Madhuri describes an inner journey that helps you see what is healthy for you to take in from your surroundings and the people in them, and what is not.
It happened to me in this way: some years ago my sister Sarita had shared with me a technique called The Corral, where you visualize a wild-west corral, of the sort that horses are penned in; and in this space you would meet a person with whom you were having trouble.
You would then share with them with words; then slip out of ‘you’ and enter the other and ‘become’ them, and share from their side; and if the difficulty did not resolve this way you would invite the higher selves of each of you: enter, become, and have these Higher Selves discuss the matter. This would usually dissolve the issue into a vaster and much more objective and loving view.
I used this method occasionally over the years, enjoying the way the corral changed according to what was happening in me at a subconscious level. My corral is in pretty, green, mountainous land, and the circular fence often had a very high arched back part, made of platinum, with diamonds embedded in it! – while the front was a ramshackle old thing made of wood, too low to do much good.
In my life – and in my Human Design too – saying No is so often bitterly difficult. Terrifying even – everything freezes, I can’t get the word out – or any word – but dumbly and numbly receive whatever demand, criticism, or whatever might be coming at me from someone who simply has their own agenda. I abdicate, I retreat, I duck my head and appear to take it… but then I am busy inside with both the wound and the indignation that arises… for months, years.
I do have a very sure and simple resource though – trusting my body’s knowing, its openings and closings, its shrinkings away from danger – however subtle. Human Design calls this the Inner Authority, and mine is very precise, if quiet and delicate. But it’s all too easy to override that and listen instead to the shoulds of the conditioned mind. And then I get into trouble; and often have had to get ill to get out of it again!
During the last year it became clear to me that this was a dangerous way to proceed – ignoring, in a way, the fact that my body knew something wasn’t good for me. Events conspired that were so in my face I could no longer ignore the signals. I began to do a great deal of inner work – breathing sessions, Family Constellation, tapping, etc etc; to try to see what was really the case within me.
I made one major discovery: we can only claim our boundaries if we feel that it is okay that we are alive here in the first place.
I had to take up the sceptre of my own existence: imperfect, wonky, flawed, joyous, tender, full of secret magic; humble and insignificant as it all might be.
Only then would I also have the right to say No.
I was much helped by a certain book, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship, by Beverly Engel. I learned what precisely emotional abuse consists of and a very simple key for deflecting it – simply say, “I don’t receive this.” You don’t have to shout or criticize and show muscle as the abuser is doing. This was an enormous relief to me as I simply could not turn into a shouty person in order to try to give back the same energy that was being dished out to me. But apparently one doesn’t need to; one can simply say No, calmly.
I was delighted by a story Osho told: the Buddha was walking through some village, and a man came up to him and began to abuse him verbally. The man went on and on, blaming, criticizing, complaining. When he had finally stopped for a moment the Buddha said to him, “Thank you for the gift, but I find that I don’t need it; so I am giving it back to you.”
I think that is wonderful, and I hope some day to have the courage and presence of mind to employ it!
I think also of something Osho said. Someone had asked him, “If you could give us one rule for life, what would it be?” And he said, “Do whatever you like…. Just don’t interfere in anyone else’s life.”
Verbal or physical abuse (and science shows that the brain does not know a difference between these) is a boundary-violation – a penetration of unwanted energy into our field.
I love the way Human Design recognizes that we should ask a person before launching into telling them things – any things, even pleasant gossips. The person might not be in the mood to receive it just then. It’s best, and it’s respectful, to knock on their aura gently to find out if they are open to chat. And if you are feeling angry, or bossy, and can’t help yourself, then ask them, “Are you open to listening to my bossiness? I want to share it.” This gives them the chance to get out of the way if they want to; and also will make them like you much, much better than if you just open your mouth and start bitching!
I was amazed at the broadness of the definition of abuse; even un-asked for advice, corrections, and so on can be abuse in the context of a relationship where you are treated like a child; criticized, demeaned, controlled, and so on.
The point is, you don’t have to take bad vibes and words from anyone.
During my inner explorations, I discovered that the Corral meditation could be tweaked to become Boundary meditation.
It works like this:
Lie down with closed eyes, very comfortable – or you might sit if that is better for you. Relax and then count slowly to ten, imagining that you are going down some steps. This takes you into your subconscious.
