This is Scruffy my bear. He is a symbol, but nonetheless is very real. I’ve had him for 16 years and he’s become a bit like the Velveteen Rabbit. In the late ‘90s I attended a guided imagery session. In my trance-like condition a bear appeared to me as a totem animal and carried me upon his strong back.
After the session I was in a retail shop that sold various merchandise. I saw this stuffed bear and immediately tears came to my eyes. There was a sudden strong connection with my inner child, to those parts of me that were scared, uncertain or just needed comfort.
I would like to lead you on a short snippet of guided imagery today.
I invite you to relax and become aware of your breathing. Breathe and relax. Choose a comfortable, balanced posture. Breathe and relax. Your physical and emotional and spiritual selves have a lovely symmetry. Breathe and relax. Lower your eyelids if you wish. Breathe and relax.
You find yourself within a gentle environ of Nature. You may be in a meadow filled with fragrant spring flowers. You may be in a forest with late afternoon sunrays piercing down obliquely through the canopy. You may be walking along a brook which speaks softly to you in a language you cannot quite remember. Perhaps you are aware of the rising sun over canyon walls or a sunset over a snow dusted desert vista.
Wherever you find yourself, be there. Breathe in the richness of Nature.
You realize you are on a path. You move along it smoothly, fully alive. You are dressed perfectly for the weather. You feel one with your surroundings.
You become aware that you are not alone, that there is another gentle presence nearby. A moment later you smile at the creature who is sharing your journey with you, perhaps on all fours or gliding along on wing. There is a shared sentience that is comforting and exciting at the same time. Another moment and you are on the creature’s back, being borne as naturally as can be.
As your body easily moves with this animal guide, you begin to sense a radiance that is part thought and part feeling emanating from the creature directly into you.
You come to a spot that contains something for you to experience. There may be a small cave, an old steamer trunk, or a simple widening of the path. Be mindful of what you see, hear, smell, feel, and even taste in that spot. Let it be drawn into your awareness, into your memory.
Then smoothly return on the back of your animal to that initial gentle environ of Nature. Be aware once more of your breathing, then gracefully return to the here and now. Breathe and relax. Open your eyes. Later today or this week you will remember your animal guide and you will remember what you saw in that secret place. Meditate on those symbols. Be wise. Have courage and be kind.