This guided visualization is based on the path to Shambala, which is a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist and Indian tradition.
Before I begin, please find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
The tea bushes stretch across the hills in neat, perfectly straight rows as far as your eyes can see. The precisely pruned hedges could almost have been transplanted here from an old English topiary garden.
There isn't a soul in sight. A large woven basket of freshly picked tea leaves has been forgotten next to one of the hedges.
On the horizon, you see your destination. The ancient monastery clings precariously to a fold in the ravine under a snow-covered mountain that rears high above the clouds.
After a while, you reach the forest of the foothills. You begin walking on a well-travelled terracotta-coloured path.
Impressions of bird tracks in the soft earth look like tiny arrows pointing you to the place you are travelling.
The track switchbacks gently upwards through a dense forest of rhododendron and pine trees. The rhododendrons are in full bloom. Layers of large scarlet blossoms festoon the deep green leathery leaves.
Shafts of afternoon sunlight slant through the foliage, weaving a tapestry of shade across the forest floor.
The trail reaches a small river, which you cross on an unsteady footbridge. Faded prayer flags hang on one side of the railing, which sways gently in the breeze.
The water below looks fresh and inviting, so you climb carefully down a small animal track to the edge of the river. You take off some clothes beside a shallow pool that has been smoothed and hollowed out over aeons.
Plunging in, the water is cold, but as you immerse your body, all your troubles seem to wash away in the gentle current.
When you climb out of the pool, you feel refreshed. Renewed.
You dry off and continue walking along the path that now starts to wind upward through the forest.
Some people are heading toward you, returning from their pilgrimage. They are dressed in bright flowing clothing that jingles as they skip down the path.
Their eyes are kind, and they smile. As they pass, one of them gives you a deep orange marigold.
As they disappear, you hear their laughter through the forest.
A warm rain begins to fall, and you run over to an abandoned shepherd's hut. It is unlocked, so you can shelter inside.
The strangers who were here before you were kind enough to leave behind a collection of wood in the fireplace and some matches.
Before long, you have a fire going. Blue smoke coils in the still air. As the room warms up, a fragrance of incense permeates the room.
You look around and admire the beautiful woodwork around the window frames and shutters. The carvings have been painted indigo blue, with edgings of teal and red.
Today may not be the day you reach Shambala. For now, the small shepherd's hut feels like a sanctuary with a spirit of deep calm and connection.
You listen to the rain on the roof and the crackle of the fire in the hearth. The noise of the birds you don't know the names of in the forest outside. And you settle down for the night.
〰️ Clara 〰️
I am bringing my favourite outside experiences and imaginings to create visualizations that encourage peace and relaxation.