Ask the universe to show you your Corral. Trust whatever arises – you will see a scene of some sort, and the corral is in it. Describe this to yourself aloud if you like – sometimes that helps the clarity of the journey. Note just how your corral looks – what it is made of, how big it is, if it has a gate in it, is it in good repair, and so on.
Is there anything inside it? Normally mine is empty as I approach it but this morning mine had a lovely big wrought-iron-and-wooden bench, and a little veggie garden!
Go inside your corral. Today mine had a gate that was latched with a fine and pleasing jewelry-hasp, like the sort on a necklace.
Look around you. take note of the fence and where it is higher or lower. No need to do anything; just observe.
When you are comfortable in your corral, you might think of someone who is in your life. The person will probably just appear. Now look what happens – where are they? Are they flying, walking? Are they trying to get in, or not? What goes on? How do you feel? What sensations are in your body? Just trust what arises.
What happens to your corral when the person approaches? Does it get stronger or weaker? How do you feel while it is changing?
If you feel invaded – if you are alarmed or afraid – just wait; and ask the universe, “What wants to happen here?”
Something will happen – the thing your body/being most requires. Boundaries will strengthen and repel the person, or in some other way you will be shown what is really the case, what is really good for you.
In the Corral meditation I described at the beginning, you enter the other’s consciousness – either at the level of daily life or the level of higher consciousness, the Higher Self; thus dissolving projections and entering an empathic space.
You can do that in the Boundary meditation too if you like; I just sort of know when I need to. But as an ex-professional empath, always going on entering others’ beings in sessions, I find it refreshing and helpful sometimes just to allow my own space and reality to have its right to exist!
If you get stuck, simply invite a Buddha-being – Osho, or an angel, or whomsover you like – and ask them to help. They will do so, in wonderful ways!
This morning I did this meditation, in order to look at some requests people had made of me; I wanted to see what was really the case inside my being – Did I want to say yes or no?
It was the first time I’d done this process since the lockdown began, and I was delighted to see some alterations in my corral. First was the fact that the structure of it was much stronger, the bars higher. I knew that some of this was a gift from the lockdown – from the outside, then – and that it really didn’t belong to me; but I could enjoy it nonetheless and perhaps learn something from it; perhaps even get the feeling of it as a nice healthy habit, a possibility for myself in future.
Then, there was the veggie garden – a direct import from the garden that I’ve been planting and tending since the lockdown began. This garden has been showing up in my other inner journeys too; apparently the being really registers gardens, and finds them important.
They are so fresh, so breathing, so fertile, so nourishing, so… green! And their metaphorical import is also there… as we tend our inner garden. But I think there is no difference; when you tend your outer garden you are tending your inner one too. It is made of earth and sky and water… and the spirits of the plants, and birthing, growing; and all of it.
Then, I had a bench. This too is important: a permission to rest, to give up, to sit down. And it was a beautiful, royal bench! I have long thought that when I leave my body, I would like a bench installed in some beautiful place out in nature, where walkers can sit down and enjoy a view and a bit of Ahhhh… It would not have a placard on the front where people have to read it, but maybe on the back… Just my name and the word, Poet. Maybe. Maybe nothing.
Anyway – there was the sense that the lockdown is a really helpful thing, that it is giving some space to get better oriented towards what is really important for me now, in my 67th year – which is just… well, me and the sky!
In the evenings these days I love to go to bed about 6:00 pm, all tasks that I could finish today, done; whatever I can’t, put aside till another day. And now I’m just here – looking out the huge window beside my white-spread bed – watching the clouds and the sky change as the hours of the long evening progress… sometimes reading, or dozing, and just watching, being, enjoying with simple bliss the beauty of the thing that goes on out there: evening, softly and silently moving along. It’s really enough – it’s all I want – to have the peace, the space, the unbothered chance – to watch that sky without having to Do anything for anyone or for myself. It’s done – or not; I’m resting – there’s just this…
But back to the meditation. Those strong poles and cross-bars of my corral were reassuring. I liked them, I was grateful. And so I looked at a few of the things going on in my life, and allowed the wisdoms and illustrations to unfold, until I felt complete. Knowing then what I liked and didn’t like; and thus maybe more easily able to act on it.
To come back, just thank the Guides or whoever; and go out of your corral, count to ten, coming back up the steps – and you’re out. Sometimes I clap my hands three times too, to break the spell.
And that’s the Boundary Meditation.