Lie down and close your eyes, relax your muscles and pay attention the colors behind your eyes. Feel yourself drifting down, down, as if you were a gentle leaf falling from a tree. See the leaf in your mind’s eye, follow it to the ground and realize you’re standing in forest, slowly walking a worn path through the trees, a gentle breeze ruffling your hair. A tall mountain looms in the distance. As you walk, you realize you’re heading for a clearing near the base of the mountain. You step out of the forest and a summer sun, bright and warm, lights up your face and chest. You stop for a moment to bask in the golden-white light, allowing it to sink into your body like a liquid stream of bright energy. You stay there until you’re entire body feels relaxed and calm, tingling with warmth.
Eventually, step forward towards the mountain. As you draw close, you see a cave opening in the side. A hooded figure steps out of the darkness, moves aside and bows to you as greeting royalty. You greet the guardian in any manner you feel appropriate and enter the cave. The guardian steps in front of the entrance to ensure nothing enters without your permission. The cave is dim, but not dark; small crystals in the cave wall emit a soft light, revealing carved steps leading down into the earth. The air is cool, but you still have the warmth of the sun inside you. Step down, down, down, deeper and deeper into the cave, the stairs leading you away from the light and further into the safe recesses of your own mind. After a while, the stairwell opens up into a large, underground cavern. The cavern is dark except for a small lava pit in the back that keeps the cave warm.
You move to the center of the cave and sit with your back to the lava, warming your spine. You feel safe and relaxed here in this place, a sanctuary for you and you alone. You can sit here and meditate, chant positive affirmations ala “The Secret”, or just sit and think undisturbed. When you’re ready, open your eyes, secure in the knowledge that your cave will always be there. All you have to do is close your eyes and imagine yourself there.
The Cave is a shamanistic exercise that lays the groundwork for all kinds of interesting meditations and techniques. There is a more complete version in Chapter 5 of “Path Notes of an American Ninja Master” by Glenn Morris and tons of variations in “Secrets of Shamanism” by Jose Stevens. In many esoteric traditions one must fill themselves with light before moving into the shadows, for the true secrets of power lie in the darkness. In modern psychology that might refer to dealing with Carl Jung’s “shadow” self that lies in the unconscious mind and contains the aspects of ourselves we normally repress. The Cave represents a possible way to deal with those repressed aspects safely. One can imagine all kinds of caverns branching off the main one where one can work through negative emotions safely. Dr. Morris utilizes a method that branches off different caves that represent the various chakras. Some people report being able to speak to dead friends and relatives in their caves, indicating that the subconscious mind plugs into the collective unconscious (or the astral plane in esoteric terms) in ways we’re only beginning to understand.