Those who gathered for the contemplative community last night had a great opportunity to experience first-hand the transformational power of contemplation. Using the tool of guided imagery, participants were led through a process by which they had an opportunity to recognize those things within their lives that have proved to be no longer life-giving. Through the creative use of visualization, participants were then invited to deposit those things that are no longer life-giving into the cleansing, purifying, transformative fire of the Divine Holy Spirit. Actively naming and surrendering these fears, false-perceptions, negative thought or behavior patterns, unhealthy relationships, etc. empowered the participants to be healed of these areas of constriction within themselves to make room for the new life waiting to be born within them. It was a powerful evening of realization, healing and transformation. The overall energy of the room I think was awe-filled wonder.
What was discovered in this time together was the transformative, healing potential of contemplation and the reminder that there are times in all of our lives when deep healing and purging is called for. In each of our life journeys, there are times when the things that have previously served us, prove to be no longer useful. One example of this is the defense mechanisms we develop in order to survive our often dysfunctional childhood experiences. Perhaps one developed the defensive posture of rage to protect themselves from feeling the sadness of childhood loss. Maybe compulsive eating or spending became a way to avoid dealing with the pain within. Maybe a tower of aloofness was built around oneself to shelter one from the perceived rejection of a parent or the world. No matter the source, we all come into our adulthood with an arsenal of tools that helped us survive our childhood or previously abusive relationships. At some point, however, we discover that these tools no longer serve us in a positive way, but have in fact become an obstacle to freedom, joy, intimacy and peace. At this stage in our journey, we have an opportunity to continue to choose what no longer serves, but is familiar, or to seek healing from the wounds that caused these behaviors, attitudes, perceptions, in the first place so that we can be open to discovering, cultivating and being the person God created us to be – peaceful, happy and free.
It is at this crossroad in our human journey that the element of fire becomes a powerful ally. Fire is the element that unlike any other, has the power to destroy, transform, release and provide the foundation upon which new life may emerge. We can see this in a very practical way in the way that fire is used to burn away the old growth so that the fields can be prepared for a new planting. Fire is used to purge metal of its impurities and in the process transforms metals into something that can be molded, shaped, hammered, made into useful and necessary tools. Ancient cultures recognized this transformative aspect of fire and used fire as a symbol of Divine change. In the symbolic language of sacred scripture, fire is represented as a tool of cleansing and transformation. Fire has been used as one of the symbols of God’s Holy Spirit in the Christian tradition, and fire represents the transformative power of the kundalini energy that symbolically rests at the base of our spine awaiting the moment of our spiritual enlightenment.
Fire becomes a powerful ally when we wish to give release and be healed of those things within that are no longer life giving. We can through visualization and prayer, name these obstacles to our own inner freedom and peace and offer them up to the transforming power of the fire of the Divine as we understand it. We can visualize placing these things into the sacred fire, watch the fire consume them and then witness release through the rising smoke and steam. Once the fire has consumed this object, we can then gaze into the sacred ash left behind through the process of alchemy and begin to be open to perceiving the seeds of new life that await beneath the coals for the moment of their germination, growth and maturation. What is learned is that by entering into the sacred fire, we are healed, transformed and tested for the new life that is just waiting to begin.