2 – Re-Learning The Oldest Language
2/1 - The Babel Of Self
As a species, we have a major problem.
I was watching a TV show about a starship the other day.
The captain and the First Officer were completely at odds about what strategy would get them out of trouble.
The captain believed that the ship should go to the heart of the enemy’s territory and fight it out. To this end, she ordered everyone to work on the weapons systems and for the ship to go at full speed towards the enemy. But as soon as her watch was over, the First Officer ordered the ship to be turned about, to get as far away as possible from the enemy, and for everyone to stop working on the weapons systems and to start working on the defensive array instead.
After three days of flat out racing and frantic shifts working around the clock, the ship was found by the enemy exactly where they had started out in the first place, with the crew totally exhausted and with neither the weapons, nor the defences, in working order.
It occurred to me that this is a lot like how many people I know spend their lives, and that this little story really illustrates very well how our unconscious and our conscious desires, if at odds, create just this kind of exhausted stalemate.
On the starship, the problem was communication between the captain and the first officer. For us, that's the same problem.
We've got two minds who don't even speak the same language.
How often have you had what I would call a really profound dream, you just knew it was important somehow, but were left with no idea what the message was supposed to be?
Dream Dictionaries, I suspect, are probably a bit like the famous Hungarian Dictionary in the Monty Python sketch - not only could the translation for, "What is the time?" be something like, "I'm going to murder you with a toothpick" but worse, we wouldn't even know until we got smacked in the face!
I have had my experiences with trying to translate one language into another. At school, I must have missed something important and thus failed to comprehend Latin. It didn't make any sense and I didn't have a clue about the underlying structure of the language. This, by the way, is absolutely true and not a metaphor to support my approach to Metaphor Therapy.
In tests, we were allowed to use a dictionary to help us with translating passages. I ended up looking up each word in a sentence, writing them down on scraps of paper and then tried to arrange them in an order that would make some kind of sense out of the whole thing. I understand that, to this day, some of my more outrageous "translations" are standard jokes amongst the common room staff of that particular school, and even twenty years later the long retired ageing Latin master started to laugh uncontrollably upon spotting me on a recent visit to my home town in the supermarket.
Now you may be forgiven to think that I was just not very good at languages. I have to tell you that I am in fact German and came to the UK about 18 years ago. English, and the words you will be reading in this book, are my second language. The simple reason for the fact that I learned English easily and can now express myself fluently is that I learned it by immersion, just as children learn their native tongue.
I learned by trial and error, practise, and by following examples. Latin, on the other hand, was trying to learn by what I shall forthwith term the "Dream Book Strategy" - or the Monty Python Hungarian dictionary approach, for that matter.
For this reason, I would suggest you try the following, different approach in working with your self generated internal metaphors and symbolic representations - namely,
- to resist attempting to translate them,
- to put aside any preconceived notions of what something "might mean" or represent,
- and, most importantly, to stop trying to work out the meaning of symbols by taking them out of the grammatical context of the whole story, may it be a dream or waking meditation –
- because as soon as you do that, they may well become entirely meaningless.
Instead, we're going to immerse ourselves and learn like children do, by trial and error, with experimentation, and by copying what seems to work for others, until the time has come, when we are entirely familiar with the underlying structure at a totally unconscious level, and we can really and fully begin to have complex and meaningful two way conversations with our selves.
2/2 - Metaphor As A Language
Metaphor Therapy in all kinds of guises has been employed for longer than we can know. Whether it's the heroic tales of old, educational stories such as Aesop's fables, Tarot Decks, working with dreams, inner journeys, meditations, or, as some suspect, past lives - profound concerns can be addressed in a very holistic way when working with metaphors. I was - and still am - particularly impressed with Charles Faulkner's work on life metaphors.
He points out that metaphors are the basic organising process for the way we live our lives, and that these underlying unconscious metaphors are made visible in the form of artefacts we surround ourselves with, the clothes we wear, the relationships we form and the language that we use - in fact, we materialise our internal metaphors by the very way we live our lives.
To give an example, someone who might have a troublesome relationship may be operating from the basic metaphor "Relationships are War" - and would be living this out by fighting with his significant others, having an army type structure in the way he brings up his children, and that whatever therapy this man would do, as long as this deep underlying metaphor remained in place, he would always be driven back to the behaviours it demanded within it's own context.
What I liked especially was the gentle and cohesively holistic transformations that occurred when such underlying metaphors were changed.
I had a client whose life's metaphor was: "Life is Like An Inner City Jungle". He imagined himself in a grey and smoggy city, where starving tramps were trying to warm themselves by burning oil drums, dirty children begged in gutters, prostitutes stalked, sirens filled the air and with villains hiding behind every garbage bag and street corner who would kill you for your shoes. His "real life' problems included continuous conflicts with the law and authorities, inability to sleep, being extremely aggressive when challenged; he couldn't trust anyone, had never had a steady relationship and was a petty criminal and drug user.
