meaning in this sometimes very crazy world. Do you meditate? Do any of your friends? The straightest road forward is to make regular meditation a part of your life. However, this really depends on where you are at the moment along the spiritual path. There are other good options too. Rest assured that whatever calls to you from the path will be right for you. Life has a way of bringing us where we need to be, when we need to be there. What avenues could you pursue to enrich your path? How might you make it practical and fun?
You might like to find a group that is interested in self-development. Areas such as personal growth, health, spirituality and community service are good bets. Being around others who are interested in understanding themselves can be contagious. You may begin to learn the "knack" of looking inside. You can do it. We all can. It just takes a little support and some persistence in the right direction. Which friends could you form a "self-study" group with? Check the self-help books--they have plenty of ideas for exercises.
You are ok just as you are. Your desire to be happy and better understand the purpose of your life is wonderful! How might you balance this determination with an accepting attitude? How can you allow the day to unfold in its own way? There is no blame in being unhappy and feeling a bit lost in life. The only price you have to pay is commitment. You just need to commit to pick up the pieces and start again.
Falling down is not the end. It is scraped knees and some tears. You know this. We all do. The best way forward is to try. And to try with the help of friends and loved ones. How could you "conspire" with some friends to take a risk and explore what the greater meaning of life may be for you? Which of your friends have "got it right" in understanding their place in life? Which ones are really happy and content? How might you learn from them and seek their support and advice?
We carry our past experiences with us, inside, almost as baggage. And these memories (karma) include both good and bad experiences. It turns out that the unhappy ones can gradually distort our clear thinking and compassionate feelings. And when enough "emotional damage" has occurred, occasionally a negative energy can find its way into our emotional, etheric and physical bodies.
This is nothing especially uncommon. We all carry some negative energy with us. Otherwise we would be in heaven already! You might consider such negative forces as paying off karmic debt. And also try to remember that instead of being a heavy burden such work at clearing away these unwanted experiences can also be taken as a good opportunity to improve our wisdom and fortune.
In fact, whatever befalls us is really a blessing. Sometimes the blessing is in disguise, but it is a blessing nevertheless. This is because the fundamental nature of this world is to evolve toward a more harmonious and beneficial level of experience. We are all leaves floating on a tide that inexorably is sweeping toward Light. This is our great advantage and good fortune. Otherwise life would be too difficult. So, when the inevitable obstacles come, we can always remember that they are small eddies in a much more potent tide that IS going in the right direction. We are lucky that way. Truly.
It is usually the case that when a problem arises, we have two main options. One is that we can fight directly against the problem, trying to make it go away. We focus on what we don't want and hope to chase it away. So, for instance, "I don't want to be unhappy. I don't like not knowing my purpose!"
The other option is to deal with the problem indirectly by acting to cultivate the things we do want. In this case, we focus on what we do want and work to create it (and as a by-product, the problem often gradually fades away). So, for instance, "I want to feel more aligned with Divine intent. I want to be happy and complete!".
This second approach is usually much more effective and less stressful. That is, in general, we do best to work for something rather than against something. Still, it is also important for you to acknowledge your sadness and doubt. What might they be telling you about your own underlying feelings? Which ones might need some more care and attention?
You're on the right track!By concentrating on what you CAN do positively to strengthen your own spirit and resources you have chosen a wise road to reclaiming your integrity and wholeness. How might you work to further strengthen your own wholesome energies? How could you practice "being happy" in small ways?
Remember that you are a child of the Light and that wherever your journey takes you, Spirit is always present beside and with you. Open your heart, as best you can, and you will likely find the Love that heals and nourishes is still with you--as it always has been. It always will be too. We can all be grateful for this. Best wishes.
Date Created: July 12, 2000
Last Updated: July 12, 2000
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