The following is an excerpt from Grounded Spirituality, written by Jeff Brown.
*Editor’s Note: Here at Elephant, we’re notorious bookworms—we love them, and want you to love them, too. But, recently, we found out books are evil—one of the worst things for the environment. Before you buy your next book, read this and this. Keep reading, but read responsibly.
Beloved Meditation: An exercise from “Grounded Spirituality.”
This exercise is a valuable tool in discerning the relational form of a loved one in your life.
In a relationship, there can be critical junctures where we reach a crossroads: Do we split paths at this juncture, each venturing in a new direction? Or, do we continue together, on one shared trail? In either case, it can be obvious that love still runs deep. Yet significant relationships can take different forms, serving various purposes, at different times in our lives.
This exercise can be used as a supportive tool at a critical crossroads in determining or reassessing the specific form the relationship must now take. You can either envision the subject (your loved one) in your mind’s eye. Or, use a photo of them. (This exercise is not limited to romantic connections. It can be used to clarify the future of any relevant personal connection, as well.)
Sit on a chair, on the floor, or on a cushion, in whatever position feels most comfortable. Or lie down on a firm but comfortable surface. We want your body as rooted and relaxed as possible in this exercise. Feel your body making contact with the earth.
Either close your eyes, or keep your eyes opened and focus on the photograph of the beloved you are contemplating.
Invite your breath to move evenly throughout your body. Do not direct the intensity. Just gentle, even breaths.
Now gently touch the area around your heart. Stroke the flesh…feel the tensions…notice the energetic armor…the protective plate…the beat of your heart…your lifeblood. Feel the rise and fall of your breath as you.
Imagine the person in question. Invite them into your heart space. Feel them inside your heart. Imagine their face, their breath, their scent, their little blemishes and imperfections that only you may be aware of. Remember moments together, and then let them circulate through you. If there is anger in the way, breathe through it. Feel free to make sounds that express it. If tears arise, allow them to fall.
Allow yourself to stay with the image until you can see their essence come into view, without resistance or defense. Unmasked, like in your clearest moments of seeing…before becoming burdened by difficulties or conflicts. Allow yourself to clear any fears, anxieties, or emotional debris that prevent you from seeing them and your connection clearly.
Once you can see them…see yourself, too. Breathe into a clear image of both of you, in your heart’s eye.
Now go deeper into your heart…allow your breath to stroke your heart with love, like a feather’s touch. Connect with your deepest feelings around this relationship. Allow yourself to feel the darkness, the light, the spectrum of possibility in between.
Feel beneath your armor, into what your heart is saying within and between the breaths. Feel into your intuitive knowing around the connection. See yourself on the path ahead.
When you are ready, place your hand over your heart and ask these questions:
> Is this person still part of my future?
> Are there still lessons we need to learn from each other, or are we now complete together?
> Are there lessons I now need to learn on my own, outside of this present relational form?
> Are we meant to walk together in the coming moments, or is it time to take leave of each other?
> What do I feel? What do I see?
> Are we walking hand in hand together, a shared path?
> Am I now walking alone, a separate path?
Hearticulate until the truth reveals itself.
When clarity emerges, stay with the truth of your feelings. Stay there, and hold them safe. Before you rise, send love to yourself, to your person of significance, and to all of us who are trying to make sense of the path of the heart.