All of these behaviours made a lot more sense when viewed in context of the metaphorical domain of his life; as there were so many seemingly unrelated problems, I decided to do the metaphorical "world enlargement" in preference to a more directional approach.
I asked him to find the landscape beyond the city and pointed out that as this was his metaphor, he could choose to change it. He then went ahead and instigated a public order and restoration programme in his own internal metaphorical world, acting as the mayor of the town, and went to live in a lovely house on the green hills instead.
Incredibly, within 6 months, he had a job, a girlfriend, and had stopped using drugs - all of this for the first time in his life and without any further counselling. No-one who knew him could believe the change. Also, it was not as though the changes had taken place overnight.
With hindsight, it was very difficult to pin point just what had happened how and when - we had all woken up at some point and here he was, a different person. This was five years ago. He's married now, has two children and to all intents and purposes, the changes have stayed.
This young man was my first experience with Direct Metaphor Only Therapy.
From then on, whatever the problem and whatever the techniques employed, I went ahead and always finished the session with a little metaphor discussion about life in general as well. Not everyone who took part at that time had miraculous transformations, but there were many little "convincers" along the way, such as:
- A lady whose original problem was panic attacks. She was also unhappy at work, but had been in the same unhappy job for 25 years. In her metaphor she was living in a house with no access to any roads or ways, either in or out. I had her build a road and within a fortnight, she had found a new job she thoroughly enjoyed.
- Another lady (a stop smoking client) who desperately wanted to move to the country but it somehow wasn't happening - whenever she got close to making the move, there was a family disaster of some kind, or money or health problems; for twenty years this had been going on and she was expressing doubts as to ever achieve her dream as she was getting on in years. She imagined herself looking at her dream house but there was a barred gate and a high metal fence all around over which she could not climb. In the end, I gave her a magic wand to use on the gate so she could finally get in. Four months after the session, she send me an invitation to a house warming party. She had moved into "Magpies", a lovely old farm house in the country.
- A young man who was hard working but found life very hard and depressing (asthma was the problem he came to see me about). He saw himself going around and around in a giant treadmill down an endless road. I had him stop it and get out. Quite miraculously, just a few weeks later he received a highly unlikely invitation to take an interesting and much better paid job in Spain, which he accepted without hesitation.
- Lastly, a borderline agoraphobic gentleman who had envisaged himself living in a walled monastery. Once we found a door to the outside world, he went ahead and got himself his first passport of his life as he felt the unheard of desire to take a day trip to France - he was 49 at that time.
I could go on and on and on with such examples, but I think you're beginning to get the pattern.
What fascinated me then and still fascinates me today is how unlikely the changes are that occur following even such a clumsy exercise in speaking to the person's unconscious beliefs directly in metaphorical terms. The changes are unlikely and many of them completely illogical. A few even defy belief - it seemed in some cases as though the entire Universe conspired all of a sudden to help the person following a metaphorical change on the inside.
So here then were the glimpses of a system for change that was:
- easy to do,
- fun even, according to many clients,
- could be very profound in it's repercussions
- and, most importantly, was fundamentally under the person's individual control - they were finding their own solutions to their own problems instead of being told what to do and how to do it.
I decided to try some variations on the theme and began offering all my existing clients a free metaphor session, just to see what would happen and where it would lead us.
The resulting strategy and practises you will find in the rest of this book.
2/3 - Introducing The Sanctuary
Many hypnotic inductions, meditations and guided journeys take as their starting point the idea of an inner sanctuary - a safe and protected space that would allow you to leave all your cares behind for a while, to simply be surrounded with peace and beauty, a place all of your own you can call your inner home where you can finally let go of all your barriers and inhibitions and simply be your self.
In some approaches you are advised to imagine a favourite place in nature; in others, more detailed instructions are given to help the user co-create an inter-dimensional meadow, say, an enchanted forest, or a moonlit beach.
As I was in my experimental frame of mind, rather than starting to seriously mess with people's operating life metaphors, I thought it a good idea to have a closer look at their internal sanctuaries first.
A second compelling reason for working with the sanctuary idea was that many of my clients really never got their heads around the idea that home is within the self, rather than with another person, or in a particular place. Some were forever going somewhere or doing something in order to "find themselves" - I'd rather always believed that "wherever you go, there you are."
I've got to tell you this story: One of my clients, a rich, middle aged bachelor, who, frankly, came to see me quite regularly basically because he didn't have any friends or family and enjoyed my company, and to this end tended to make up various imaginary complaints which we both knew were just an excuse to come and have a good old chat, travelled a lot to help fill his time and get rid of some of his money. He was quite a cynical person and one time, following a multi-thousand pound adventure excursion to India, told me how he had sat on an elephant, watching the sun come up over the Himalayas and feeling "rather bored".
