We were on a retreat once again. Generally, we worked in our weekly meeting of one hour, but from time to time we used to go on overnight retreat lasting from one day to three days and the longest one of seven days known as centre of work. Withdrawing physically from our daily world, being in a relaxed mood, accompanied by wonderful companions in the internal work, intense subjects and profound reflections made these retreats one of the most memorable part of our journey.
When I learned that the theme of the retreat was about the power of images, I wondered what it meant.
“Images are what mobilise tensions”
As I know, images come and go in our head. What could be so important about it? And particularly what it has to do with tensions?
“Imagine a fire, and imagine you are there at the fire. Notice how your muscles become tense. Conversely, imagine that you “put out” the fire and observe how your external muscles relax and you register a relax in your internal sensations”
I tried it and was amazed to see how it works. Sitting on a chair without any other movement, just by imagining fire I could feel the tension and also the consequent relaxation.
“We will do a practice. Close your eyes and follow what is being said” I closed the eyes and paid attention to what was being said.
“Imagine a transparent and luminous sphere up above you. Let it descend from above, enter your head and lower it until it is inside your chest at the level of your heart.
“When this sphere is resting in your chest, begin to slowly expand it or “let” it expand so it gradually grows until it fills your whole body. When this sensation that starts in the centre of your chest has expanded throughout your whole body, a warm sensation of peace and internal unity will appear which you should let operate by itself.
“Sometimes your breathing will become deeper and positive emotions will appear-pleasant and inspiring emotions. However, pay no attention to your breathing; simply let it accompany your positive emotions and keep your attention on the expanding sensation.
“On other occasions, memories and very vivid images may arise, but you should always have greater interest in your growing register of peace and calm.
“When this register has diffused throughout your body, the Experience of Peace will arise. Remain in this interesting state for a few minutes, and then slowly contract the sensation and the image back towards your chest to your heart. Then, raise it to your head, and gradually let this “sphere” you have been using move outside and disappear.
“This completes the Experience of Peace.”
Wow! It was just a few minutes and only images. But it completely transformed my internal state. I felt completely peaceful. Can such experience happen only in retreats?
“You can practice Experience of Peace at any time in your daily life.”
I decided to experiment with this practice in daily life. Just moving few images and such a powerful impact. Why I didn’t know it so far?
“Images always act on you whether you know about it or not. What is important is to learn about how we can manage our images and through that influence our internal state”
I always wondered when people told about managing feelings about how I could do it. Now it seems there is a handle to work on the same.
This was the beginning of the retreat and I knew much more was to come. Anxiously looking forward to the same I was moving ahead in my journey to becoming better person.