Appreciating Inner Images

One of the most powerful ways to help people open up to divine guidance is to assist them in exploring key images that they receive inwardly. These images might come during a dream, but also while engaging in activity, or during quiet time, worship, or prayer. The soul communicates in innumerable ways, including words and even puns. In my book A Guide to Faithfulness Groups, I speak about images as a form of soul expression:

Images are a more primary language for the soul than words, and for many they are an important way to receive inward spiritual guidance. Some inner images that come in prayer, meditation, or dreams contain great wisdom and truth. If contemplated, they may assist in needed transformation or healing or provide guidance leading toward a new way of doing things, a service that may be required, or the best possible future. Simply focusing on an image and allowing it to affect all one’s inner senses can help a person receive the wisdom, healing, and transforming power the image conveys.

In the book I share an image that came to me more than once during some of my deepest experiences of meeting for worship in the years while I was living at Pendle Hill:

Primeval Forest

Several times, during moments of great inner stillness at the morning meeting for worship at Pendle Hill Retreat Center, I have had an impression of being in a primeval forest, unspoiled, wild, and natural. My deep interior silence was accompanied by a sense of awe. I felt surrounded, supported, and sustained by the ancient forest to the core of my being.

When I explored the image, I felt a holy power and a sense of great fertility, of unlimited possibilities. The image reminded me that the land on which Pendle Hill stands was once unspoiled forest inhabited by the Lenni Lenape people. But the primeval forest that I sensed was older even than any human inhabitants. It existed prior to human beings.

When I recollect this primeval forest, the image has the power to help me touch into the state I experience in a deeply gathered silent meeting for worship with others. The holy, original forest is a metaphor for the Ground of Being, the fertile matrix of all life that we call God. The Ground of Being is a pure state of consciousness, undisturbed by fear, greed, alienation, or attachment. Recalling this image helps me connect to a sacred state of oneness with God and with all things, a state that contains great healing power and unlimited potential.

Recalling this image and the state I was in while experiencing it still has the power to shift my awareness toward the sparkling source of all life. When someone shares such images in the context of a spiritual friendship, clearness committee, or faithfulness group, gentle questions can be asked to help the person notice and savor them. Receptive attention to these images may open them to reveal both wisdom and guidance.

More information about faithfulness groups can be found HERE, including links to videos and to a pdf of the 4-page guidelines.

© 2022 Marcelle Martin

A Guide to Faithfulness Groups explains what faithfulness is and how it can be cultivated by small groups that practice ways to listen inwardly together for divine guidance, a practice that holds great potential for supporting individuals of any faith in allowing the work of the Spirit to become manifest through them and their communities.

About friendmarcelle

A Quaker writer, teacher, workshop leader, and spiritual director, I've traveled widely to facilitate workshops and retreats about the spiritual journey. I'm the author of Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey, and A Guide to Faithfulness Groups.
This entry was posted in Contemplative spirituality, healing, Quaker Faith Today, spiritual practices, Supporting Spirit-led Ministry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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