I suddenly remembered my mother’s trance work at Hillshore in the early Sixties, along the Bay of Quinte…and her guide saying matter-of-factly – “You see, only when the tears actually flow, are there deep changes in the cells themselves…”
The alchemists of old marvelled at the dissolving of salt in water which happens with our tears. Research shows that their appearance – when not for show or petulant “on cue” dramatics – marks a turning point deep within the psyche. Without these tears, many “journeys of healing” may be only imaginative explorations of one’s inner and other worlds, falling short, however, of actual healing. What we are looking for is a deep, permanent transformation within the body’s cells and those of the still-physical, but much less dense body – the personality or psyche.
The meditation process described here, leading to the release of old trauma, seems to be authored by one’s Higher Self and to center on guided, spontaneous, and transformational imagery. It is a unique form of meditation filled with practical, spiritual teaching and above all, deep, personal healing. This is an alchemical, and thus Shamanic, form of meditation.
The state of mind is very close to what Carl Jung called active imagination. This is very similar to the hypnagogic state just as you drift off to sleep and just as you are first vaguely awakening, when you have flashes of images and thoughts which seem almost like waking dreams. These are very receptive states and thus present an opening into the Unconscious and other realms of the Psyche. Here, at any point on the Circle, you are connecting with the Higher Self, the Shaman within who will take you on your journeys Within and teach you the gift of self-transformation.
Here is a good way to think about this kind of meditation: We are all familiar with the idea of exposing our subconscious selves to creative visualizations – we choose an ideal or concrete image and concentrate on it. In a similar approach, we can expose the inner, or subconscious self to guided meditations using books or CDs. Now, think a little bit outside the box, and imagine reversing this process: What about allowing the Higher Self – working through the levels of your mind and Soul – to come up with its own set of images, creating a series of guided meditations and creative visualizations for you?
There are two excellent reasons to try this approach: First, your Higher Self, as inner Healer and Shaman, really knows you far better than you know yourself on a conscious level; and second, the Higher Self can and will actually follow a sensitive, intelligent “program” which is completely and uniquely designed for you. As the days and years pass, these meditative sessions will link together to form a Whole.
You won’t always see it, but there will be an order, a Plan, to the way the different topics and images “come up” from within. Keeping a little journal of your meditations will enhance the process, but I do want to stress that it should be kept light, relaxed, and fairly casual.
In fact, I suggest that if you are prescribed a medication such as a tranquilizer to help with your stress, by all means make sure you take it before you begin…this is not supposed to be an endurance test!
Creating Your Temple of Healing
Set a regular time and place for your daily meditation. This sends the signal of commitment to the unconscious, which has a memory like an elephant!…And, though The Higher Self is always aware of your call, your commitment and regular appearance gives the inner Teacher the ability to set up a “program” for you, the Student, so faithful attendance is the key.
The mental place you create can be as formal or informal as you choose. Call your animal allies if this is your spiritual language, and picture yourself surrounded by the things you hold most sacred in ritual. Picture yourself entering a lovely crystal Temple in the Sky or perhaps a simple forest grove or glen, or seat yourself at the foot of a waterfall. Don’t try too hard…just enjoy where you find yourself!
Then, the next step is to just let things flow into your mind. After a time, and perhaps some practice, something different from the usual stream of miscellaneous “stuff” comes into the mind. This will be a picture or image which holds your attention, and which will gradually change into new pictures, as feelings and insights gather around and you realize you are sort of in the midst of a small inner movie.
There are two main kinds of inner picture-events which arise within this free-floating, free-association, meditative process: One has to do with Spiritual Education and Psychic or Predictive information, and the other has to do with Healing of the Personality. I describe these two kinds of picture-events as follows:
Inspirational Teaching Pictures
These events are rather like giving yourself a psychic reading by pulling a Tarot Card or consulting the I Ching. I had my first such experience as a child, and I describe it in Beginnings: My First Psychic Pictures.
These images or pictures tend to be both educational and inspirational, coming from one’s Higher Self. You may begin with a picture, often something symbolic like a tree, or a bird, or even an object in your every day life. Ideas will start to form around this, and indeed, the picture will usually begin to change and become part of a small movie, giving you some insights into something going on in your life that is a real issue…
One person described watching a picture of a small lovely sailing boat float into view. It was quite pleasant at first, but then she noticed that a storm was coming up on the sea and that, for some reason, the two-person crew she “knew” was there was not paying attention – they seemed to have gone below decks…It was obvious the delicate boat was headed straight for some ugly rocks very close by.
