Visiting the Well of Release (A Meditation to Process Pain)

Visiting the Well of Release

A Meditation to Process Pain

by Melanie Fire Salamander

Okay, it’s that time of year again. I don’t know about you, but the  first part of the year, New Year’s through Valentine’s, way too often finds  me breaking up with someone. I hate it! You’d think I’d have figured out  how to avoid it by now. But the pain of leaving, or worse of being left,  never seems to get easier. All I seem to be able to hope for is a few more  tools for dealing with it.

Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid this pitfall, pain is all  around us. Life, as the Buddha said, is suffering. This is a bad time of  year for family pain, our having just gone through the holidays. The earth  lies fallow, exposing her wounds: building sites like open sores, old mines  and dumps, places whose ruin makes you weep. And it’s a dark time of  year, when during long nights and short dreary  days all the specific, personal drek we’ve avoided  in summer and fall can rise and engulf us.

Don’t let that happen! You can process pain. Not shove it, to find it  later, having grown runners to other, older pains, but truly process it — be in  it, feel it deeply, then let it go. It’s not a hasty process. Expect to do this  work over and over again. But each time you do, I promise you, you can and  will let go a little pain. It’s hard work, because to release the pain, I find,  you have to feel it again and know its roots, its causes, which usually go  back to sufferings of early life or even before. But if you’re willing to do  the work, you can heal.

Following is a meditation to help that process happen. In honor of  the season and of the goddess Brigid, I’ve built into the meditation an image  of a sacred, healing well, an image of this goddess, whose holy day Imbolc  or Candlemas is. To use this meditation, either record it on tape and play  it back or ask someone to read it to you. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Before starting, find a comfortable place where you won’t be  disturbed; take the phone off the hook and if necessary shut out your pets. If  you’re prone to falling asleep, try sitting up as you meditate, preferably on a  chair or against a surface that helps keep your back straight; alternatively,  you can sit cross-legged or in lotus position. If you have  problems relaxing, stretch out on a bed, couch or the floor.

The Meditation

Close your eyes, and begin to relax. Take a few deep breaths: in,  out; in, out. Feel your body, wriggle your fingers and toes, your nose, your  hips and arms; roll your head. Feel where your body ends and what’s around  you begins. Feel the air around you, the surface underneath you. Be here  now, present in your body, in the present moment. Feel yourself begin to relax.

Continue to breathe deeply, and begin to release the cares of your  day and week with your breath. Be completely here in the  present moment.

Throughout this meditation, you will have a complete, deep  experience, and you will remember everything you sense and learn. If you need to  return, you can always recall yourself to the physical world by moving your  fingers and toes. You will feel utterly safe and protected throughout.

Relax more fully still, and breathe deeply. Feel in the center of your  body, behind and below your belly button, a spark of life, your life, your  eternal fire. Feel that flame pulse with life. Let that flaming center send a  spark of energy downward, a liquid trail like molten fire, down through your  groin into your base and down into the earth. Feel this energy flow  downward, through the foundation of the building, down into the deep, wet,  cold earth, the soil, through hidden underground streams, cool water  slick on rocks, and below that into the solid rock of the earth’s mantle. Feel  the personal flame from your body push down through rock into the deep  core of the earth, the earth’s molten center, where all is fire as it is fire  inside you. Feel your own personal fire connect with the energy of the  earth, deep and red, the red glowing heart of the earth.

At the same time, feel a spark of energy flare upward from  the center of your body, up through your torso, through your neck,  through your head, through the top of your head into the air. Let this  energy flow upward through the air of the room, through the ceiling, through  the roof of the building into the cold air. Let the energy fountain up, up,  up, through the cold damp air, past clouds of rain and ice, up into the clear  sky above all clouds. Feel your personal fire energy connect with the fires  of the sky, the energy of sun and stars and moon, fiery, swirling sky energy.

