In the early days of my injury I created a meditation where I would float out into the sea and down deep into the ocean water. In a bubble I would rest in the darkest depths of the ocean to find that quiet space of meditation practice, so dark I could barely see anything and pressure beyond sound. I found this meditation hugely beneficial to find space and calm in my healing.
In 2015 I began to face my fears and one is of deep water. It seemed ironic that the place I found most relaxing to meditate in my mind is also the place I am so fearful of in conscious life. So, t0 jump 25 feet into a pool of unknown depth was my idea of fun (added factor is that I don’t really like heights).
We climbed to the top of the rocks and stood at the jump spot near Atenas in Costa Rica. My friend was anxious and narrated her breath, heart and other symptoms. I tried to count to 3 to jump, but would cancel at 2 unable to move with the anticipation. After a good 10 minutes of not jumping and several people filming our several failed attempts, I found myself calmly observing my breath to keep the anxiety at bay. As I got into my breath my eyes fell onto the ripples of the water, I noticed the light catching on the ripples and it danced. I became mesmerised by the dancing ripples and movement of the water, until eventually I felt my body release and I jumped into the soft enveloping water. As I hit the water I ‘mushroomed’ my body as instructed and came to the surface. I swam to a rock and sat, grounded myself on earth; I was safe.
Immediately as I hit the water an intense headache emerged between my eyebrows as the anxiety released. Without meditation on the water ripples I would not have stepped into the water, I had ceased all thought chatter, stilled my emotions and become entranced by observation to experience what I watched. I released who I was to become a conscious being that moved through elements of air and water.
Candles and Fire
My anxiety nightmares have always included fires that I run from. I have never enjoyed to stare and watch fires, although I enjoy the sound and smell my nightmares left a residue of aversion from flames.
In need of full recluse I found myself drawn to watch the candle flame in my room. I became engrossed in the dancing flame of blue, white, yellow, orange and red. The colours reminded me of the burning sun – bubbling and so bright – I recollected the lava flowing in the Masaya volcano in Nicaragua, an earthy substance of fire. The flame was safe when it merged with earth to make lava.
I saw that the candle unpredictably changed from the steady into burst of small chugs struggling to keep itself alive. At the tip the flame vanished from visual perception upwards and evaporated. It became the air; the flame was vulnerable to the air and safe as air to me.
The texture of the flame moved like silk fabric – smooth, three dimensional twists that widen and shorten. I found my body falling into the flame like I was being wrapped in fabric.
I closed my eyes and the flame became inverted in my mind’s eye – a reminder that perception is always in opposites. What the mind tells us we perceive may not be the threat. In my nightmares I had associated the flames with destruction of the familiar and loss of what made me feel safe. If I inverted the flames as my fear of the unknown transformation and ignited joy that I was about to experience then there was nothing to fear in my subconscious – no more nightmares.
Meditation to Release
These meditations on the elements of water and fire use the power of concentration to focus my mind from fears. To eliminate all the surroundings and purely breathe gave space to shift my perception. Such tools sharpen brain function, heal the mind and connect into a deeper place within and without yourself. Meditation that feels almost hypnotic can still your being away from stories that we tell ourselves in our conscious and subconscious, to open us to experiences and see them from the opposite perspective.