As she watched, she suddenly “knew” that this was her marriage, and connected the pictures at once to recent events in which she had been quite dismissive of comments made by her husband, and by an observant friend. Each had been hinting that some problems were being pushed “beneath the surface” (below decks, where the 2-person crew of the small sailing ship seemed to be)…She realized that it would take two people, working very hard, to avert shipwreck, as they had apparently waited till the storm was at its height, and they were now a very short distance from the rocks.
This type of “picture” can tell you that there is a problem, the direction of a solution, and – as in the above example – a sense of the odds in changing an event that is coming…in this case, marriage breakdown. Such a set of pictures might be revisited in another meditation, and you will think “Oh, we are going to work on that, again….”
As with Tarot and I Ching, it is extremely unwise to try to force the conversation by conscious repeat efforts to “sit for information”. The unique nature of this kind of meditation is that it relies on the unforced, unrehearsed, spontaneous offerings of the unconscious psyche. All channels and spiritual guides warn against repeatedly drawing a new Tarot Card or casting the coins “one more time” on the same issue. Thus one should not keep sitting to meditate “about” any particular issue.
In the teaching pictures you may learn about a past lifetime – or series of them. You may find yourself being shown the fine points of a particular spiritual quality. An important feature of your life may seem to come into view, and you begin to sense how it is about to change, in what direction, and why…Like our lady with the sailing boat you will be shown the spiritual principles which are driving the changes – such as her rather shallow disinterest in the hard work of relationship. The solution is often implied as the nature of the problem is opened up, so that the necessary changes in beliefs, attitudes or behavior seem self-evident.
This is a very sophisticated teaching program instituted by the Higher Self, and will be a life-long program, if you care to commit. Meditations will build on each other, though they may occur as patches of a quilt which only later get sewn together. Still, you will notice a delicate web of continuity and familiarity with some of the images and themes, not to mention echoes of some of your dreams.
Fragment Personalities Of The Psyche
A second type of event is less to do with education in philosophical terms and more to do with psychology – healing of your personality.
For the first thing we discover with spiritual life is that we cannot escape our Humanity…the Soul and its life unfold, here on Earth, outwardly and inwardly from this marvellous thing we understand to be the human Psyche, imbedded, of course, in a physical body. Taken together, our personality/psyche and physical body may be very much like an “Avatar” for the Soul….Each life is indeed a Quest, each Self has unique roles to play in the Journey of its Soul.
The process of guided imagery which is central to this form of meditation often involves the break-through of broken off, isolated, traumatized parts of the personality, often referred to as fragments or – as Carl G. Jung called them – subpersonalities. These fragments are the pieces of personality which are sought and recovered in soul retrieval in the traditional Shaman’s healing work. You will begin this Shamanic work here, with your own personality.
I encountered “Fragments” in my psychic Life Readings, and later discovered that Carl Jung, the great psychiatrist, had observed them in his clients. It is remarkable how the Higher Self sets to work – in dreams too – on this issue, and I have written more on it, in a somewhat different way, in Shamanic Healing of Personality Fragments.
Fragments tend to center on, and cling to – their very personal memory of some event or situation in your life in which strong, negative emotions and physical memories were created. In these experiences in meditation you will find it is most often not a picture or symbol that comes up, but a gradual awareness of revisiting an event. It may be the original event of its kind that first made an impression deep enough to form a separate centre of Self – a fragment. You may find yourself aware of that first real sense of shame, guilt, fear of failure, rejection, or abandonment, for example.
Sometimes one seems to travel back swiftly on a “time-line” through many similar events until finally arriving, and halting, at the primal, original one. It is this one which created the Pattern, or Template, this one around which a part of the Self broke off to wrap itself protectively around the hurting smaller self.
Patterns repeat, but they have a starting point. Find that point and change it – in this special “active” imagination which is guided by the Higher Self…let the memories choose themselves and sift upwards, through the unconscious, in their own time, in their own order of appearance. Your conscious self has two roles here – supervising an emotional response (let it happen), and thoughtful awareness of the recovery and integration of this lost Self.
Following the Healing Meditation Through
An experience is traumatic if you felt it was at the time – it does not matter if others have had “worse experiences” or you feel you should have been stronger…Let your inner Self guide you to the pain, without judging yourself in any way.
You may find lifelong feelings of being left out in a family, going back to one incident that seemed one of many, but which somehow crystallized that “outsider” moment, and the pain. It could be a moment in school, when one felt belittled, or in a friendship where it felt like betrayal…
It could be a romantic, sexual, or childbirth experience. It could be a physical accident or moment(s) of physical or emotional assault…There may well be more than one picture – and more than one kind of emotion -clustering around the memory.
