All posts tagged temptation

Parley with the Adversary: Meeting the Temptor

Published October 16, 2011 by Susan Woodward

Close your eyes and relax.  Now take three deep breaths: one for body, one for mind, and one for spirit.  Take one last very deep breath and hold it.  Just when you think you cannot hold the breath any longer, pull in just a bit more air.  Again, when you feel as if you cannot continue holding the breath, pull in just a little more.  When you finally do release your breath, do so very slowly in a long continuous exhale until you have released all that you were holding.  Breathe slowly and deeply as you continue to relax.  Relax all the muscles of your body: your legs, your arms, your shoulders, and your jaw.  Completely relax.

Imagine that you are sinking down into the furniture, and in turn sinking through the floor.  Allow yourself to continue sinking down and down, all the while feeling completely relaxed.   You continue to sink down until you find yourself curled up, awakening upon a pile of blankets in the center of a moving raft.  Looking up, you find your guide is looking at you, as if to ask if your rest has been adequate.  The last thing you remember was getting on the raft after pointing out which direction your guide should take on the underground river.

Up ahead, you see that the river is exiting from the cave.  At last!  You’ve been led out of the subterranean dimness!  As the raft floats closer to the exit, you feel more and more excited to see the sun once more.  The cave becomes brighter and brighter as you approach, and your eyes are having difficulty in adjusting to the light.  Squinting, you look ahead to try to catch a glimpse of the world beyond the cave.  What are you feeling as you finally leave the darkness?

Look around and take in your new surroundings.  The river seems to flow onward.  Describe the new setting.  Is it a tropical jungle?  A forest?  A flat plain? Where is this river leading you?

You turn to ask a question of your guide and find that he/she has disappeared.  You are left alone on the raft.  At first you begin to panic, but then you remember that your guide has given you a map.  Pull it out of your bag and look at it.  Try to figure out where you are in relation to the red star that marks your goal.  How far do you have yet to travel before arriving?

Look around for landmarks.  What do you see that can give a clue to your whereabouts as they relate to the map?

While you are looking around, you notice that a loaf of bread and some fruit are lying on the blanket.  Your guide has left food for you.  Not knowing how long it will be before your next meal, eat only enough to satisfy your hunger and put the rest into your bag.

Look again at your map.  In order to get to your destination, will you be staying on the raft and traveling by water?  Or will you have to leave the raft to move inland?  Wherever you need to go, be sure to follow directions carefully.  You do not want to get lost.

Following your chosen course, you move along for several hours.  For the most part, they have been uneventful.  Describe the landscape through which you are moving.  What is the path like?  Does the river twist and turn, or is it a straight course?  If you are on land, what is the terrain like?  Pay attention to specific details no matter what course you are on… the details hold meaning for you.  Look at the specific types of plants or trees you may see.  What sounds do you hear?  Is there any animal life?  Birds?  All of these things mean something as part of your journey.

Reaching into your satchel, you withdraw a booklet and a pencil which you’d found when exploring the cave.  They were part of the items left laying around that you’d picked up.  Make a list of all the specific items you see so that you can think about their meaning later.

While you are writing, a slight breeze begins to blow.  It feels cool and refreshing against your cheek.  Close your eyes and let it play with your hair, tossing it in the breeze.  Turn your face upwards toward the sun and allow it to warm you.  Suddenly, out of the breeze you hear a soft whisper.  It is the sound of your name on the wind.  Before this, you’d felt caressed by the breeze, but now there is a chill developing.  The sound of your name comes to you again, bringing with it another chilling zephyr.

Looking around, you try to find the origin of the voice.  Where does it seem to be coming from?  Is it ahead of you, or behind you?  Or is it to the right or left of you?  Does the sound seem to come from above or below?  Try to figure out where the voice is coming from.

When you determine the direction, what do you intend to do?  Do you wish to follow the sound?  Or do you try to ignore it and move forward?  What feelings are going through you as you think about your decision?

