This is a self-help exercise I developed recently. I call it ‘Land of the Heart’
It’s an exercise that involves the surrender of the small self that feels so much pain and anguish, especially at a time of national division, such as we have on both sides of the Atlantic, today.
It’s an exercise that addresses that feeling of helplessness that many of us are enduring as we watch our civilisations change. We have been raised in an age that encourages us to take responsibility for things. On a personal level, this is healthy; but when confronted with the kind of societal change we now face, we can become narrow and negatively focussed by thinking we should be making a difference. In truth, we can only make a difference to our selves.
But the power of that should not be underestimated…
This exercise involves packing all those troubles – many of which are imagined, for we are seldom in real pain or danger – into a little mental kitbag and carrying that ‘wrapped’ bag with us into the world – our daily world – in a very special way.
At this stage we don’t surrender those troubles, feelings or anguish; we just keep them wrapped. But we carry in our hearts a conviction that there is somewhere else they belong.
As we set off into our daily world, we think of that little kitbag, perhaps slung over our shoulder like the Tarot card of the Fool.
The Fool card, with its happy and ‘naive’ figure has different levels of significance. It would take a full blog just to provide an outline of them. It is the first of the Major Aracana of the Tarot and sits on the Tree of Life in a position that links the place of the Crown of consciousness with the place of the first emanation in the act of cosmic creation.
For the purpose of our exercise, the naivety of the supposed Fool is important. He has no fear of what lies ‘beneath’ him (or her) in the creation. This is because he IS the unfolding act of creation…
One more thing remains before we can take the walk of the Fool into the Land of the Heart. We need to find an old leaf, or a dead or dying flower… or something similar, that has experienced the glory of life, but is now fading… Its pattern remains, to show us something important; but a higher pattern that imprinted it has departed, to return to its pre-life potency.
Our final search is to find (or ask to be show) somewhere of great beauty. We need not be physically there, though that’s wonderful if it is possible. A photo of such a place works well, as does an abstract image. If the first photo in this blog moves you (as it did me) then feel free to have it and hold it.
We now have everything we need to carry out the exercise. In our minds we become the Fool in the Tarot card. Walking forward into our new day. We take the old leaf or flower and hold it in one of our hands, feeling love for the wonder of its life, but knowing that what it really WAS is gone… to become another IS.
Looking at the view or image of the place we have selected, we surrender our small self and the kitbag into the image of the eternal and constantly changing world of which we can only ever have a tiny amount of knowledge.
And then, crushing the remains of the leaf or flower, we return the pieces to the ground, to feed what needs to grow next, thinking of the Fool’s kitbag as we do so.
We have freed ourselves from the contents of the kitbag. We have embraced and surrendered the smallness of our personal self. In so doing we have become a living part of the Land of the Heart.
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit teaching school of modern mysticism that helps people find a personal path to a deeper place within their internal and external lives.
The Silent Eye provides home-based, practical courses which are low-cost and personally supervised. The course materials and corresponding supervision are provided month by month without further commitment.