Mirror of the Past
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.
In many of the group visualizations I have lead, I often use the image of a mirror to help people connect with their past selves. The reflection is a potent image of who we are as well as who we perceive ourselves to be. In this guided imagery, the reflection of your current self becomes a jumping off point for looking into the identity of past selves.
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 take yourself to a forest. This is a forest that is familiar to you, someplace very special. As you stand and look around, you can hear the breeze sighing through the leaves. Everything smells very fresh, very clean.
Before you is a path. It is a simple path, not twisting or rocky. It leads deeper into the trees. You have an overwhelming desire to follow it, to see where it goes.
You start on the path, going deeper into the trees. The wind sighs around you and the sound it makes through the branches is almost like waves rolling in from the ocean. It is a rhythmic, soothing sound, and you find yourself feeling perfectly at peace.
You move from sunlight to shade as the trees grow thicker around you. The path that you are following is clear up ahead, and then it disappears around a bend. As you follow the path to where it bends, you realize that it leads into a clearing. In the clearing is a structure. It seems very grand. You don't remember ever seeing it here, and yet every portion of it is familiar to you. There is something very special about this structure, and it reminds you of something in a very deep and unspoken way.
The path that you are on widens in the clearing, leading you directly to the foot of the structure. There are stairs leading upward to a great door. Something about the door makes it shimmer, catching reflections of the sun above.
Drawn by the familiarity of this structure, you move forward, following the path to the entryway. Once you are at the foot of the stairs, you stand looking up at the door. It still shimmers strangely in the sun. One by one, you climb the stairs to the entrance. Soon, you stand before the door and you see that it is covered by a mirror. This mirror is strangely cloudy, but as you peer into it, the mist fades away. You can see your reflection clearly, but as you study your form and your face, the mist moves in again, and everything starts shifting. Once more the mist clears, and you see your reflection, but now it is a different face. As strange as it may seem, you recognize that this face still belongs to you. The body is different, as are the eyes, and the hair. Yet it is all still familiar.
Once more the mist gathers, and once it clears, another face peers back at you. This one too is familiar. It is you, but not as you know yourself now. You realize that you are looking at shades of who you used to be, and somewhere behind this door, more visions belonging to these other selves can be found.
You reach out to touch the mirror, and discover that it is not glass. It is pliant and feels like very thick water. Your fingers break the surface, sending tiny ripples through the entire thing. There is slight resistance, but just beneath the surface, the liquid of the mirror is soothingly warm.
Curious, you pass your hand all the way through. It feels like you break through another surface, and you can feel open air on the other side. The substance of the mirror is only a few inches thick, though try as you might, you cannot see past your reflection to what lies beyond.
Knowing that there are answers just beyond the surface of this strange mirror-door, you take a deep breath and prepare to walk through. Boldly, you look deep into the eyes of your reflection, eyes that are at once yours and not yours. Then, with a final hesitation, you step into yourself.
The mists swirl around you, thick and strangely warm like the liquid of the mirror. Everything is grey for a few moments, and there is a sense of transition and timelessness. You hold your breath. Then you break through the surface like tearing through a membrane. At first, everything seems foggy and dim. You hear sounds, but they are indistinct and far away.
As the mist clears, you look down at yourself and realize that you are now exactly as you saw yourself in the mirror. This is not who you are in the present, but some "you" that you have been. You look around yourself and realize that you are surrounded by this person's past life. Places, people, everything is familiar. You hear someone calling your name. Driven by a need to explore this past life, you move forward to rediscover who you once were.