Talk about "wherever you go, there you are"! Can you imagine it! Sitting on an elephant in the Himalayas at sunrise - what a breath-takingly, indescribably amazing experience. Yet it did nothing for him, and so he might as well have sat at Eastbourne Pier on a rainy November day.
To me, this really summed up how desperately important it is to go inside to solve problems before you start going to the Himalayas, because if you do it the other way around, you're just wasting your time - and a considerable amount of money.
2/4 – Contacting Sanctuary
How do you find your own sanctuary? That’s quite simple. In a moment, put down this book and allow yourself to imagine a place that would feel like a Sanctuary to you personally, somewhere where you would feel completely safe, and completely happy.
Say the word “Sanctuary” out loud and simply experience what this word represents to you. Don’t argue with yourself about your choices at this point – this is your first lesson in accepting thing the way they currently are.
Stop and do this now.
If you are one of these people who, like myself, would rather get on with the text right now and think “Oh, I’ll do this later”, know that it only takes a minute or two and know to understand that the rest of the book will be far more enjoyable and useful to you. So, and as you want to get your money’s worth from this text, don’t you?
Stop reading and do it now!
Say the word “Sanctuary” out loud and simply experience what this word represents to you. Don’t argue with yourself about your choices at this point – this is your first lesson in accepting thing the way they currently are.
When I first said this word, it was a sensation of deep longing, a longing for something that seemed impossibly far away, unattainable. A place of rest. A place of peace. Of security, where you can be yourself in all ways, completely accepted, with nothing demanded of or from you, with nothing to do and no-one to be but simply yourself.
A place where you are protected from all and everything.
That is the meaning, to me, of the word, “Sanctuary”.
Aspects of this were always in my goals and in my dreams, in my hopes for the future. It is true that I have sought this vibration of Sanctuary in people, in landscapes, in buildings for as long as I have known.
But what it is is in truth, a state of being, a state of mind and of body we can begin to attain as we begin to heal within and without, as we begin to re-learn about our own true resources, as we begin to once again, take charge of our own selves.
From wherever you currently are, and to help us get a sense of what it is we need to give ourselves to heal, restore and relax into a different way of being, our first exercise in Sanctuary is to evoke a representation of an environment, a place and a time where we can firstly stop and take a break, a much needed well earned rest from our lives as they are.
So now, let us consider what kind of place, what kind of time springs to your mind when you think of a place that would be your perfect sanctuary?
What happens if you ask people to tell you about their inner sanctuary?
Enough material for a creative artist to paint a picture a day until they drop dead from exhaustion!
Here are just some descriptions of the many, many I have heard:
- I'm living in a giant tower rising high from a small rocky island in a stormy sea.
- It's a small prison cell. Thick, thick walls of bedrock stone. I’m safe here.
- A piece of meadow, about the size of a small back yard, with a dark forest all around it.
- An oasis in an eternal desert under a night sky filled with a thousand falling stars.
- An endless beach but the sea has receded and gone dry.
- A fairy castle in the middle of an enchanted lake filled with fish-like dragons.
- A white marble gazebo on a mountain top so high that the clouds are like a sea below.
- An enchanted garden with a high wall around it.
- It is like a beach hut on the shores of an endless ocean and nothing and no-one else around.
- A nice old house, but it really needs doing up.
- On a plateau of a giant glass mountain that rises high from a desert.
As you read through these, I would now advise you of the prime directive of metaphorical work for me:
Don't think for a moment you have any idea what's going on!
After a short period of time, I gave up trying to analyse "what it might mean" altogether and with good effect.
I don't think that our analytical minds can comprehend at all what's happening, what it's all supposed to mean, and that the first step towards true conscious/unconscious communication is to accept things as they are, and to proceed mostly on feeling, trust and intuition.
If it feels good and right and true, do more of it. If it doesn't, back off and try something else.
Allowing your own feelings and intuitions to guide you instead of fighting with yourself and hopelessly trying to work what’s happening in a conscious fashion is also a great time saver.
I mean, you could spend the rest of your life discussing with your client what "a fairy castle in the middle of an enchanted lake filled with fish like dragons" might represent. You might be right, you might be wrong, and you'd probably never know; and, in the meantime, you'd get side tracked into god knows what kind of detail and at the end of the day, nothing much would have been accomplished.
I’m sure that by now you have an idea of your own sanctuary space. If you have not, simply answer the following questions quite quickly and without thinking about too much to localise your special space-of-mind so you can go there, know where it is, find it again and begin to work with it.
- What kind of landscape?
- What time of year?
- What time of day?
- What else is important to have it be there?
* 3rd Edition Note: I have appended the “Project Sanctuary Virtual Introduction Evening”, a short paper I wrote 4 years after the original text to be able to give Internet visitors a flavour of what Project Sanctuary is all about. If you are having trouble with finding a space to begin the exercises in this manual, you might like to read/do this now. You can find it in the Addendum.
Now, once we have a representation of this sanctuary space, it might be interesting to ask the following questions:
How do you like it?