The fascinating thing is that, at a certain level of connection, we get to the “template” of a certain type of experience. It appears that we can affect, and eventually erase, the emotional content of all memories we have “filed under this template”.
Let the picture unfold to reveal its own small story, and see what you learn about it. Let any and all emotions associated with it emerge – don’t be afraid of them. If you find it almost too stressful to continue try simply saying out loud: “This feeling is mine, but I am much more than this feeling”.
Let the Healing Tears Flow
You will, sooner or later, feel the tears forming in the healing part of the meditation. Let it happen! We were given the gift of both laughter and tears, but so seldom do see the ability to cry as a gift.
Having reached the point where the throat swells and tears surprisingly form, you have arrived. Your tears now, in this moment, will have a special kind of energy. It is a fact of inner healing that the emergence of tears and crying marks the moment of transformative connection with the cellular – even DNA – levels where the old painful memory is stored.
So this is the moment when You, as the Center of Power, enter inside the emotion/event center, and, in taking it over, your shamanic energy dissolves the old molecular patterns of emotional memory.
As you cry, deep within the original memory, you link the power of the Present You with the experience of the Past You. In future, you will recall the event as a “fact” but it will no longer have the same paralyzing or traumatizing emotions attached to it. It will hang empty, like an old corn husk, in the museum of Memory.
Most importantly, its ability to send out a radiofrequency “signal” literally attracting similar life events to you will be deactivated.
The tears now also perform a secondary, cleansing role, quite literally moving the old experience out of the tissues and cells, up through the chakras, and into the conscious Mind, where Spirit can gather it up in a final clearing.
We often resist the urge to cry, because the tears mean connecting deeply to the pain that is at the core of the memory…And, it turns out that anger is almost always the first layer that formed as a defense at the time of the traumatic experience. Let go of the anger and see what happens…
Until we get past the defensive emotions, and surrender to the pain, truly our tears are crocodile tears which have no healing power at all.
We often say – “I don’t need to cry about that – I have cried about it so many times!” But until the truly transformative tears happen, in complete surrender and trust to the Healer within, the old abscess within the chakra and DNA of one’s cells remains. So be patient, and if there are tears there, let them come through.
The process of “letting go and encountering the original pain” is actually the core of all healing and that is why it takes so long for us to finally summon the courage to go through with it! This can take several meditation attempts over sometimes many months, even years, for the really traumatic material of one’s life and occasionally, even past-life material…So do take your time….
Enter the Healing Picture or Thought
You will almost always find that as the tears subside, something new and comforting comes into view.
It can be a new picture, showing that as you release the old emotions, new, inspiring and empowering feelings are flowing in to take the place of the old negative self-image. Sometimes at this point, it may become evident that you, yourself, were part of the cause of the problem. It may be due to an attitude about yourself that you brought back from another time and place; it might even be a real character flaw, a wound in your aura, your spiritual shield. There may be a message about it being old karma, showing you the best way to accept it and work with the difficult feelings and seemingly unfair life situations that are part of this old karmic imbalance.
The results can be immediate, or long-term. Old stuff, even when released, takes awhile to be washed from all the hidden parts of the body, personality, and mind…and life in the world. Physical events move more slowly in Time and Space than do mental events, so it will take time for old patterns to dissolve in your life, and new ones to form. Remember that at first, you may even feel rather shaken, and disturbed within – of course, major changes have displaced many, many neurons within the brain itself!
Let the Process Unfold Naturally
It may take many such sessions, but these should be kept fairly short, and you will find that the healing Self will take its own time, and produce old memories to be worked on, in its own order, at its own pace. This is really quite fascinating in itself, and leads one to remember that the Dreaming Self also produces dreams about the inner life in an order all of its own.
The physician/psychiatrist within seems to have a very clear “map” of how to proceed. So I am not a fan of “quick-quick” money-back therapies offered in 2-day retreats. This is a lifelong process of gentle introspection and tidying up, with its own rhythm, its own themes.
This book is truly groundbreaking. I found chapter 9, Turning Our Ghosts Into Ancestors: Psychoanalysis as a Neuroplastic Therapy, to be remarkably in harmony with what I had come to understand about the inner cellular changes in moments of heightened awareness and tears during active imagination. This is not an easy book, but it brings mainstream science to the aid of spiritualized inner work, showing how we literally do, with Mind, change this Temple which we reside in, and tend, from Life to Life.
© Carol Leigh Rice 2014 Expanded 2021