Winter’s Warmth

It was Sunday evening, and I sat down for my daily meditation. I decided to do a visualization. I began by focusing on my breathing; extending 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.

Water slowly began trickling out of my heart down my chest. As my mind wandered, over and over again I brought myself back to that trickle; urging myself to focus on the love I could give to and receive from the world.

The water slowly filled up the room. With each breath out small waves moved out from my heart and bounced off the walls and furniture rebounding a million ripples of love back to me.

Water began to drip down between the floorboards and fill the room below me. It washed out into the hallway and 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 the ripples were so strong that both of them were carried back to me on the returning wave. All three of us were now seated together 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, 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.

My awareness returned to my body. I found myself at the center of this storm. It seemed that I was sitting on a mountain top. Snow whipped and blustered around me. I couldn’t see more than a few feet. Everything was a bright gray with streaking wisps of white.

Suddenly a dragonfly buzzed passed me from the right and hovered in front of me. Odd that a dragonfly could be in such a cold place. I looked closer and saw it was made of ice and had snowflake wings. It 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 that met to form a sort of igloo around me. Instead of being round the igloo was a rectangle, roughly 10×6. The long sides of this icy enclosure were in front and behind me, and the shorter lengths were at my sides.

The temperature dropped 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 past me. They looked like the aurora but with all the colors of the rainbow. I saw that the dragonfly inside the walls of the igloo. It was 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.

I was even worse off! Now I was completely surrounded in a cylinder of snow no wider than my body. It was pitch black. A darkness 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, 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 the visualization and reality blurred. When my eyes snapped open, of course, what I saw was the room that I was sitting in. The windows in front of me roughly 10 feet long, and the side walls about 6 feet; the same dimensions as the igloo.

I realized that I never left that igloo. In a sense, I never leave that igloo. 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?

The igloo was my perception, 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.

This post is part of my “Throwback Thursday” series. It was originally posted in December of 2015.

Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2001

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