How does it feel being there?
Are there aspects that you could improve?
Is there anything not there that you would like to be there?
* A Safety Note: If you do this with anyone other than yourself, be incredibly careful how you ask these questions. It is very possible that you install the thing you ask about, as, in order for the other person to think about the thing you asked about, they will need to create an internal representation of it.
On the other hand, if you wish to install something later on that you feel is missing, a question such as, "Where is the water?" will instantly create it. Magic!
2/5 – A First Exploration
2/5/1 - Size & Restrictions
You might have noticed that most of the examples of inner sanctuaries were very limited in size, although most were set within a limit-less space. Often, there is a direct boundary, such as the moat around the fairy castle, the sea around the island with the tower on it, and very obviously in the prison cell example.
People who are trapped, tightly enclosed or walled in some way need to find a way out first before they can even ascertain what kind of landscape surrounds them; and making a connection with the surrounding countryside in the form of a doorway, gate or bridge might become the first priority.
In other cases and especially if defence was a major concern, I would just ask for the area that was covered by the sanctuary to be enlarged if it was particularly small or, let's face it, just plain boring.
I mean, a gazebo made from marble on a mountain top is pretty romantic, but it's not even comfortable for sitting in, never mind all the other things that will be going on there eventually. By the way, when I mentioned this to the client, he did admit that he didn't use it much for that reason, as he always felt strangely cold and stiff only a few minutes into his meditations!
Not all sanctuaries need this enlargement straight away. Before we go any further, however, they should be big enough so that there's something to look at, something to explore. Later on, as the sanctuary's owner grows in confidence, it may well have developed into an entire world. But let's take one step at a time.
2/5/2 - What is already there?
Having a walk around the sanctuary consciously is a very interesting experience.
To start with, we'll change nothing, just see what there is and what there isn't.
To my great amusement, quite a few clients reported clutter of all kind, left over from various personal development techniques they engaged in, sometimes many years ago. Weird wire mesh "belief screens", trees with doors in them to access a past life, figures of eight engraved in the floor from a "cutting the ties that bind us", sundials, elevators that go nowhere, strange plants, and even materialised Reiki symbols floating about - with some people a process not unlike clearing out a garage would eventually be required.
Many report obvious trouble spots, such as a black swamp in one corner, or shrivelled foliage on plants, or a dried up well, a scary forest etc. These items will have to be dealt with as one of the first priorities.
Not everyone seems to be alone in their own sanctuary. Creatures and people of all imaginable shapes, forms or levels of existence can be found wandering about.
Then, there are natural features of the landscape and the vegetation; further, the man made features such as buildings, gardens etc.
Finally, there's the climate, the temperature, the time of day and the season to be considered.
After we've had a good look at all of these things, it's time to return to Earth and take note of what has been discovered.
At this point, most people want to dive straight in and want to make changes right away. Although I applaud this enthusiasm, I think it might be a good idea to sit back for a moment, and to access the first important resource that will be of tremendous help in the sanctuary restoration project.
2/6 - Getting Help
Do you believe in Guardian Angles? I personally think that's a particularly nice and supportive belief to hold, especially when the going gets rough. Do they really exist? I don't know ... enough yet to make a firm declaration one way or the other. I've certainly had experiences that would support my belief, but you know how it is - whatever belief you hold, you'll find experiences to support it.
What I do know is that "a bit of help from a friend" is a most wonderfully welcomed gift, and in the context of building a full, working sanctuary it's actually a necessity.
So, depending on the beliefs the owner of the sanctuary may hold, now is the time to call on any of the following:
- a guardian angel
- a spirit guide
- an "advisor" part
- a wise person they may have met or admired in their life
- a friend
- an imaginary friend
- a fictional character from novels, fairy tales, plays, TV or movies.
An ever growing number of folk these days already have a guide, and you should certainly use these ones, as they are a tremendous resource. Most people who do not have one yet will more than readily manifest such a guide as soon as this is put to them.
So, for your own Project Sanctuary, turn within and check if there is someone there already who will be your guide, or if you will have to call someone in to do this very important job for you at this point.
A very few people might need extra help from their own unconscious minds to bring forth someone they will be able to trust completely, to advise them.
Use the following simple questions to elicit the guide (no hypnosis required).
Don't think about it, just answer really quickly - if you think about it too hard you will be overcrowding the channels through which your unconscious mind is trying to communicate.
You can also use a pendulum or even toss a coin to find the answers to these questions - either way, here there are:
- Is it human?
- Is it a he or a she?
- How old?
- How are they dressed?
- What is their name - and accept the first thought that springs into your mind.
- Notice something special about them – something personal distinguishes this individual from others of their kind.
- What do you like most about them?
If you do this exercise with others and they refuse to co-operate or keep insisting that they don't know or nothing comes to them, to ask them about a fictional character from books, TV or movies they think they'd like to have as an advisor or helper may be an option; if the worst comes to the worst, you can lend them someone else's guide for the interim, although that is very rarely necessary.
