In his guided meditations Jonathan uses rich visual imagery, perhaps with even a bit of neuro linguistic programming, to paint vivid mental pictures. In those days his meditation programs came on audio tapes; today they're on CD or via .mp3 downloads. Each of them had extraordinary production quality with unearthly music to gently accompany Jonathan's voice as he led us into profound states of what he calls "the stillness." I would describe the stillness as the "space between thoughts" the mindfulness folks talk about. It's the silence you experience once your thoughts slow down and the ever-playing radio station that is your everyday mind goes off the air for a little while. Jonathan would then fill that stillness with his incredible guided programs. Far better than watching a movie, he immersed me in experiences I could never have imagined. Great learning and what fun!
Imagine! You're floating in infinite space, completely safe and secure when you see a brilliant white light at the very center of the universe. You begin accelerating, far beyond the speed of anything, zooming toward it, approaching ever closer until you're completely enveloped, embraced, sheltered and enclosed in the light. That light is pure Love. Incredibly peaceful music plays quietly in the background and you simply bask and "be" in that Love for a while. Later, on ending the meditation under Jonathan's gentle guidance, you carry with you the remembrance of that Love, of the rich experience. It adds new dimensions of understanding to your life. I can still visualize and vividly relive that particular meditation even 20 years later.
Another of Jonathan's meditations used the image of a box into which we put certain things -- thoughts, judgments, fears, etc. -- so the box could be sealed up and then immolated in a powerful laser-like beam of energy, thus relieving us of those undesirables forever. I've also experienced the box technique during sessions with a hypnotherapist. It seems to be a practical, easy-to-understand image we can all relate to and use to separate our undesirables from the rest of our thinking minds.
And so in these days and weeks, as the Course continues unfolding itself into my mind, Ken Wapnick has taken his turn in reminding me of a special kind of box. He talked in a July, 2012 video about how the entire ego thought system can be placed into a box. (It's a great video, one of my favorites. The discussion of the box comes in at about 5:38 minutes).
Putting the ego thought system into a box makes a lot of sense to me. It allows me to put a boundary around it. It helps me visualize the ego mind as something that has borders. It shows me that what seems to be me can easily be corralled, contained and circumscribed by a few lines. And if all that is true, then putting the ego mind into a box gives me a way to set it aside in favor of the Right Mind.
The Course talks endlessly about choosing again for the Right Mind. Gary Renard and others talk about "undoing" the ego. Having this wonderful magic box that I can place my ego mind into and draw borders around gives me a new "tool" to use in the undoing. At certain moments throughout the day an ego thought pops up and I can immediately recognize it as coming from within that box. Thatrecognition makes it all the more easy to see the Right Minded way of thinking about the event, person or situation that triggered the particular thought.
Having that box imagery diminishes what has always seemed to be an unfettered, rambling, independent, autonomous ego thought system. The box has edges. Borders. It's finite in size. I can even imagine shrinking the box to, say, just a few millimeters in size.
Then, to finish this story, I continually recall Liz Cronkhite's advice to speak to the Holy Spirit, to spend time with God each day and to adopt the Four Habits for Inner Peace. From the Song of Prayer I've learned that prayer is expressing thankfulness for what we are, for what God has given us. And from experience I know that meditation is listening for the words He shares with us.
So...the steps in undoing the ego are making more sense than ever before. None of us can draw a schematic diagram or a simple how-to that shows exactly how to undo the ego and live in one's Right Mind. But if I tried it would look something like this:
- See the ego in a box as Ken Wapnick suggests.
- Spend time in prayer each day using the Song of Prayer as your guide.
- Spend time in meditation each day, listening for guidance.
- Actively talk with the Holy Spirit as if It were your therapist; ask for Its guidance in all things as Liz suggests.