Sunday, May 22, 2011
The Importance of Symbolic Images in Spiritual Practice
Symbolic images appearing have seemed to be a trend for me lately. Whether it’s finding a toad in the woods or seeing waterfalls during meditation, it has all come to a point that I cannot ignore any longer. These symbols mean something and are crying out for me to pay attention to them. They have a message. I need to listen.
The most recent block of time consisted of many images moving in and out of my head. Speculating how they were created was insignificant at the moment as the melodic tones flowed into my ears.
I found myself amidst the clouds. Images of painted angelic figures came to me as if I was watching Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. The clouds billowed up and over forming blankets of waterfalls. I had this sensation as if I was falling with the water while it was descending from the snow-like capped clouds. Yet another detailed pencil sketch of a woman appears with light bursting from her throat to the clouds. Dark Blue was the precedent color throughout. A dark blue flower showed on the canvas that was my imagination. I stood next to the stem of the flower with the blue pedals hanging over the top of my head like a weeping willow tree. The pedals were emitting rays of blue streaming from the ends of them. The rays fell upon every inch of my body. The dream-like state ended with an image of the side of a man’s head with the focal point being an ear.
I didn’t know what to make of the experience. I knew there was symbolic meaning behind the images, but was not sure where to start in researching such things.
A plethora of information is available to us to help us grow on this journey. Perhaps it is through a teacher, book, or even the internet. I did a small internet search to get an idea to what some of the symbols meant. First, I found that the color blue is associated with the 5th chakra (or throat chakra). Immediately, I saw the correlation between all the blue I was seeing and the sketch of the woman with light coming from her throat. Blue is also associated with good fortune, which brought me to think of my experience with finding the toad last week. Dark blue, specifically, is associated with wisdom, warmth, and decisiveness. I finally started to see the interconnectedness of all the symbols when I found that a dark blue flower represents infinity.
I feel that symbols will mean something different to everyone. I know it can be difficult to determine the validity of each resource when seeking outside help. This is why it is necessary to follow one’s own intuition about what meaning resonates with you most. Keep in mind that you already have the answers. It’s just a matter of finding the key buried in conditioning and being willing to open the door to see them.
I am still processing what the above images mean to me. I have realized the importance of allowing time for such experiences to integrate. Sometimes I know what the symbol means to me right away, but many times I need to let it settle into my being for a few days before I can begin to conceptualize them. I may not be able to define what a symbol means to me at the time, so it flows past me effortlessly. Nevertheless, allowing time for this process to occur is important as well as not creating an attachment to a particular outcome.
Although it is a nice feeling to have visualizations of symbolic images during meditation or dreaming, I feel it is important to be open to seeing these images while we are "awake." If we are aware enough, it does not take an overwhelming experience during meditation to appreciate the symbols that are put before us every day. Perhaps it is a lovely animal you notice on your next walk, a unique plant, or even a person walking down the street. These signs and symbols are everywhere. The only thing that is keeping us from seeing them is the unconscious state we allow ourselves to be in. You never know which dream will be flashing before your eyes, unless you bring awareness to the moment.
Susan started to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Creator four years ago when she was introduced to the works of Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power of Now" by Jim Tolles. Her life has been transformed in countless ways since then.