People who snort at the idea of guides altogether will usually accept a pseudo scientific explanation along the lines of, "You have learned many, many things all through your life. It is now held to be true even by scientists that everything you've ever learned is stored in your unconscious mind. All we're going to do is to create a kind of interface that will allow you to access this knowledge fully whenever you need it." - and promptly, a client of that nature went ahead and manifested a Star Trek-like hand held communications device into which he could input his questions. Oh well - horses for courses!
2/7 - Guides and Their Uses
2/7/1 – Interfaces To Inner Resources
As my own main guide is male, I'm going to take the liberty to use the "he" for the following - but remember, talking animals, tricorders, angels, glowing fire balls, hermaphrodites and females are just fine as well.
When faced with the sanctuary "as is", only a few people experience flat out and unambiguous delight.
Most feel the urge to make changes of one kind or the other right away, but are unsure what to change, in which order, and most especially, what to change it into. And that's where they will need the guide as a sounding board for their ideas.
This is a very important aspect, because what we're doing is building interfaces to access inner resources and to begin weaning ourselves off of running to a counsellor, therapist or guru every time we're stuck with something.
In general and as a rule of thumb, you can have communications and conversations with absolutely everything in the realms where we are working with Project Sanctuary. Every item has a meaning, an existence, an identity and can be talked to, be it a river, a rock or a tree.
Guides are special in that they are created specifically to guide you and to help you. In this context they help with the following:
2/7/2 - Decision Making
If you've ever seen someone choosing wallpaper for their sitting room, you'll know what I mean when I say that making profound decisions that may well have long lasting effects on the very structure of your personality isn't as easy as it may seem.
Therefore, the guide comes in handy to help clarify purposes, and outcomes, and as a useful safety check on the more drastic types of decisions.
2/7/3 - As a Teacher and Interpreter
As the guide is at the very least through the unconscious mind, if not directly of the unconscious mind, he is also one of the first direct contacts with that realm, and will serve as a teacher to help us communicate with that part of ourselves more easily in the beginning stages of this process.
It is very important to realise that guides, whatever their shape, form or appearance are a first bridge to a veritable wonderworld of undiscovered talents. Riches and treasures of unknowable proportions are there and your guides can help you find them within yourself.
In communicating with the various guides you will notice that they don’t speak like we do, not exactly, even if they speak directly to us and use words and phrases, body postures and other signs and signals.
It is even possible that in the very act of seeking to communicate with a guide or unconscious minds learn something about our conscious selves – it has our experience with Project Sanctuary processes that this is indeed so, and the more these communications take place, not only is it easier to understand what is being presented, but the presentation seems to become much more direct, much more easily understandable as time goes on.
2/7/4 - Re-Assurance and Support
Over and over, clients have expressed their relief at having someone to turn to within themselves - so the guide can help alleviate fears, relieve stress, and offer gentle and steady support to help the owner of the sanctuary grow and expand safely, always on call, 24 hours a day, without complaint, without fail.
As with all and every mental and physical skill or ability, the more you use your guide, the more “manifest” it becomes – the more real, if you will. I have personally had occasions where in a moment of distress one of my special guides “just turned up” and was right there in the room, offering their presence and their support. It was quite extraordinary and more welcome than I can tell you here; I’ve always preferred it in real life when help was given without me having to ask for it first. Indeed, there are so many times and circumstances when one doesn’t think to ask – sometimes I’m too distressed or upset and lose access to all the many resources that I normally know I have at my fingertips.
For a guide to manifest autonomously and automatically in direct response to an emergency situation could possible be a life saver one day; it is certainly all by itself a very good reason why one should talk to ones guides on a regular basis and get to know them very well indeed.
* An Important Note: If anyone experiences their guide as overly talkative, demanding, disruptive, turning up without having been asked to do so repeatedly, too vague, unhelpful or too dominant, or they just don’t like them at all, ask them to sack him and find a better one. True communication can only exist between equal partners, and the guide is supposed to be helpful and guide, not tell the client what to do on the one hand, or waffle on esoterically on the other.
OK. Now we have an internal helper, and a Sanctuary that might not be all that it could be. So what's next?
2/8 - What's Missing?
What have we got, and what do we want?
The first important decision is to be clear on what this sanctuary space should be like. And it's intriguing to note how difficult this is for most people. After all, if you can have anything you ever wanted, it throws up this vexed question of "What DO you want?" Not only teenagers have a hard time with that one!
Some people have been so browbeaten by life, they don't even know anymore what they like. Sure, they can tell you what they should be doing, or ought to be having, but their own feelings have become so detached they can't tell you what it is they want if they've only got themselves to consider, minus an audience, a society, neighbours, family or peers. Sometimes it is therefore necessary to ask them what they don't like, and then find a positive answer by process of elimination.
