Winter’s Warmth

It was Sunday evening, and I sat down in the upstairs porch of my house for my daily meditation. Usually I do this in the mornings, but on the weekend my routine is often out the window. My usual morning meditation felt inappropriate, so I decided to do a visualization.

I hadn’t done a visualization in a while, but I began as I used to by focusing on my breathing and making my exhales as long as possible. I imagined that with each breath I was spreading love into the world, which then rippled back to me and continued to grow. I visualized this love as water pouring out of my heart.

When I would do this visualization in the past, it came easily. Granted at the time I was doing a lot of visualizations. Out of practice, it took a long while for my mind to clear and focus. Keeping at it, I eventually saw water slowly trickling out of my heart down my chest. Still, my mind wandered. Over and over again I brought myself back to that trickle, urging myself to focus on the love I could bring to the world and visualizing the water flowing.

After some time, my mind calmed and allowed the visualization to progress. The water coming from my heart started to accumulate, slowly filling up the room I was sitting in. With each breath out, more water poured into the room and small waves would move out from me and bounce off of the walls and furniture rebounding a wave of love back to me as energy rippled around.

As the love of everything around me came back to me, the flow of water out of my heart became stronger. Water began to drip down between the floorboards and fill the room below me. It began to wash out of the room I was in and into the hallway. It flowed through the doorways into my bedroom and my son’s nursery. It poured down the stairs and filled our living room. With each new object the water encountered, more ripples of love were sent back to me and the flow from my heart grew stronger.

The water flooded over my wife and son in the living room, and their ripples were so strong that they were carried back to me on the wave. All three of us were now seated in the waters of our porch, pouring forth love.

The water burst from our windows and spread to our neighbors’ houses. Further across the city the waves rolled, growing stronger with each new thing they encountered. My awareness spread with the wave to the greater environment around me, and I saw each place the waves touched. I thought of my connection to these places and I sent my love to them. When the wave reached the homes of friends and family, it grew vast and swept across the whole city.

As the wave moved through suburbs and into outstate wilderness the temperature dropped and an icy chill swept through the waters and back to my heart, freezing everything.  Not to be stopped, now snow streamed out from my heart and took to the skies. The snow swirled and moved out across the state and the country in an ever expanding radius growing stronger with each additional realization of connection until the entire planet was swept up in itself.

My awareness returned to my body. I found myself at the center of this storm. I was sitting on a mountain top, or so it seemed, and snow whipped and blustered around me. I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of me. Everything was a bright gray with wisps of white streaking about.

Then, a dragonfly buzzed passed me from the right and hovered directly in front of me. Odd, I thought, that a dragonfly could be in such a cold place. I looked closer and saw that it was made of ice and had snowflake wings.

The dragonfly began to flit about, as insects do, moving abruptly from spot to spot in front of me and pausing briefly in each location. As the dragonfly did this, ice began to form in each place the bug lingered. The ice spread and became the corners of blocks, which met to form a sort of igloo around me. Instead of being round, this igloo was rectangular. The long sides of this icy enclosure were in front and behind me, and the shorter lengths were at my sides.

The temperature dropped further still, and I felt trapped. Not only was I now sealed inside this box, but the cold made it impossible to move. Despite this feeling, something at the back of my mind told me that at any time I could simply stand up and walk out of the igloo if I wanted to. Yet I knew that I wouldn’t do that. I felt that I wasn’t able to, even though I knew that I was. There was a disconnect between thought and feeling; as if my emotions crippled me.

I sat for a long time starring at the frosty blocks in front of me. Slowly, I began to see muted streaks of color swirl passed me. They looked like the aurora but with all the colors of the rainbow, and I saw that the dragonfly was inside the walls of the igloo spreading these colors as it flew.

Still unable to move, I began to heat up. I imagined myself getting warmer and warmer, thinking this might be my escape. Instead of melting the blocks, the ground below me began to give way and I sank down and down into the snow.

Now I was even worse off. Instead of being trapped in a roughly 10 x 6 foot igloo, now I was completely surrounded in a cylinder of snow no wider than my body. It was pitch black. A black so thick that your eyes play tricks. The streaks of the aurora still seemed to glimmer faintly around me. Did I actually see that?

From the same place at the back of my mind that spoke to me before, an impulse came over me and my eyes snapped open. Perhaps it was an instinctive reaction to the darkness in that cylinder. It was so black I didn’t in fact know if my eyes had ever been open. I do all of my visualizations with closed eyes.

The separation between my meditation and my regular awareness blurred. When my eyes snapped open, of course, what I saw was the porch that I was sitting in. The windows in front of me roughly 10 feet long, and the sides about 6 feet. Precisely the dimensions of the igloo of my visualization. I realized that I never left that igloo. In a sense, I never leave that igloo. Perhaps I had never moved anywhere ever. At a certain level there was no difference between moving and staying still, between escaping and being trapped. The only difference was one of perspective; a difference of awareness. Was I meditating still?

I realized that the igloo was my perception, it represented the awareness upon which I project my reality.

The dragonfly was always painting a picture. It would make whatever I told it to. It was up to me to decide.


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