Feel your deep energetic connections to both earth and sky,  tap into those connections and deeply feel them. Let sky energy begin to  flow downward into you, and at the same time let earth energy flow upward  into you. Feel the two energies combine in your center, swirling together  gently and cleanly, into one combined healing energy. Let this energy  flow outward from your center, filling your torso, filling your lungs and  throat, filling your head, filling your groin and pelvis, your legs and arms,  touching and washing away remaining tension, cleansing and healing. Let all  negative energy you can let go of flow with this wave out through your  grounding. Let negative energy, tension and pain and anger and everything you want  to let go of flow sweetly and cleanly down your grounding, into the  earth, which can reuse the energy for other things.

Now let a wave of sky energy come through you again, combine  with earth energy, and fill you, cleansing you, and wash away another layer  of negativity down your grounding. Release everything you need  to release. Keep any information you require, but release pain, tension,  fear and error with the cleansing, healing energy down your grounding.

And again, let another wave of sky energy come into you, combine  with the energy of earth, fill you and cleanse you, washing trouble and  pain away down your grounding into the earth. Feel your deep connection  to earth, and let trouble and pain wash into the earth. Keep any  information you require, but let all the pain you can go into the earth.

Feel yourself cleansed and sparkling, full of earth and sky  energy, and deeply connected to both earth and sky. Ground out any energy  you

don’t need into the earth.

Now imagine yourself at a stone boundary marker, standing beside  a gravel road. It is dusk, wintertime, and you are in farm country. The  landscape is wintry, with a light dusting of snow, the tree branches bare of leaves,  but you don’t feel the cold. Smoke rises from chimneys of houses here  and there, some far away on bare hills of cropped brown. The air smells  cold and of woodsmoke.

You turn and walk a while down this road. To either  side are fields full of stubble, tan. As you pass, crows rise  cawing. Far across a field, you see a lone scarecrow standing.

The road slopes gently down a hill, and you come into a small  wood. Tree limbs rise gnarled and black around you, shadowing the road.  A rabbit raises its head, brown against white shadowed snow, looks at you  a moment and bounds away.

You come out of the wood into a flat landscape, cropped fields to  either side behind board fences. You walk awhile, the scenery barely  changing, all in colors of brown and grey. The smell of the air changes, and  you realize you must be coming to a body of fresh water. Walking forward,  you crest a shallow hill and see before you stands of rushes around a large lake.

You continue forward on the road. The gravel stops, and you keep  going on an earthen path. Tall rushes stand at either side, the air brushing  through them, whispering. You push down the path through the rushes and  find yourself at a dock where a small rowboat is tied up, oars lying in  its bottom.

From here, at the lake’s edge, you have a clear view across. A band  of gold haze lies along the horizon, between long bands of  grey-purple cloud. The water is steel-grey, and in the center of the lake lies a  small island, crowned by a grove of birch trees. The island attracts you  strongly, and you decide to row out to it.

Knowing this is the custom of the place, you get into the boat, untie  it, and fitting the oars to the oarlocks begin to row. The island is not  far away, but it takes longer to get there than you think it will. The boat  moves slowly and dreamily through the twilit water. The twilight stays constant;  the sky does not get darker. This seems strange, but you feel perfectly  safe and protected, and you accept that twilight stays in this place.

You come to the island shore, step out onto gravel and pull the boat  up so it won’t float away, setting the oars in its bottom. The grey water,  tinged lavender in the light, laps the gravel shore. You walk toward the grove  of birch, and again though the trees don’t seem far away, it takes you longer  to get to them than you thought it would. Things move slowly in this place.  All around you lies dusk-purple light. Know that you will  remember everything you need to from this place.

You edge between two birch trees and come to the center of the  island. Here sits a stone well. Over the well hangs a weeping willow. The long  arms of the willow move gently in the air, rustling.

You see among the willow branches, sitting on the edge of  the well, a woman clad in sage-green. Her hair is  long, falling almost to the ground, and a very fair blonde,  or colorless, or grey — it’s hard to tell in the light.  She greets you and tells you that this is the Well  of Release, and she is its keeper.

You greet her with reverence. You know she is no ordinary person but  a goddess. (Pause briefly.)

She asks you what you would release, and you tell her.  (Pause briefly.)

She asks you to sit on the edge of the well, sit comfortably. When  you are seated, she asks you go deeply into the problem you would  release, saying she will protect you as you do.