An easy way of getting some starting points is to ask what concepts, feelings and sensations are particularly valuable and pleasurable - and then to find a metaphorical representation for these, such as:
- Tranquillity - a still, deep pool; clouds; gentle rain; birds flying.
- Peace - a wide grassland at dusk with the stars just becoming visible high above; a sandy beach with palm trees; a slow drifting river; a nightingale singing.
- Happiness - lots of brightly coloured flowers and birds singing in the trees; sun sparkling off a lake; a playground with laughing children; a large diamond.
- Strength - a mountain range; a dragon; a waterfall; a pride of lions, a glacier.
- Love - a beautiful garden; a single red rose; two white swans; a herd of wild horses.
- Energy - a sparkling waterfall; lightning; a bull; a volcano; a soaring tower.
- Abundance - a cave full of crystals; gold fish in a pond; a golden statue; a field of ripe wheat; an ocean.
- Freedom – the wide blue summer skies; a thunderstorm; a dolphin; an emerald.
Note how different many of these are, and these are only a few examples - the permutations on these themes are really endless. Know that these kind of representations are absolutely specific (ideosyncratic) to the person themselves, and if you work with others, never, ever push your own preferences or ideas of what "Loyalty" should be made to look like. Also, don't argue with any person's choices in this matter - and especially not your own. If someone's unconscious mind wants to materialise "Friendship" as a three headed scaly dragon and they feel good about this, so be it.
At this point, let's also be clear that this sanctuary space we are creating is very fluid and open to all kinds of changes at any point, if you should choose. I recently painted my bedroom violently purple all over - originally, I'd just wanted that colour on one wall, and it kind of spread onto the ceiling and all around the room (oh, and by the way, if you now start to wonder what "that might mean" about me as a person, be warned!
Any such thoughts and I'll come haunting you on the astral plane tonight!!). Anyhow, the room ended up looking like nothing you've ever seen; most family, friends and acquaintances informed me that I had made a terrible mistake - but all of them relaxed visibly when I told them that it could be changed quite easily by applying another colour at a later date.
2/9 - Time To Get Started!
Do you remember that story about restoring a house? The most urgent is not necessarily the most important, so at this point, using what we have learned from our "walkabout", we're going to make a plan borrowing a Time Plan system. In this system, we have 4 different priority levels which are tackled one at a time, starting at the top:
- First, that which is both urgent and important.
- Secondly, that which is important but not urgent.
- Thirdly, that which is urgent but not important.
- And fourthly, that which is neither urgent, nor important.
Allow yourself to be guided exclusively by intuition. Always remember that we are dealing with a realm that the conscious mind does not yet understand, and that logic here is often more of a hindrance than a help.
Therefore, find out what needs attention most desperately, right away, and most importantly. This most easily accomplished with looking around and taking note of what you want to do as the first priority.
For some, this might be dealing with a "black spot", for others, a clear problem is built into the very structure of the sanctuary that needs to be addressed before we can go any further.
At this point, people often express dismay at the magnitude of the task ahead.
I remember especially one man - let's call him Bob - who had found a completely overgrown, walled in garden, where everything was either thorny weeds or dead, the ponds and fountains clogged up with sludge and algae and dead leaves, all the manmade structures were collapsed and in ruin, and it was a case of Bob standing there, shaking his head and simply not knowing where to start. But luckily, sanctuary renovation is nothing like working in a real situation. For a start, and seeing that he was so forlorn, I felt he needed some practical help; and so I asked him to call in anyone who would come and aid him in this enterprise.
To his astonishment, the first to materialise were his long dead paternal grandparents who had been farmers, ready equipped with various gardening tools. Past friends he had known forty years ago joined the party, army chums, family members, his wife and children amongst them, as did some people he had never met before, until there were about a hundred willing helpers standing all around him, waiting for him to tell them what to do.
They had to wait a little while longer, because by this time he was in tears. He'd forgotten how many people had wished him well over the years and he had, until that point, considered himself unloved, friendless, and lonely.
He then reported to me that he had that one thought go through his mind, faintly at first, then stronger and stronger until he could "virtually hear it" - "Clear The Weeds!"
And so they set to, and many hands make light work. A mountainous heap of weeds formed in one corner of the garden, which would in time become good compost for the new generation of plants. He thanked everyone most sincerely, and they wished him well and left happily.
Well, it was a start. Bob told me later that he had, on his way home, stopped off at a gardening centre to look at the plants there to help him get some ideas of how he wanted to design his new garden - something he had never before taken even the slightest interest in. Like so many others, there was a newfound excitement about him and an enthusiasm that was quite new to him.
Of course, there are hundreds of different ways of achieving fast and efficient transformations - all that's required is that it should feel right to the individual person.
2/10 – Transformational Magic
Make no mistake – Project Sanctuary is all about learning and change. You could call it growth or healing, too, but that’s change just as well, only in other words.
