"My voice is not that important. What's important is your inner experience," Dr. Hayden says.
I am sitting in a recliner chair. He is guiding me through a body scan.
"Your eyelids are becoming heavy, and the heavier they become, the more relaxed you become."
I invite the heaviness, but I don't force it. Part of me is feeling quite light and feathery, so I honor those sensations as well. And, as if on cue, with perfect timing and synchronization, Dr. Hayden mentions that I may feel a kind of lightness, so I am happy that he is validating the fullness of my experience.
"You may be so relaxed that your stomach starts to growl."
Just as those words are leaving his tongue, my stomach begins to growl vigorously. I smile in a subtle way, on the verge of chuckling. I must be susceptible to suggestion. Or did he merely have a premonition that my stomach was about to commence with an audible churning?
I'm not worried about it. I accept the coincidence as harmony and grace.
He begins with visualization.
I am standing on a sand dune on the beach looking out across the ocean. The sand dune becomes supernaturally larger and rises up into the sky. I love looking down from such a great height. My perception begins to acquire more of a limitless feeling. My mind is expanding.
Now is the time for me to come down from the sand dune and approach the shore. In order for me to reach sea level, I will walk down 10 steps. As I begin to descend, the first step is like a realm unto itself. It is a colorful square much larger than my body. I cannot merely step down it; I have to hop down, which fills me with joy. I play with the movement of my mental body and relish in the versatility.
There is no rush. We are taking our time on each step, and again, each step is noticeably different and soaked in various layers of consciousness. On about the third or fourth step, a memory of splashing around in a little plastic pool as a child intertwines with the scenery of the grand, amorphous staircase. By the time I have reached the seventh or eighth step, the spaciousness has increased pleasurably. I am nestled in a giant canyon that has a surface as smooth as a skateboarding bowl.
At last, I touch down upon the sand, and the sand merges with my feet. There is a white blanket waiting for me, and I lay down upon the silky fabric. The sand coddles me, and I sink down into the Earth. As I am sinking down, my eyes become level with the ocean. I pause there. Can I sink further down and drop below the surface? Yes, I can. I feel totally safe.
As I slowly drift inward towards the center of the Earth, everything becomes more transparent. I can peer clearly through land and water alike. Their boundaries are thin and holographic. Even a shark seems non-threatening.
From the center of the Earth, I fall asleep and enter a dream within a dream. I am now in an open meditation temple with no walls, somewhere in the jungle. There is an Asian aesthetic to the temple and landscape. I am meditating and uniting with pure bliss consciousness, beyond space and time. This is the "I am" presence. In some sense, this is the goal of enlightenment.
But I can't stay in the vast emptiness forever. I awake from the dream within a dream, and start walking along the beach shoreline. Soon, I encounter Mara is various forms—a female on the left, then a male on the right. Mara is the archetypal distraction and diversion from the path. I acknowledge Mara and dismiss the obstacles, then proceed forward to an elevated platform, where my chosen ideal is residing. Here, the primordial awareness from the temple has become manifest in practical accomplishments. These are the fertile relationships I am cultivating, personally and professionally.
Eventually, Dr. Hayden brings me back to waking consciousness. We begin to discuss the session, lucidly and cheerfully.
"I went to the center of the Earth," I say.
"Actually, you went to the center of the Universe," he clarifies.
My jaw drops a little lower, and I make some kind of triumphant sound. There is further discussion and affirmation between the two of us. I leave his office feeling fantastic. I am ready to engage life.
Dr. Hayden is the owner of Essential Balance Holistic Wellness Center in Tampa, Florida. Needless to say, I highly recommend his guidance.
Thank you for reading. Be still, and flow.