Ultimately, because the sound of your name is insistent, you decide to find the origin of the voice.  Turn towards the sound and move in that direction.  As you step closer and closer, notice that the air becomes colder and colder.  The sound becomes louder.  At first it seemed like a beckoning, but now it is more of a command.  Even so, you decide to continue to move toward it.  You have completely abandoned your path in an effort to satisfy your curiosity about finding the owner of that voice.  What does it sound like?  Describe its pitch and intensity.  Does it sound like someone you know?  Or is the voice new to you?

Coming around a bend (either on the terrain or on the raft), you see someone off in the distance.  Describe what you see.   Do you know this person?  Who is it?  If you do not know the person, who do you suppose it might be?  What do you think he/she wants with you?

Come close to the person who has called to you.  The air is very cold now as you stand there face to face.  How are you feeling?  What thoughts are going through your mind as you look quietly at one another?

“Where are you headed?” the person asks.  Tell him/her where you are going.  “Why do you want to go there?  Nothing awaits you in that place!  Why not come with me?”  What goes through your mind at the offer?

You recognize that this person is an adversary and not a guide.  How is it that you know this?  What feelings or thoughts bring you to this conclusion?  Although you realize his/her adversarial status, you do not feel afraid.  He/She merely looks at you quietly.  This is not a confrontation, but a sizing up of the one that must be resisted for you to continue.  Looking into his/her eyes, what do you see there?  The eyes are the window of the soul, and it is often there that you can find a person’s true intent.  What is it you see in your adversary’s eyes?  Is it anger? Jealousy? Resentment?  What resides there that might make this person attempt to keep you from moving toward your goal?

Once you recognize his/her motivation, it makes it easier to resist.  He/She extends his/her hand to you.  What do you do?  This person wants you to follow his/her path instead of your own.  How does that make you feel?  He/She smiles at first, continuing to whisper your name.  He/She backs slowly away but with hand outstretched toward you.  Resist the temptation to go with him/her.  Remember, he/she has questioned your journey and has told you that nothing awaits you there.

Breathe deeply and think about your inner hero.  Will following this person best honor your inner hero?  Although you want to hear advice from that inner voice, nothing comes.  You must make the decision yourself, trusting what is right for you.

You put your hands in your pockets because of the chill in the air.  When you do, you feel something in your right hand pocket.  Taking it out, you notice that it is one of the items you picked up inside the crystal cavern.  What is it?  What can you use it for?  Just seeing this object helps you to find the necessary courage to walk away.

You begin to back away, and your adversary barks out your name.  The friendly smile has vanished and is replaced by a hard, cold expression.  Feeling your courage rise, stand and face your adversary, looking him/her square in the eye.  You will not be tempted, or bullied, or made to feel guilty about following the path that is right for you.  Hold tight to the object in your right hand.  It seems to fill you with courage.  Each person has his/her own path to follow, including your adversary.  Maintaining that eye contact, bow your head slightly to show respect for him/her, but let him/her know by your facial expression that you choose to return to your own path.

In frustration, your adversary turns on his/her heel and stalks away in the other direction.  You, too, turn to go back toward your path.  As you walk away, you hear on the winds, “We shall meet again.”  What are your feelings as you hear these words?

Even though you keep checking over your shoulder, your adversary is not following.  Find your path once more.  Is it the river?  If so, return to your raft.  If you were on the terrain, face the direction of your goal.  In either case, take a deep breath and feel a sense of accomplishment in resisting the temptation to leave your chosen path.  However, you are emotionally drained and physically tired.  Sit for a moment and refresh yourself with the food that you saved from your breakfast.

Confident that you are safe in this place, make a bed for yourself either in the middle of the raft, or along the side of the trail.  In either case, you are comfortable and warm.  You have your garment of protection that will keep you safe as you sleep.  After first stretching full length, curl up into a comfortable position and prepare to nod off.  Take a deep breath and feel yourself drifting away into the darkness.  Soon you begin to feel yourself rising from the soft blankets.  As you rise, you become more and more aware of your surroundings, and soon you are able to sense the furniture beneath you.  This is the room from which you began this journey not so very long ago.  As you become more and more aware of the room around you, you think about how your adversary and how you’d managed to resist him/her.  The image of his/her face and feelings you had at meeting him/her will stay with you as you awaken from your rest.

Taking three deep breaths, one for body, one for mind, and one for spirit, you open your eyes to find yourself in a familiar place.


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