I felt a surge of excitement as I walked in the warmth of the sun down a dirt trail in the Monte Bello Preserve, looking ahead at how the trail led down into a canyon of trees. I sat down on the trail facing the green treetops and the surrounding hills to take it all in. My intention was to discover the spiritual essence of the land here at Monte Bello and to connect to it in a meaningful way. For me, this usually happens best by way of meditation.
It had been a long journey of two trains, a bus, and a car ride to reach this location, and I was feeling a bit of stress and tension in my body from my travels. I observed many people along the way and wondered how many of these people experience a life that acknowledges the spiritual world? I presumed that many do not, simply because it is not something they can reach out and touch. Perhaps it does not seem “real”. But that does not mean it is not there, existing alongside the physical world.
As I sat on the dry sunlit trail, the rambling thoughts in my mind kept running around like fruit flies buzzing around my head. I tried to swat them away, but it was pointless. I took some deep breaths in and out and tried to let the thoughts in my head just be there rather than attempting to push them away. I focused on my breathing and going beneath the thoughts, letting the thoughts hang in the air above my head, and sinking below them to observe my inner process of connection.
A buckeye butterfly came to rest in my shadow on the ground next to me. Then it fluttered over to rest on my hands, which were folded in my cross-legged lap. I marveled at the beauty of its brown markings with blue and orange spots, watching in awe as its proboscis and its lightly touching legs delicately moved about my hand. I tried not to move so as not to frighten the butterfly away. I felt my heart soften with the presence of this visitor which made it easier for me to bring my attention to my heart. As I felt my heart begin to open, I invited the universal light of Source and the soul of the Earth to connect with me. I sensed the presence of these life forces connecting me above and below and felt the flow of this connection through the center of my entire body. Acknowledging the presence of my own divine self, I then invited the spirit of this land to communicate with me about its soul essence, the unique way in which the Earth expresses her life force in this land.
My eyes were closed and soon I began to have a feeling of melting into the ground below. I followed this feeling into a vision of a soft landscape of what reminded me of whipped cream cheese at first which I thought was hilarious! It was like a soft, supple moisturizer- very light yet substantial enough to hold me. I sensed it went very deep into the earth. It was a nice feeling to imagine laying on my back in this strange substance. I spent several minutes with this feeling.
The butterfly stayed during this initial part of my meditation…until I moved my arm because an ant had decided crawl up and do some exploring! I removed the ant and before I closed my eyes again to re-enter the meditation, I saw the butterfly come back to my hand. Then, a second butterfly came to rest near me.
I returned to the meditation and sunk into it a little deeper, with the butterfly friend on my hand. I felt the stresses of my trip on public transportation melting away in this smooth soft substance. It felt so good! I soaked up its cool relief and it relaxed my body.
While I was still tuned into my inner vision, the butterflies entered my meditation! I felt a tingling at the back of my skull where there was tension, and the back of my neck opened up. I felt and saw a flurry of hundreds of butterflies fly out from the back of my neck, taking the tension that was there with them, scattering and dissipating all of it. It was a huge relief! Then I felt the sensation of a group of butterflies walking on my face with tiny legs, almost like butterfly acupressure that was so subtle I could barely feel it. It was incredible how my two worlds were merging- both inner and outer! I felt like I was between the worlds of the physical and spiritual, this experience born out of my sincere request to meditate with the land.
I opened my eyes to check that the butterflies were still there. They were. Back to my meditation, I wanted to see what was farther below this thick soft layer, as I could feel that it went very deep into the earth. Immediately upon revealing this curiosity, I found myself suddenly face down in the cool blue and the group of butterflies, light as air, were on my back, assisting to effortlessly push me down to the next layer, which was a deeper blue color with a cooler temperature, even more relaxing than the previous layer. My body was feeling pretty good! I couldn’t help it, I opened my eyes again, fascinated by the presence of these butterflies in my physical reality. Now, both of them were on my hands. One had crawled inside my cupped hand and was just resting there, while the other one was hanging out on my finger. I sat with them in this relaxed feeling for quite a while longer, eyes open and appreciative of these little creatures until it was time to move.
I noticed a feeling of emotional and physical lightness, even my sense of humor had been involved in this, which helped to shift my previously distracted mood! I wanted to stay in this place all day. This place I had visited in the spiritual realm seemed so vast that I could not have explored it all in one short sitting! I had a mysterious and excitable feeling of having been admitted into a very deep place within the earth, but had only just skimmed the surface of what was there. This personal experience of the interweaving of the spiritual world with my physical world felt very special. It’s not every day that I get to experience both in the same moment like this.
As I shared my experience with my companions, the sky and temperature dramatically shifted. The cool white fog rolled in across the clear blue sky and collided with the heat, making for a continuously mystical experience.
Written by April Phillips