Remember to approach these exercises gently. If you feel that imagining something seems too big of a challenge for you at any point, simply focus on your breathing. The point of these exercises is not to get rid of anything, but to see what it’s like when we look at our lives from a different perspective.
A state of transition, a state of travel
Imagine that you are going on a long journey to some specific place. Take a moment to focus on where you want to go and for what purpose. At the same time, think about everything you are leaving behind. The people, places, things, your existing routine. Think about what you will need to take with you, concentrating above all on the personal traits you will need in discovering something new, rather than on objects. Perhaps there’s something you need to do before heading off, someone to meet with, something to say to them. Next, imagine your images of all these things slowly going pale, like in a previous night’s dream. Perhaps there’s some lingering kind of emotion, a sadness at parting ways, a fear of what’s to come; perhaps also some joy at what’s in store for you, a certain kind of freshness that appears in the present moment. A sense of freedom with respect to what remains unknown and unnamed, and therefore unrestricted. Focus more and more on the purpose of your journey, thinking about what it will be like when you get there.
While you’re imagining this, also note what it’s like to be en route, when you are between two points, unfettered by a day-to-day routine. Look at what it’s like to break away from one version of yourself, which may be caused by places, people, or a certain kind of activity. What it’s like to break away from what has become stale. Ask yourself also what you have learned about yourself during this trip.
Light and darkness
Imagine that you find yourself in a place with little illumination – perhaps it’s shrouded in fog, perhaps the sky is clouded over, perhaps it’s raining. Maybe there’s simply little light. Shadow. And while imagining that, think about what it’s like to be in such a place; how you feel there.
Then imagine the place slowly brightening up. As if the sky were opening, the clouds dissolving, light and sunshine appearing. Ask yourself how you feel now, what the difference was between these two kinds of experience; what it’s like to emerge from shadow, out of gloom, into an open, sunny space. While remembering that these experiences are always transient and ephemeral.
Translated by Daniel J. Sax