A Guided Visualization
Sit somewhere comfortable, with your feet touching the floor, and your spine as straight as possible.
Turn off any distractions- cellphone, t.v., radio, etc. Instrumental music, especially nature sounds could help, otherwise opt for silence.
Let your eyes go soft, focusing only on the words before you, but letting everything else blur into the background.
Follow your breath in, pause, and then slowly let it go. Pause again before taking the next breath. Continue to focus on your breathing until it has calmed to a slow, deep intake and exhale.
Listen for the beating of your heart. Let your breath and heartbeat become the signals to keep you on track. If you lose focus, find them again, and continue.
Imagine you are standing in the middle of green, open space, on a beautiful warm, sunny day. Close your eyes if you need to and see the vibrant colours that surround you. What do you see?
As you breath, imagine you can smell the freshness of the air, the sweet aroma of the grass. Is there a hint of flowers in the air?
Listen, or remember, the sounds of nature. What does it sound like?
Do you have tastes you associate with this scene? Memories from carefree summer days?
Feel the earth below your feet. Imagine the warmth of the sun on your skin, and a gentle breeze caressing you.
Now bring your awareness to a big, old tree not far from where you are standing. Bring the tree closer until you are standing under its branches and can reach out and touch the bark, feeling its roughness. Imagine you stand with your back to the tree, leaning into it. What would it feel like to let this tree fully support you? Can you feel its strength? Be with the tree a moment and let yourself relax more deeply. Give over all your stress and burdens.
As you surrender, imagine that you can feel the life pulse of the tree. Imagine you hear it as a heartbeat and that your heart beat are one.
Now allow yourself to become the tree.
As you breath, notice that you have roots that extend deep into the earth. Breath into them, feeling the cool soil and nutrients that nourish you. Breath deep into the knowing that the earth supports you, that you part of a larger eco-system. Notice how your roots make you feel grounded and fully present.
Notice also that you have branches that reach up towards the sky and bend with the breezes. Remember that you change with the seasons, sometimes letting go and sometimes blossoming, sometimes basking in the glory of your fullness. Notice how this knowledge feels in your body.
As the tree, find your center: the place that feels both grounded and expansive; strong yet calm; rooted with heightened awareness. Breathe into this center and feel the energy flow outward, to the tips of your roots and branches.
Spend as much time as the tree as you need, and when you are ready, bring that feeling of centeredness back with you.
To return to normal consciousness, become aware once again of your breathing. Follow it in and out. Then feel your body in the chair and your feet on the ground. Slowly begin to move your fingers, your feet, your head, until you feel yourself returning – refreshed and renewed.
Note: The image of the tree as a tool for centering comes from Dora Kunz’s teaching. Dora says once we have mastered the visualization, it is easy to recreate the feeling just by looking at a tree.