A Mycelial Meditation and Visualization
By Mara Fae Penfil
Learning about our mental state
and behaviors through the lens of mycology
For most effective practice, this visualization meditation should be read aloud by a skilled facilitator. If helpful, it can be recorded for personal and private use only. During this visualization you will have the chance to explore through the lens of fungi how your energy interacts with the world around you. In a space that is safe and relaxing for you, take your time reading through and meditating on each of the following lines.
Artwork on right by Arianna Wasserman
In a comfortable seated position or lying down, close your eyes and take a moment to ground. Begin by bringing your attention to your breath. Breath in deeply and slowly, allowing your stomach to fill up on the inhale. When your breath reaches the back of your throat, pause momentarily. Now exhale slowly, allowing your body to relax with your out breath. Again, breathe in to fill your lungs fully, and breath out to empty them completely. Take a moment to simply be still in the presence of your breath.
Allow your mind to filter through all the activities from the past few days, acknowledge each thought that arises and then let them all melt away. Allow your mind to be still. Allow your mind to find a clear space to rest and to be present in this meditation. Continue to focus on your breathing: take a deep breath in, and open your mouth to exhale. Again, take a deep breath in, and release with a big open mouth exhale clearing any stale air your lungs are still holding on to. Keeping your eyes closed, let your breath return to it’s natural rhythm.
In your daily walk here on Earth, you are intimately familiar with a duality that is about you; there is the landscape of your inner world, tended to by your many personal thoughts and feelings, and there is what is outside of yourself in the communal world, tended to by the many forces of the universe at large. Between your inner and outer landscapes lies a barrier in which these two worlds meet. This barrier, like that of a cell membrane, is semi-permeable, allowing or blocking the flow of various energies between yourself and the world that surrounds you.
Imagine you walk into a kitchen where your favorite home cooked meal is being prepared; how do the fragrances that surround you affect your being? What memories arise from the essence of these smells?
Imagine that you are walking away from a heated conversation with a family member; how has this interaction impacted you and your mood? What feelings and emotions arise for you in this moment?
Imagine that you are standing in a field outside as the first drops of rain begin to fall after several weeks of dry weather; how do you respond to this change? What energy do you emote and give back to the world that nurtures you?
Each and every one of us has our own way of responding to external stimuli such as these. Each one of us allows different pieces of these experiences to penetrate our energy membrane and mend our internal landscapes. Remember to breathe.
Take a moment to reflect:
What from the outer environment today has permeated your energy membrane and entered your inner world? How has this passage of energy affected or altered your inner landscape? In exchange, how has this impacted the way in which you interact with the other living organisms and environments that surround you?
As you reflect, expand your vision.
Begin to reflect on the interactions between these two worlds over the past week.
Begin to reflect on your interactions over the past month.
Begin to reflect over the past year.
Overall, how would you describe the relationship between your inner and outer worlds?
Now, imagine that your inner world is a large body of mycelium and the energy membrane represents how you interlace and connect with the environment around you.
When you meet at the membrane, are you mycorrhizal in nature, working in tandem with other organisms, sharing nutrients and energy? How have you shared in this way?
Perhaps your world has been filled with things that don’t quite serve you – In this case, do you act saprophytically? Do you utilize your energy to transform these things into that which does feed you and, inevitably, other organisms in your environment?
When you feel things outside of yourself that are harming others, do you act like the fungi that bioaccumulate heavy metals into their bodies, accumulating the harm that you see into your body, even with no overt use for it, in an effort to simply help those around you?
Even still, have there been times that you have interacted in a more toxic way, resembling pathogenic or parasitic fungi? Maybe you have gravitated and latched on to someone or something in your life and taken energy even when there was none to give. Maybe you left a space to become more toxic than how it was when you first arrived.
Notice if these reflections have been easy or challenging for you. It can be difficult to recognize in what ways you have perhaps overstepped your boundaries, and it can even be difficult to honor yourself for how well you have done in our life. This sort of hard work, seeing yourself fully and truly for who you are, valuing your shadow and your light, is critical for change and for growing in sync with the world that surrounds you, rather than as a separate, isolated piece of creation.
Take another moment to reflect on how you have chosen to interact with the world around you. Begin to slowly shift your focus to what you feel in your heart center. In this space, become aware of the way you have been interacting with the world, if it is something that feels good for you, if it is something that feels painful for you, or if it is a healthy mixture of emotions.
Take a moment to think about how you would alter your responses to allow for healthier interactions between yourself and the outside world. Also, what behaviors are working that you would continue to practice? This space in your heart center is a space that you can always return to, to check in, to reflect and to find your truth. It will not lie to you if you listen for its guidance.
Take a deep breath in, filling up your belly, and then your chest, and when you feel the air swirling in the back of your throat, pause momentarily. Now, open your mouth, and let out a deep and gratifying exhale. Again, breathe in, and release with a big exhale. As you begin to bring awareness back into your physical body, I invite you to roll your thumbs over the tips of each one of your fingers, living for just a moment solely in the sensation that this movement brings.
Take a deep breath in. Whether lying down or in your seated position, raise your arms straight over your head and stretch to lengthen your spine. Take a deep breath in, with your next exhale release your arms by your side. If you are lying down, roll over onto your left side and take a moment to be still in this fetal position. Using your right hand, press into the earth to help you come to a seated position. Keep your eyes closed. Take a deep breath in, open your mouth and exhale.
Before you fully come out of this meditation, I invite you to take this simple way of looking at the world into your everyday interactions of life, learning how to create a balanced flow between your inner and outer landscapes. Be willing to look deep into yourself and from multiple viewpoints. Be courageous to do the hard work it takes to be an ever present and active part of our interconnected lives and the world that supports us. Grow your mycelial body healthy and strong, fruit a life of hard work and love, and sporulate on.
Take a deep breath in, open your mouth and exhale. Now, cup your hands and place them over your closed eyes. Open your eyes into this darkness. Slowly begin to pull your hands down, allowing your eyes to adjust to the light of the day that warms up.
Thank you for allowing me to walk you through this journey.