This is not a guided meditation as we have experienced before; this is more a story-telling where I will tell you of my special space. Yet I still want you to experience this as sacred space, as it is in this space I meet with That Which Is -- sometimes the divine is Sophia to me, sometimes Christa, sometimes Christ, sometimes Yggdrasil (the world tree, the axis of being). I image the divine as the Earth, or the Earth Mother, as the Wind, or the Wind Father. It has occurred to me that the space itself is God, it is where I cultivate my Light within. So I will ask you now to trust me, and let me show you my favorite spaces and introduce you to Those Who Care for me. Just as you might not like my earthly Father or Mother, I don't expect you will like all the Beings you meet here. And, if you don't feel comfortable with any of these spaces you can watch me go into each garden from the gate, and I will rejoin you there each time.
So now breath deep and center yourself. Find your self sitting on a comfortable garden bench with me. The sun is shining warmly on our faces, but it's hard to tell what season it is, isn't it? This could be a warm North Carolina winter's day. We're in the corner of a fairly formal garden. The herbs in the beds are still quite green, and there are many different shapes and sizes and shades of green, but I'm not going to tell you all about them. There is a bay myrtle shrub behind our bench, though, and I reach around you and pick a small branch off. I hand it to you, crushing the leaves, and you smell the bayberry scent used in Christmas candles for centuries. I bring your attention to the paths. The garden, you'll note is quite square. Two concentric paths -- this slate paved one at our feet, and the smaller gravel one around the sundial -- are connected by eight gravel spokes. It's to symbolize the wheel of the year. Now take my hand and let me lead you down the gravel path in front of us, to the sundial in the center of the garden. I think of this sundial as a place to leave small symbolic offerings. If you want, you can leave the bay branch there, giving it back to the garden. Now, I hope you can feel the sense of peace I find here. This isn't a very dynamic garden for me. I center myself here, and rest in the warmth. When I'm sick I just like to sit on the bench and watch the small song birds splash and feed in the opposite corner.
So, see how of the eight paths four point to the garden corners, and four point to gates in the centers of the sides? Well, each gate is at a compass point, and you are now facing east towards a wooden wall that reminds you faintly of Japanese garden spaces. Follow me to the wooden door, and I'll pull the simple rope handle and open it. It's early morning in this garden. I walk out on a deck, over a pool filled with carp. There are bonsaied trees on one side of the pool, Japanese maples just in leaf, and azaleas blooming. A wooden bridge crosses over a creek, and in the opal, misty air of the morning you can smell the salt of the ocean and hear the crash of water. Standing on this bridge I can see the beach. I'll tell you, if you were to let yourself melt into the water you would flow down this stream under this bridge, go through the staccato waterfalls, and then meet the chaos of the ocean waves. A little ways down the beach there's a tidal pool with a lyrical water fountain. Were you here for one of Beverly's prayer-by-movement sessions? If you had been, you'd know that the four movements she led us through are there in the flowing, staccato, chaotic, and lyrical movement of the water. Sometimes I walk on that beach with Christa, but every day I meet That Which Is here in the form of a young hooded woman. Ah, she's coming out of the woods, now, with her cup. I greet her, and she hands me the cup. This is the cup of grace. I drink from it, and hand it back to her. I'm going to walk down the path into the wood a bit now, and leave you alone with her.
Are you ready? Let's then leave by the gate we came in by, and follow the slate path to our left, to the south. Isn't this a wonderful old split rail fence? It's like the ones in the Appalachian Mountains. And roses and blackberries just tumble over it. There's not really a gate here, just a gap in the fence into this wonderful orchard meadow. I can't help but run down the slope, throw my hands up in the air and spin myself around. The peach trees are filled with sweet juicy fruit -- they're quite ripe -- pick one if you'd like. I don't run and dance and play here enough. Now, I have met That Which Is in the form of a young man here. He's never said anything to me, but he has given me a gift of courage. This gift is in an image I found surprising. Over here is a column of light and fire. He motioned for me to reach in, and as I did I felt as if I was reaching into a reflecting pool. I find now, as I always do, my beating heart. You, too, can reach in. With every heart beat, courage pulses through my body. With every heart beat, I can face my grief, my frustrations, my fears, my anger. With every heart beat I am alive, and with the gift of life I can face anything. Let's sit for a moment and feel our hearts beat.
Are you ready? Let's then leave by the gate we came in by, and follow the slate path to our left, to the west. After spending several summers working in New Mexico I became very fond of adobe homes. So over this low adobe wall is a small court yard filled with chrysanthemums and beyond that a small adobe ranch house. We walk up the low porch and enter. Follow me through the hall... Here's a shelf with a rough wooden chest. I keep gifts I receive during other guided meditations in here... And here we are... step down and you see this round wooden table. It's very familiar, isn't it! The room is open to the west and you can see the Rio Grande valley, the mountains to the west with the sun setting behind them. I often walk out into the field -- barefoot -- and feel the rich soil. I let myself feel the support the Divine provides us all here, in the strength of the earth. Stand here with me and feel the nourishment that is provided for us all.
Are you ready? Let's then leave by the gate we came in by, and follow the slate path to our left, to the north. It's another high wooden wall, and we pass through the door into a winter night. There's a cabinet right here, with warm coats and cloaks inside. Once you put it on, you don't notice the cold, just the incredibly bright stars. There's a mountain in front of us, and in the starlight you can see how the path leads up past the wintering fruit trees growing along the terraces. It's a comfortable walk, and we go up past the fruit trees to a patio surrounded by rhododendrons, and there are more comfortable garden benches here. I sit here and ask to meet with the Wisdom of the divine. Often I just feel very alone with myself -- and my breath. So I concentrate on each breath, and feel how with each deep breath in I feel filled. I am perhaps not the most confident that Wisdom fills me, but i trust that in time, breathing in, breathing out, I will be filled with purpose. Breathing in, breathing out, I will be filled with understanding. Breathing in, breathing out, I will be filled with the words I need. Sit here with me and breath deeply for a while.
Are you ready? Let's then leave by the gate we came in by. There's one last garden, which, for me is the center of Being. If you walk through any of the gardens you will find a path that leads to it. So walk through your favorite gate, go past the spaces I described, and continue down the path. The way gets filled with fog and slowly becomes dark, and you realize you are walking up a grassy hill. You pass out of the fog into a moonlit night and see at the top of the hill a beautiful tree. Come sit under the tree with me. Here I feel awe at my connectedness with all things. As I sit under the tree I imagine the roots, reaching out to all of you, to my mother and father, and sister and brother. I imagine the roots reaching to my friends' parents and friends, people they have told me about, and I feel the roots reach past to their families, to more people I can imagine.
So, let's return to the CA. Walk back along your path, down the hill, and through the fog. Pass through the garden and through the gate into the herb garden. Sit back down and bring yourself back to the CA. When you're ready, open your eyes.
Written for Sister Circle at the Christian Association, 4 Firstmonth 1996, © 1996 by PhoenixElaine