Desert Exploration: A Guided Meditation
After spending three days in the California high desert (Yucca Valley near Joshua Tree), I was inspired to create a guided meditation for you all. The sun is so bright out there—almost blinding without sunglasses—but the elevation, cool breeze and shade made it quite pleasant. In the surrounding area of where we stayed and at Joshua Tree National Park huge rock and boulder mounds, as well as Yucca Trees, Joshua Trees, and other cacti, succulents, and plant life dot the landscape. It’s a dry but rich oasis.
Tip: Use this guided meditation as intuitive preparation to a tarot reading on uncovering and working with your shadow.
To begin, find a comfortable place to sit with your tarot cards close at hand. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in counting to eight, hold it for a beat, and release it to a count of seven. Then move your breathing back to normal. Notice how your breath feels entering your lungs and stomach, and exiting through your nostrils. Take some time to focus just on your breathing, clearing away any thoughts entering your mind.
Continue to breath while you darken the visual space of your imagination. Shut your internal eyes and imagine that all you see is darkness.
Then, using only your imagination and without actually opening them, open your eyes and notice that you are standing on a path in the middle of the high desert. The sky is a deep, clear blue. Surrounding you is rough, pebbly, hard-packed sand dotted with small shrubs, spiky cacti and skeletal trees. A jack rabbit darts across your path, its tall ears translucent against the sun, and quickly hides within the shrubs on the other side of the trail. The sun shines brightly in your eyes, and on your face, your shoulders and arms. You can feel its warmth on your skin, cut only by a cool breeze that whispers through the sand. Take a moment and listen: what do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? Do you want to go further in, or do you want to get out?
You begin to walk, although you don’t know where the path leads, and whether you are moving further into the desert or out. Small pebbles crunch beneath your feet. The landscape begins to change when up ahead you see to the left of the path, a series of large rocks and boulders, a similar color to the sand you are walking on. As you walk, you keep your eyes on those boulders and allow them to come further into view. You pause to contemplate their size and shape. Grand round and oblong shapes stacked randomly yet securely on top of one another. You decide to step off of the trail to inspect the shapes further. Their grandiosity beckons you forward.
You make your way carefully around the cacti that dot the new path you forge, avoiding their menacing needles with each step. Then come face to face with the first boulder. You touch its textured surface and are surprised to find it so rough and uninviting. The first boulder leans into another behind it, which you soon notice connect to a series of boulders separated only by narrow gaps. You take time exploring this area, the shapes, the gaps. What does the temperature feel like now in the shade? Leaning against a rock? What new sounds appear or disappear? What shapes do you make out in the textures of the stone? What variations in color?
You wind around the final unexplored corner of the boulders and notice for the first time a deep cave dug into the crevice. The cave scares and intrigues you at the same time. What could be in there? Waiting for you? A snake? A scorpion? A spark of fear releases in your gut, making your stomach flip flop. A voice inside you tells you to back away and return to the fully exposed safety of the desert sand. But this fear—you want to confront it. You want to be bigger than it. You know you can transcend it. And so you squeeze yourself into the crevice, wedge your way sideways towards the opening. You duck your head to enter, take two steps, and then all is pitch black. The brightness of the desert has left you ill-equipped to see anything in the darkness. The blackness surrounds you like a heavy cloak. You remain absolutely still, waiting for your eyes to adjust to your new surroundings. Take a moment to notice what you feel now. Whether its fear, anxiety, curiosity, excitement. Sit with that feeling and allow it to move past you like a breeze, not able to take visual form, unable to penetrate the darkness.
And now, it is time to come out of the darkness. Open your eyes, allow them to adjust to your surroundings. Take a deep breath. Grab the tarot deck next to you. Shuffle it a few times, and then draw your cards.