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Imaginative Pictures in Meditation – the Two Roads

We live together, whether we like it or not.  Can we open ourselves to this challenge and break out of self-enclosed ignorance and indifference, fear and greed?  To do this seriously is to come up to hard places… Such openness requires work.  Can I renounce a way of looking at things that may no longer be helpful or accurate?

Robert Magrisso, Renouncement: an Old Idea for a New World

The Affective Meditation is a fundamental practice in Cafh which draws its force from an imaginative picture that the meditator develops to work on a chosen theme.

The meditation theme “The Two Roads” helps us to renounce old ways of reacting so that we will be free to create new habits.  The meditator invokes the Divine Mother’s help and then creates an imaginative picture: she sees herself in a situation where there are two clear possibilities, and she distances herself from the one she wants to leave behind.

Reflections on the theme "The Two Roads" by a group of Cafh members.

  • The Two Roads is such a powerful image! Every moment is a crossroads. This is where “the rubber meets the road” in all decision-making. Can I leave my burdens and baggage behind? Can I begin to commit to renouncement?
  • How will I choose with consciousness? How will I disattach from unconsciousness, old habits, selfishness – and move toward the true path I have chosen? How will I negotiate this moment of awakening? Will I take a deep breath? What I think or do in the split-second at the crossroads makes all the difference.

Imaginative pictures that Cafh members created to help themselves understand they have a choice:

  • When I remain stuck in old habits and the comfort of familiarity, I am living in a cocoon. I break open the cocoon and emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
  • I am on a hiking trail. I have to jump over a narrow but very deep gap to get to the other side. I have to leave the secure and familiar and take a leap onto a path less traveled.
  • I come to a fork as I walk through the woods. One path is through familiar, habitual territory. The other is more unknown and spiritual. By staying at the crossroad, I can see both the empty, unhealthy side of old habits (as well as what makes these habits tempting) and I get glimpses of the possibilities of taking the more unknown path.

The Seeds article The Affective Meditation provides a fuller description of this practice which helps us make new pathways in our minds and create ways of thinking that will help us unfold.