The whole object of the exercise is to learn something that will give you the ability and the tools you need to repair what once was broken; to put things to right that once had gone wrong; to recover what was stolen or lost or simply abandoned; to retrieve what was misplaced in time or space and to make your whole self work better all around.
Even those who do Project Sanctuary with the focussed desire for outward and inward bound exploration or to go straight for retrieving their magic or other essential resources, skills, talents or information find invariably that before we can get onto that, some major repair work or change work needs to be done first and as a very high priority.
Now, the greatest disservice in the realms of Project Sanctuary is to think the same as we do here in our daily dealings in The Hard.
Here, it takes much effort to carry big heavy boxes up a steep rocky hill beneath a merciless burning sun.
The Project Sanctuary realms are not like that.
They are quantum realms where time, space, gravity, friction and so forth don’t actually exist at all and they seem to exist ONLY because we assign such qualities to the objects, spaces, creatures and all that resides here.
However, we have thought in terms of The Hard for a very long time, all our lives in fact, and we need to re-learn to think differently when we are dealing with these spaces in which Project Sanctuary resides.
So, and when for example we are faced in Sanctuary with a giant mountain that is blocking our path, our natural and automatic tendency is to “think hard” – i.e. come up with solutions that would be appropriate to a real hard mountain. Such solutions would be to possibly climb it, find a pass, find an underground cavern system so one might travel beneath it instead, use a flying machine to get over it and solutions of this nature.
However, a Sanctuary mountain is NOT made from granite but from the fabric of time and space instead and therefore, it could be instantly made to never have been there at all – just for the price of a single thought of intention that this should be so.
To begin with, this is quite a strange thought and what we need to do to get used to the qualities and sheer possibilities in these realms as well as to begin to understand the many differences in the “laws of nature” that govern our ordinary reality and the Project Sanctuary spaces, we need to bridge this and begin to “think magically” instead.
In the following sections, I am going to give some ideas that bridge between our old thinking and so we begin to learn that overgrown gardens, grey wastelands and rocky hill tops can be tackled in a whole different way.
2/10/1 - Magic
That is the easiest way, but not everyone likes it - it's somehow "too easy". Our friend Bob in the example above could have just imagined holding a magic wand, closed his eyes, stated the desire for the weeds to be gone, and then touched the wand to the ground. The magic could have whirled around the garden, doing the job within seconds. If someone would like to use magic to move a mountain, drain a swamp or whatever and they're not too sure whether it's appropriate, remember that's what the Guide is for: ask for clarification.
I would like to point out that the ability to ask for and to accept plain, simple Deus Ex Machina magic in the sanctuary realm is the first starting point to be asking for, and accepting the possibilities of true magic in all their other many Worlds.
2/10/2 - Magic By Proxy
Of course, in the sanctuary, the owner is the main magician. Not everyone feels comfortable with this idea to start with, but might have no problem in passing the job on to someone else who'll do the magic for them.
Elves, dwarfs, wizards, helpful animals, magical creatures, angels or even a representation of a real person they consider magical and up to the task can all be employed to this end.
There is also the interesting option of creating magical beings for a specific task. These are also known as servitors and can be incredibly useful as they are tasked and send out to do your bidding in their own time, and whilst you give your attention to something else.
2/10/3 - Quantum Time
Time in the sanctuary is as liquid and fluent as is everything else. So, a mountain could virtually be eroded by rain and a hundred thousand years can pass in the blink of an eye. This is handy when planting trees, for example, re-populating rivers with fish or when "growing up inner children".
As your intention is what rules paramount in this space, you set the rules for time in every way, should you choose to do so.
Checking the evolution of a process you have set in action over time, then longer and longer time still, can certainly give you insights on what should be there as the seed at the beginning and make it a lot easier to decide on what it is you’re trying to do, and how you are planning to do this.
2/10/4 - Time Travel
Sometimes there may have been a time before everything fell to rack and ruin. In this case, a bit of time travel can be the most efficient way to undo the harm by going back into the past and dealing with that which caused the problem in the first place. It is often one of my first choices, especially when faced with a multitude of problems that would take too long to tackle individually.
For more advanced users, time travel can become very interesting when you don’t just go back and forwards in time but also sideways and across. This clearly leads into Multiverse spaces which hold alternatives that may never have been considered before.
2/10/5 - The Sci-Fi Approach
For those who feel this way inclined, machinery - both terran and alien - can be used to create the miracles required. Someone who had to deal with a vast desert of quicksand used a large spaceship with massive lasers to fuse the sand so that there would be a firm foundation for him to build on.
Aliens with special powers, crystalline entities or human Super Heroes - like the Marvel Comic Characters, Superman etc - have also helped out in the past, and with one particularly problematic youngster, bringing in the Power Rangers was the turning point for both of us.
