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Explanation of this Guided Experience
This experience orients one towards reconciliation with a person to whom one is negatively linked. If this reconciliation is achieved, the same technique can be used for less crucial reconciliations. Every enemy and resentment limits one’s current relationships and obstructs the future. Therefore the work of reconciliation with the past is of the greatest importance for personal development and effectiveness in everyday projects.
It is night, and I’m in an old city crisscrossed by canals that pass beneath timeworn bridges. Leaning on a railing, I gaze at the slow movement of the murky liquid mass below. Through the fog I can make out a group of people on another bridge, and I can faintly hear musical instruments that accompany voices sadly out of tune. Faraway bells toll to me in haunting waves of sorrow.
Now the group has gone and the bells have fallen silent. Down a narrow diagonal street, colored neon lights emit their sickly glow.
I move on, once again entering the fog. After wandering aimlessly down side streets and over bridges, I come out into the open space of an old square paved with tiles; the square seems empty, and the tiled surface draws me toward one end that is submerged in still water.
Ahead a boat that looks like a hearse awaits me. But to reach it, I must first pass between two long lines of women dressed in black tunics and holding torches overhead. As I pass they say in chorus:
Oh Death! Whose unlimited domain
Reaches the living wherever they may be,
On you depends the span allotted to our life.
Your endless sleep annihilates the multitudes,
For no one escapes your powerful presence.
You alone have the judgment that absolves,
And no art can prevail upon your fury,
Nor plea revoke your design.
I step into the boat, aided by the boatman, who remains standing behind me. Settling into the spacious seat, I notice that the craft rises slightly until we’re just above the water. Then we begin to move, suspended above an open and immobile sea that is like an endless mirror reflecting the moon.
We arrive at the island, and in the dim light I can see a long road bordered by cypress trees. The boat rests on the water, rocking gently, and I step out while the boatman remains behind, impassive.
I walk down the road between the trees, which sigh in the wind. I feel that I’m being observed, and I stop, sensing something or someone hidden up ahead. From behind a tree a shadowy figure beckons me with slow gestures. I begin to approach, and just as I reach it, a grave whisper like the sigh of death brushes against my face.
“Help me!” the shadow moans, “I know you have come to free me from this confusing prison. Only you can do this—help me!”
The shadowy figure tells me it is someone toward whom I bear a deep resentment. (*)
As though reading my thoughts, the voice adds, “It does not matter whether the person to whom you are bound by this most profound resentment is dead or alive, for the domain of dark memory respects no borders.
“Nor does it matter,” the shadow continues, “whether the hatred and desire for revenge have been knotted in your heart since childhood, or began only yesterday. Here time is immobile. This is why we are always lurking in the shadows, only to emerge again at any opportunity, transformed into your various fears. And these fears are our revenge for the poison we must continually taste.”
Just as I ask what I should do, a ray of moonlight faintly illuminates the figure’s cloaked head. Then the specter allows me to see it clearly, and I recognize the features of the person who has wounded me the most deeply. (*)
I tell the specter all about my resentment, expressing things I’ve never told anyone—I speak as frankly as I can. (*)
The apparition asks me to consider the problem once again, and to communicate everything that is important, even if my words are insulting. The shadow insists that I not fail to express any bitterness I feel, lest it remain imprisoned forever. So I go ahead and follow these instructions. (*)
The specter shows me a strong chain that binds it to a cypress tree. Without hesitating, I break the chain with a single sharp jerk. The cloak collapses and lies spread out on the ground as the shadow vanishes into thin air and the voice recedes toward the heights, repeating these familiar words: “I must be gone, for the firefly’s fading glow shows that dawn is near. Farewell, farewell. Remember me!”
Realizing that daybreak will soon arrive, I turn to go back to the boat, but first I pick up the cloak, which is lying at my feet. Draping it over my shoulders, I hurriedly retrace my steps. On my way back to the sea, several furtive shadows ask me if I’ll return someday to free other resentments.
Near the shore I see a group of women dressed in white tunics and holding torches overhead. When I reach the boat, I hand the cloak to the boatman. He in turn passes it to the women, and one of them sets it afire. The cloak flares up and is quickly consumed by the flames, without leaving a trace. At this moment I feel a tremendous relief, as though I’ve sincerely forgiven an enormous wrong. (*)
I step into the boat, which now looks like a modern speedboat. As we push off from the shore, not yet starting the motor, I hear the chorus of women say:
You have the power to awaken us from our stupor,
Uniting heart with head,
Freeing our minds from emptiness,
Removing darkness and forgetfulness from inner sight.
Come, beneficial power: True memory
That straightens life into its rightful meaning.
The motor comes to life just as the sun appears above the ocean horizon. The boat accelerates, and I look at the young driver, his strong clear face smiling toward the sea.
We approach the city swiftly, bouncing lightly on the smooth swells. The sun’s golden rays gild the magnificent domes of the city, while bright flocks of doves circle overhead.
Verify whether your resistances have been overcome in following the suggested images. Especially notice the sensations that accompanied the burning of the cloak. These sensations are the best indicators of whether some transformation of the negative feelings was produced. If the resistances were not overcome, repeat the experience.