The Crypt of the Forgotten
Written by: Michelle Belanger
These exercises are the most requested when I appear before various groups. The following are some of my favorite exercises. Nearly everyone who has heard these performed has met with some success.
The best way to perform the exercises is to print them out, then read them into a tape. Play this back while meditating and follow the visualization in your mind. Be sure you speak slowly and clearly into the tape recorder so the visualization will be clear when you play it back. You may also want some low music playing in the background to help cover up any extraneous noises that might otherwise distract you. When I perform the exercises for myself or for other people, I typically prefer lowering the lights and I also light some incense to heighten the more-than-ordinary mood.
We often react to traumatic experiences in our current life by intentionally forgetting the incident. The same can happen with incidents in past lives whose content is traumatic or disturbing to us. This guided imagery is intended to help you unearth repressed memories. One word of caution, however: if you've repressed material, there is usually a reason for it, so don't try to open closed doors unless you are prepared to wrestle with the emotional monsters that lurk behind them.
You are now completely relaxed, and your senses are turned inward to a point of perfect clarity. From this perfectly focused state, I want you to envision yourself standing in a wind-swept field. The skies are grey above, and the grass is dull and yellow, flattened by the wind. Here and there are outcroppings of rock, grey fingers of stone pointing up to the grey skies.
A trail seems to lead away from you through the flattened grass. It winds around, disappearing between two particularly large formations of rock. It is clear the trail has not been walked recently, but even so you think you can follow it well enough.
Bracing yourself against the wind, you head down the trail, toward the large formations of rock. The wind is harsh here, sighing and moaning as it whips around the rocks. It is a sad sound, reminding you of something lonely and forgotten.
You follow the trail past the two formations of stone. They seem to stand like gates to something. Not far beyond the stones, you see an opening in the ground. Bending to push away some grass, you see stairs going down. The stairs are carved from the same kind of stone as the rocks you just passed. A scent wafts up from the opening, and it is strangely, achingly familiar. You realize there is something down there, and it is something you need to see.
The stairs are narrow, and they disappear into total darkness. You experience a momentary sense of foreboding, but something tells you that you can make it down safely.
You take a deep breath and, steeling yourself, you begin the descent. The stairs are just wide enough for you to go down. On either side of you, walls of stone stretch up, and you run your hands along these, using them to steady yourself. As you descend, the grey light from above becomes even greyer. Then it fades away entirely. For a little while, you are moving in total darkness, finding each step by feel alone and holding onto the walls in case you stumble or fall.
After you have gone on a little way, you begin to see a dim light beneath you. A few more steps, and this light is close enough that you can see the bottom. The stairs end and you are standing in a subterranean hallway floored with tightly packed earth. There is a dim light all around, just enough to see by, although you cannot see its source.
The hallway leads away from the stairs and curves slightly to the left. That strange, familiar scent comes to you again, and it seems to originate from down this hall. Cautiously, you follow it, knowing there is some discovery waiting for you.
The hallway opens into a crypt. There is a sarcophagus before you, carved of dark stone. Its heavy lid is scribed with words and images you cannot quite discern. Several others like this one are arranged throughout this room.
You are not frightened. There is something here you must see, and instinctively you realize that it is something you have buried and forgotten. That familiar scent is all over in here, and you can almost identify it now, but it remains just out of the reach of memory.
You approach a sarcophagus and try to read what is inscribed on its lid. There is a layer of dust and dark grime obscuring the letters. You wipe this away and can just make out a name. The letters are strange, but the name is familiar. It is a name you have been known by, a name from another life. There is something in that life you have forgotten, something that you have hidden away. And you realize that it is buried here, and that this crypt is somehow your crypt, a place where you bury memories you do not want to see.
And yet you feel ready now. You feel confident and strong. You know these things can no longer hurt you. They are but shadows, and you are in control. Firm in this, you push away the lid.
At first you see only darkness within. Then something rises up suddenly and grabs you. You are startled but not frightened. You recognize that this is only another part of you, a part you have buried. It pulls you in, and you find yourself in that place, in that time, in that moment that you had buried there.
You have become the self whose name was on the lid. You are not afraid. You are strong now, and there are things here that must be seen and accepted. You can feel the shadow-self you had imprisoned guiding you, whispering to you, telling you what you need to learn. You follow the instructions, and this time you will not look away.