2/10/6 - Construction Crews
If you feel a need to re-create the pyramids, there's nothing to stop you from hiring the entire original cast of thousands to do it for you whilst you sleep. Every kind of large scale project that has ever been undertaken in human history (and you need not confine yourself to the current chapter, Atlantean and Lemurian skilled crews are out there waiting for you to call on them as well!) can be undertaken for you, should you wish to order it done; ranging from bridge building to desert re-planting or large scale industrial de-contamination.
2/10/7 - DIY (Do It Yourself)
Sometimes there seems to be a real need for becoming "physical" and moving something brick by brick, as it were. One client who had a very small meadow enclosed by traditional stone walls, reported that they spent a whole evening hacking away, pushing, carrying, shoving to create an opening - sitting on their couch, eyes closed, and sweat pouring off them! Another wanted badly to take a shovel and, in the wilderness, start to dig the foundations for their kingdom - without anyone's help, just them doing it. A friend of mine reported having spend two whole weeks, every night before going to sleep, painstakingly covering a rock face in murals. Well, whatever turns you on ... (!)
2/11 – Doing It Right
Is there a right way and a wrong way to do these things?
Yes. There is only one right way to do it, and that is to do it so it feels congruently right and completely appropriate to YOU.
The wrong way for you is to do anything that feels wrong to you, or to do it as you think "it ought to be done".
Here is now the time and the place to let go of any "musts", "shoulds", and "ought to's" and to turn to wants, needs and "I can do" instead.
I would also suggest at this point that it is extremely important to be true to yourself and not to pretend you're more enlightened than you really are.
No-one, including the soul mates from the healing group, will ever know what goes on within your sanctuary space; so if in truth you'd rather have a huge pot of gold and twelve scantily clad nymphomaniac nymphs than an enlightened pink angel oozing unconditional platonic love, please feel absolutely free to go for it.
Trust yourself to know what is good for you and what you need, right here, right now.
If you're unsure about a particular situation, leave it, or freeze frame it by stopping time for a time, and ask for general guidance from the good old Universe, question your Guide specifically, or both.
There's no need to hurry. Rome wasn't built in a day, and it's been god knows how many years that your sanctuary has been as it is now, so a few more days won't make much difference.
2/12 – The Ecology Of Project Sanctuary
Project Sanctuary is a way of making the existing ecology of your systems visible and directly noticeable as you explore what there is, see possible problem areas, become aware of things that are not as they should be, and begin to make some changes.
The changes you make have of course, ripple-on feedback effects. These follow-on effects are also termed “ecology” in many schools of human psychology because it is a fact that the human mind and the human body in all it’s strata, levels and layers is incredibly interlinked – what happens in one part of this system necessarily affects other parts of the system, often in a most unpredictable fashion.
Here is an example that is both a metaphor as well as a real, true story. In the 70's some people thought it was a good idea to straighten the river Rhine to cut off some travelling time for the commercial shipping industry as it wound its way in many loops through the lowlands on its way to the sea.
They were then thinking just "river" and "travelling time". I guess such a thing had never been attempted before on this scale and so there was no precedence to warn them or say, “Well aren't you forgetting something here, guys?”, before they sent in the big diggers.
This is what happened. The river became way too fast and silted up immediately, making it quickly too shallow for the bigger boats. This also eroded the banks and destroyed entire eco-systems on the way. The water table in various areas collapsed entirely and whole towns fell into holes in the ground, as they were no longer supported by the water from beneath; in other places sea water got into the water table and poisoned vast tracts of agricultural land. Loads of species died out. They had created true ecological nightmare that affected so much, it was scary. It cost billions to not put it to rights but just to fire-fight the whole thing into some kind of functionality once more and this is still going on in many ways today. What there once was, cannot be retrieved or recovered and what there is now, is debatable as to how useful that is in the greater scheme of things.
This is “hard” ecology.
When you make changes to your own internal ecology, this will happen too – and in the process it will teach you immediately and with direct feedback what the strands of connection that hold your internal worlds together are really like.
To learn about your own ecology is one of the most amazing as well as useful endeavours you could want to engage in, and there is another point of course I will repeat a number of times throughout this book, namely to remember that:
Project Sanctuary is a quantum realm in which you can learn in absolute safety.
Should you create an ecology disaster like the straightening of the river Rhine, you are NOT stuck with the terrible repercussions. You can change it immediately back to the way it was before and you have the opportunity to learn in absolute safety a very important lesson, and then you can back and try a different approach, a different solution to the problem in hand, one that won’t hurt your ecology but that works with your ecology to produce an outstanding and ecological solution.
At this point, it might be nice for you, if you haven't already done so by now, to go inside and check out your very own sanctuary, and get an idea of what you will want to do, in what order, and how to do it. If you're ready, start making some changes for the better - expand it a little, clear it up, deal with any structural problems.
Then go and simply be there for a while - is it beginning to feel truly good?
Even a small and incomplete sanctuary, if it feels like "coming home", is a perfect place to rest awhile whenever you need it.
But it can be far more than that. Far, far more.