You agree to her suggestion and begin to go into the problem in  your mind. See the problem in your mind. See pictures of scenes around  this issue, the people involved, the places. Take some time and bring the  problem you want to release fully into your consciousness and emotions.  (Pause for some time.)

Feel the emotions around the problem. Name these emotions. Be  in them. Avoid resisting them, but let them be present and flow through  you. Feel them fully. (Pause for some  time.)

The keeper of the well watches you, understanding fully  and protecting you as you do this work. When you have fully gone  into, recognized and felt the emotions around this problem, she nods  deeply and says she will give you something to hold this issue, a symbol or  object to contain this pain. She holds out her hands, and between them is  this symbol or object. (Pause briefly.)

You take it into your own hands. This symbol is a container and is  meant for your use, to protect you. You feel perfectly safe and protected.

She instructs you now to put the problem you want to release into  the symbol, to let flow into the symbol everything you need to let go. You  do so gently and fully, letting your emotions and memories and  thoughts flow into the symbol, keeping only that information you need and  letting go all pain into the symbol. (Pause for some  time.)

Once you have put what you need to into the symbol, the keeper of  the well cranks the well-handle and draws up the bucket. She instructs you  to put your symbol into the bucket, and you do. It goes easily, no matter  how big or amorphous it is, as if that’s  where it belongs. It disappears into the bucket.

Then the well-keeper lets the bucket back down into the well.  The Well of Release, she tells you, lets into an underground stream, a stream  that is able to change and break up pain and trouble and old blockages  and let energy go where it belongs. You look down into the well, and you  see the bucket hit the water, the dark water with just a ripple of light, see  the bucket go into the water, disappear into the water. As it does, you  feel released of your pain, you feel it gone. (Pause  briefly.)

Now the keeper of the well brings out a crystal decanter full of  water, and she motions you to stand in a silver-edged basin whose drain  feeds into the source of the well. “This is the cleansing Water of Release,”  she  tells you. You see the water in the decanter sparkle with its own  inner light. She pours the water over your head; it cascades down over you,  and you feel not wet but as if cleansing, healing energy were going  through you, washing away the last vestiges of pain and trouble, releasing the  last blocks and letting them pour downward into the  underground stream and into the earth. (Pause  for some time.)

The well-keeper smiles at you and says, “Now you are cleansed  and healed, and in token I give you a gift.” In her two hands she holds out  this gift, and you take it. You examine it, and she tells you what you need  to know to understand it. (Pause briefly.)

Know that you will keep the memory of this gift as you need  to, and all else that you need to retain.

Now you say your good-byes to  the keeper of the well and thank her. (Pause briefly.)

Leaving her, you pass out between the birch trees, and on the gravel  shore find the boat. You draw it toward the water and get in, push off with  your oar and slowly row back to the lake shore.

At the lake’s edge, you tie the boat to the dock, replace the oars in  the boat bottom and, turning, walk back through the rustling reeds along  the path. You pass through the reeds to the long flat land, the road with  brown fields on either side, and into the dark wood. You notice that it has begun  to get dark. But it is a reassuring darkness, a warm and  protective darkness, a blanket drawn over the land that lets it sleep.

You pass under the black, gnarled branches and out of the dark  wood, and you walk up the slope of the hill, looking at the cropped fields on  either side. You greet the scarecrow and the crows that rise from the fields to  caw at you. You continue along the gravel  road, the landscape getting darker around you, and you find yourself  back at the boundary marker from which you started.

You settle down beside this marker. All around you darkness  falls, comfortable, comforting and calm. Know that you will  remember everything you need to from this meditation. You will keep  everything you need to keep.

You begin once more to feel your body. You are coming up from  trance, feeling warm and relaxed yet energetic. Feel your body; wiggle  your fingers and toes. Feel the surface below you and the air above.  Retain in your mind everything you want to remember from this meditation.

Feel yourself present in your body, present in the here and  now. Notice your breath; feel yourself draw breath deep into your lungs and let  it go. You feel present and calm yet full of warm energy.

Breathe deeply once more, and open your eyes.