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a guided meditation: the forest
How empty is a life so full it seems we cannot spare a moment for our dreams
Breathe deeply. Try to still your mind.
Imagine you are out in nature. You are standing at the foot of a majestic mountain at the edge of a dense forest. The scenery is breathtaking. You notice an opening and a pathway leading into the forest. You decide to follow the pathway. Inside the atmosphere is cool and fresh. You notice a beautiful, single red flower. As you stop to admire it you hear a voice inside your head.
Compared to the vast expanse of the universe, or the duration of eternity,
one human being, one lifetime, is not the tiniest speck of dust
in the vastest ocean. Much as we strive we can achieve no significance
In the surety of our absolute insignificance our one and only
purpose comes from our faith. Faith that we exist not in isolation,
but as part of some infinitely great whole. Faith that this life,
this world, is not all that exists but the tiniest of fragments
which together form that great vista.
You continue your journey. On the ground before you lies an old, black,
leather purse. You stoop to pick it up, and as you do so you again hear
the inner voice.
From the moment of our birth we embarked upon a one-way journey to the
grave. It is not our destinations or our achievements that matter,
but the knowledge and experience we acquire in the journey towards
You continue your journey, passing by a small stream. You dip your hand
into the water, its coolness gently refreshes you as once again the voice
Victory and defeat are false friends. In the midst of the celebration of
the greatest triumph, in the depth our soul we experience the futility
of trying to hold the moment. Nor is there any loss, any tragedy,
so great, that we cannot salvage some srap of learning, some crumb
of hope, from the wreckage.
Before moving on you take a drink from the stream. It is the most pure
water you could ever imagine. Ahead is a clearing and a patch of lush,
grass. The sunlight paints the grass a wonderful, vivid green. You decide
to stop for a while. There's a light breeze rustling the leaves of the
trees, making a sound which could almost be a female voice.
We carry an innate sense of morality, of justice. A desire to see wrongs
avenged. And so we should seek a pathway of righteousness. But there
comes a time for recognition. Recognition of the imperfections that
exist around and within us. And with that recognition comes the
realisation that in order to move forward we must turn our back
on the past. Condone not that which is wrong, but punish not thyself
for the sins of others.
It is time to continue. As you stand you notice a small, white jug, half
buried in the grass. As you pick it up and notice it is cracked your inner
voice addresses you once more.
It is said by some that we are but automata, blown helplessly by the cosmic
wind and entirely at its mercy. Indeed there is much which is beyond
our control, which may be called fate. But the small voice within
us in the still silence of the night assures us that we do have
some control over our destiny. Sometimes it matters very little,
at other times it can take us to one extreme or the other. But it
is always there.
As you walk on you pass what was once a building, perhaps a chapel or
shrine. It now lies broken and in ruins. You pause to listen to your thoughts
Why the tendency to negativity? We are as nothing. We have by right, nothing.
Every blessing, every moment, every breath, every sunrise is a bonus,
a cause for great joy. But we forget. Too often until it is too
late. Consider not the other man's grass. Enjoy thine own.
And so you travel onwards. You begin to feel a little hungry and as you
do you notice a blackberry bush. You enjoy the flavour of the sweet fruit
as your teacher speaks.
Knowledge is like a key in that it opens doors that would otherwise be
closed. Self knowledge is the foundation of all else as without
it our journey cannot even begin. And yet our knowledge continually
grows and is refined by the light of experience.
You now come to a fork in the pathway. You hesitate, waiting your teacher's
Sometimes we reach a point at which a choice must be made. At other times
we have the opportunity of branching off. Both situations are welcome.
They show us we do possess the ability to make a difference and
allow us to exercise our individuality. Decisions should not be
rushed, but neither should they be postponed. Reviewing the likely
consequences in the light of our present knowledge we are able to
choose one path or the other. And having chosen we look not back
to that which might have been but concentrate our energies to that
Looking upwards through the tops of the trees you can just make out some
curiously shaped clouds. Your imagination takes over for a moment as you
are taken back to the happy moments of your childhood.
Past, present and future are all equally real. But it is only the present
we inhabit. Reminiscence can provide comfort and may stand beside
us as our guide. And without dreams of tomorrow we are without purpose.
But ultimately the here and now is all we possess and it is only
by doing that which is right now that tomorrow's past and present
will be the very best we can make them.
You are approaching the edge of the forest, but before leaving you inquire
as to your teacher's identity.
I am not your teacher. I have told you nothing which you did not already
know, but you allow your innate wisdom to be obscured, silenced
by meaningless distractions. Gain experience that your spirit may
evolve. Do good in whatever way you choose, in whatever way you
can. Seek satisfaction, real satisfaction, through the fulfilment
of the will of the supreme and ultimate power we call God. Struggle
not with your destiny. Pursue it actively and embrace it. And allow
yourself time and space just to listen.
You leave the forest and find yourself back at the foot of the mountain.
You feel refreshed and re-energized and as you return to the world of
practical reality you know that you may make this and other journeys any
time you please.
Another meditation: the beach
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