Descent. V1

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Explanation of this Guided Experience

Problems you may have in descending or moving downwards may be related to physical difficulties, particularly in breathing. If you have no physical difficulties of this type, problems in descending may be related to past accidents in which you were locked in, choked, asphyxiated, etc. If none of this applies in your case, then resistances to descending reveal fear of remembering and reconstructing the past. These resistances may also reveal anxiety that certain impulses may get out of control. These impulses are generally obsessive ideas or feelings and compulsive attitudes that force us to do things we do not wish to do.

Guided Experience

We’re in a boat at anchor on the sea. We begin to hoist the anchor, only to discover that it’s caught fast. Telling my companions I’ll go see what’s wrong, I climb down a short ladder and enter the calm water.

Diving down, I see a school of small fish, the hull of the boat, and the anchor chain. I swim over to the chain and begin using it to pull myself down.

I notice that I can breathe normally, and continue to follow the chain down until I reach the dimly lit bottom. Here I find the anchor, but it’s entangled in some metal wreckage. Grasping the chain, I pull sharply upward and see the bottom give way, raising a hidden cover to reveal a square opening. Entering the opening, I continue going down. (*)

I swim deeper and deeper until I feel a cold underwater current, and I swim in the direction of the current. After a while I come to a wall that is covered with patches of seaweed. Staying close to the smooth surface, I float upward, and notice that everything is becoming lighter. (*)

I emerge in a pool of water within a dimly lit cavern. Climbing out onto a kind of platform, I take a few steps and discover a stone stairway. Cautiously I begin to descend the stairs.

I see burning torches placed at regular intervals along the small passageway, which becomes even narrower as I go down the slippery steps. The stairs are almost vertical, and the air feels humid and suffocating. (*)

Now I come to an iron gate that blocks my way. I push against the rusty bars and the gate creaks open. Here the steps end and now there is only a muddy ramp. As I pick my way down the slick surface, a dank tomb-like odor fills the air. (*)

A sudden gust of wind threatens to extinguish the torches. At the bottom I can hear the roar of an angry sea crashing against the rocks. I begin to have doubts that I’ll ever be able to get back.

Whistling loudly, the wind blows out the bottom torch, and I set out to climb back up, resisting my rising fears.

Slowly I ascend the muddy ramp until I reach the rusty gate—but again I find it is closed. Pulling open the gate, I wearily continue climbing the nearly vertical stairs, while behind me the torches keep going out. The stone stairs become increasingly slippery and I must step carefully.

At length I reach the cavern. I step onto the platform and submerge myself in the pool of water, just as the final torch is extinguished.

It is pitch black. Brushing against the smooth, seaweed-covered surface, I descend into the depths once more. (*)

Feeling the cold current, I swim against it with great effort. (*)

I escape the current, and swim upward until I encounter a stone ceiling—then I search in every direction to find the square opening. (*)

At last I find the opening, and swim upward through it. Freeing the anchor from where it is caught, I plant my feet on top of it and pull on the chain to alert my companions.

I ride up on the anchor as they hoist it from above. While I’m rising toward the surface, I observe a fascinating rainbow of ocean life, and all around me the underwater space grows lighter.

Finally I reach the surface. Letting go of the anchor chain and grasping the ladder of the boat, I climb aboard to the cheers and greetings of my friends. (*)


Observe whether the same resistances that appear in the experience are repeated in your everyday life. If the difficulties have been overcome during this experience or later repetitions, then face situations in your everyday life in which the old problems would appear to check how much progress has in fact been obtained.

Soundmanager2 © 2007 Scott Schiller -

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