Guided Meditation for Potential

The silhouette of trees against sky, with reflected lights

I invite you now into a time of meditation. You may wish to adjust your position: your feet flat on the ground, your body resting easily against the back of the chair, your hands gently open, palms up, resting on your thighs, your eyelids relaxed and half-closed, your breathing soft and easy.


The day has been muted and grey, the sun hidden behind a scrim of clouds so diffused they seem like the underside of a gauze canvas draped across the sky. The air, neither cold nor warm, is damp against your skin. You find yourself near a grove of pine trees: loblollies and larches, hemlocks and Austrian pines standing off to the side, slightly removed from the path you're on, the direction you're heading. The someplace else you're supposed to be. [Short silence] Step off the path for a few minutes. Find a spot under one of the trees and settle in.


Notice the patterns in the bark of the branches. Furrowed and flaky, bark peels away incrementally from the limbs, like a chrysalis rupturing as new life expands and cracks its protective shell. The needles, dark green and stiff in mid-stretch, are each tipped with a fat bead of moisture, drops of water not yet dense enough to free fall to the earth. As your gaze softens and sharpens, you notice droplets of water are also clinging to the underside of the branches. How long, you wonder, has it taken this tree to collect the water from the damp air around it?


The air is still, still enough to hear the water collecting on the trees. Still enough for you to hear the infinitesimally small sound of a wafer of bark lifting another micron of itself away from the trunk. [Short silence] Inside you there is a chrysalis ready to expand and crack open, sheltering possibilities and potential, glistening with promises. Soften and sharpen your gaze. What do you see? What is the newness that has taken root in you? How will you nurture it?


In the distance, you hear the wind as it sighs toward your tree. In an instant, you are showered with crystalline beads of water twirling free from their embrace of the tree. The branches lightly flex themselves and settle back into place, open, receptive to whatever may next collect along their ridges and grooves. A nuthatch, intently focused and goal oriented, flits to a spot high on the tree trunk and starts nosing around. A small shard of bark peels off, falling at your feet. [Silence]

Now, take a deep breath. Take another, and open your eyes, your feet flat on the ground, your body resting easily against the back of the chair, your hands gently open, palms up, resting on your thighs.

[Short silence]

Note: since this meditation's depth arises from its frequent silences -- about 30-60 seconds each -- make sure you allow enough time so that you can guide it without rushing.