A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Soon afterwards, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace, he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, who made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant’s horse, he flees at great speed to Samarra, where he believes Death will not find him.
The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture to his servant. She replies, “That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
There are certain places that always never feel good to me. I feel a sense of unease when it’s quiet, and the busyness of life isn’t there to distract me. Something inside the lizard part of my brain tells me to be on guard.
Sometimes I’ll walk into a house and or building and pick up the negative juju the instant I step into a particular space. It also seems to stick around, and it’s not like burning a sage bundle will make it better.
There’s a deep channel of water on my daily swim that makes me swim a bit faster and breathe a bit deeper on every inhale.
There’s a corner of the lounge in the house where I grew up that never felt right to me. You wouldn’t catch me alone in the room with the lights out, and curtains closed.
I believe that feeling that sense of dread is like a phone ringing and telling me to pick up. Maybe instead of avoiding those bad juju places, I should hang around and let whatever it is that’s knocking settle in for a bit.
If you saw the Netflix show Stranger Things, then you’ll get my next analogy about the Void. The Void appears as a vast infinite expanse of black nothing abyss. It is entirely empty and black, except for the character Eleven herself and whatever or whoever she is trying to locate. Next time you meditate, close your eyes and imagine entering the Void within your mind. It’s entirely still and dark. Thoughts will appear in the distance. Observe then and then keep moving. If you get a freaked out, then open your eyes and start again.
This is a refuge inside of your mind, just for you. Your thoughts will still appear, but this isn’t their home, so let go as smoothly as they arrived.
Is there something or someone on your mind, something in the past or a problem you are working through that’s making you anxious? The following exercise won’t answer any specific questions you have or offer up a solution, but it will help you.
Take ten deep breaths through your nose and imagine a field. See it bathed in the late afternoon sun, or maybe it’s early morning, and you can feel the dew under your feet as the sun starts to warm up the ground. Feel the breeze on your face and take note of the different smells.
Now take the problem or memory that’s on your mind and release it into the field. It’s now standing in front of you. Sometimes it’s a person, an event or both. Let the sun shine on it and release it from your mind. Don’t try to solve the problem and don’t intellectualize it. It’s free to go. Give it up to the sun and the warmth of the field. If the person you’ve released wants to come back to you, then gently tell them they are free to go with your blessing and love.
That’s it. It’s an exercise in release and surrendering whatever you are holding onto the field and leaving it there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there – Rumi
Side note: It’s incredible how many people imagine a green field. It’s a little uncanny and cool.