– a personal experience
by Carlyse Smyth
We all learn in many different ways using our senses to bring the richness of the world into our lives. Sight, sound, smell, taste, touch – each sense allows us to engage and bring the outside in. As we encounter the world, this process asks that we Stop, Look within, Listen – then integrate our experiences – down and in. Often the mind struggles to digest. At those times it is as if we are called to let the mind rest; to relax and allow a different process to emerge.
Movement is one of the ways that may help us to integrate all that I Know and all that I Am, Now. At the North American Organiser Meeting on 3 August, we had FUN walking a spiral of the Depths. One of the joys of a walking meditation is that each one can simply be “as I am now”. I do not need to know everything about the Depths. Whatever, my current level of understanding, it is enough.
Our shoes, bags and our talking are left at the door as we enter the room. Chairs form a circle that surrounds a spiral. And, on each one of the chairs flowers rest peacefully.
The spiral itself was created from the beautiful boughs of the mesquite tree – a part of our environment, a gift from the world without. A tree lovingly nurtured in this desert landscape by the gardener who knows and sees its beauty. As we harvested the branches we heard the story of how the mesquite thrives in the desert gardens, putting on three to four feet of growth in only a few weeks as the rains arrive. We heard how it supports life in many forms and in many ways: the flowers drawing the insects and birds to its branches; the bean-pod seeds ground to create flour; the wood a fragrant flavouring for foods cooked over an open fire; and how native medicines were once and still concocted from this desert dweller. Its deep roots invite us to move deeper within. The tree, like the movement of the spiralling energy, binds the elements of the Depths into the essence of my being.
Along the spiral, there are stations of the Depths, an integral part of the whole. Candles with the color of the Depth, encircled by its element: 1st Depth Earth; 2nd Depth Air; 3rd Depth Wood; 4th Depth Water; and 5th Depth Fire – all leading into the core, the centre, the primordial Fire of 6th Depth – gold and red.
We’ve been asked to bring any object we may have found that reminds us of a Depth, or perhaps an object that we have brought with us. Carrying this object and our flower, each pauses to collect a small votive candle. One by one we enter the spiral. As we place our flowers and objects along the spiral, it is as if we are continuing and adding to this creation. I stop to honour the 2nd Depth, adding a small seed pod I found on a neighbourhood walk. Arriving at the centre of the spiral, the small votive candle I carry is lit from the candle of the 6th Depth.
Having brought the outside to meet the internal, now it is time to bring the internal integration up and out – to bring My Self back into the world, to share all that I am with the world. As I move along the spiral I place the glowing votive candle near my life-long friend – 4th Depth. The richness of blue has long been my favourite colour.
The silence is easeful. And as others walk the spiral I marvel at the individuality of each expression – the way this one moves, that one turns, where each person pauses in their private meditation. It is as if I am privileged to join them in their journey. So, I too walk the spiral again and again with my eyes and my heart – Getting to Know MySelf with each step.
As I meditate on each of the Depths words rise up from within me:
Holding the thumb, (1st Depth)
Earth – To feel with my hands the fertile soil of home – alive – sustaining
Letting the hand embrace the ring finger, (2nd Depth)
Breath – the many expressions reduced to the utter simplicity of: exhale…inhale…exhale…inhale…
Wrapping the hand around the middle finger, (3rd Depth)
Blood Essence of Life – rising through every cell of my being – expanding
Holding the index finger, (4th Depth)
Crystal clear water…pure – gurgling – bringing the sound of nature’s joyful laughter
Being with the little finger, (5th Depth)
The warm glow of a candle’s flame, unwavering – found in the Heart, unending.
Placing the fingers into the centre of the palm
The silence inviting us to the core, to the centre of MySelf – the “6” – a gathering of the 5…
All that was, is, will be.
And so it ends – A meditation based in movement that has brought me to stillness. A personal, private journey that has resulted in a sense of total connection to those around me. Such is the mystery of Depths – an individual expression that is all encompassing.
With special thanks to Jennifer Holmes who was the inspiration and co-facilitator for this very personal event.