This inner exercise was taught by Deborah Longo at one of the Wisdom Schools held at Claymont Seminars. It involves in depth directing of ones attention to facilitate 3-centered awareness and relaxation in each center.
When the centers are relaxed and fully present in ones awareness, along with conscious relaxed breathing, we make space inside for the flow of finer energies.
Unnecessary tensions/attachments of the mind, body and feelings block this flow.
Part One: Sensing/Relaxing/Filling
(Take about 10 minutes, more or less, as you practice regularly)
- Choose a sitting position that you can hold comfortably for approximately 30 minutes.
- Become aware of the natural flow of breathing while also being aware of ones vertical alignment.
- Keep one part of the attention on this throughout the exercise.
- Another part of the attention will move from one part of the body to another starting at the top of the head and moving gradually downward to the feet.
- While the attention is on any given part of the body, remain there for several relaxed breaths. Each breath brings the attention deeper into the body. The number of breaths will vary depending on how slow or fast one naturally breathes.
a. First, 1 to 3 breaths become aware of the surface of skin.
b. Second, 1 to 3 breaths become aware of tissues, etc, under skin
c. Third, 1 to 3 breaths become aware of the bone structure under the tissues and skin.
Order of body parts:
- Top of Head
- Cheeks Mouth/Jaws
- Back of Head
- Chest/Upper Back
- Abdominal area/Lower Back
- Pelvic area
After Steps 1 through 5 are completed proceed as follows:
- Bring attention to the bottom of the feet.
- Use the attention to become aware of a subtle filling of sensation rising from the bottom of the feet gradually upward through the limbs, etc. to the top (like water filling a vessel).
- Be aware of full presence of the body filled with sensation.
- Return to the awareness of relaxed breathing and sitting vertically.
- Bring the attention to the in breath and the out breath.
- On the in breath, bring the attention to the center of the chest, aware of the presence of this area. (Feeling in the center of the chest.
- On the out breath, bring the attention to the arms and legs, aware of the presence of the arms and legs, (sensing the presence of the arms and legs or more of the body if that is the experience).
- Now consider that the air you are breathing gives life. On the in breath, with attention on the center of chest, feel gratitude for your life, sensing the body on the out breath.
- Continue in this way, now adding awareness of the group breathing together, feeling gratitude for the life of the group, as you breathe in with attention on the center of the chest. When breathing out be aware of the group presence. (If you are not doing this on a seminar, you can add the awareness of any group of loved ones or friends on the out breathe.)
It is important to have real feeling while also being aware of the presence of the physical body…sensing and consciously breathing in a relaxed way.
The minds work is directing the attention and making the distinction between feeling in the chest area and sensing the arms and legs/body. When truly established we are 3-centered aware.
Part Three: Gurdjieff’s “I AM” Exercise
The exercise begins with relaxation.
When I add this exercise to the above, it’s usually after a few days have passed on a seminar, so we have already spent a considerable amount of time relaxing and becoming three-centered aware.
This exercise also stands on its own, but be sure to do the inner work to be in relaxed three-centered awareness before beginning.
Gurdjieff speaks of this exercise as a way to not only bring in the finer substances in the air we breath, but to enable them to remain inside and become part of us as nourishment for the growth of our soul.
However, he does stress the need to do this intentionally with relaxed 3-centered awareness in order for the exercise to be effective as soul nourishment.
After preparation, bring attention to the center of the chest, while breathing in and saying “I” inwardly. (“I” representing the Higher Self or the Sacred within or the Mystery or a yearning for a connection to this, if it is not felt).
While doing this, also be aware that with intention and relaxed three-centered awareness, finer substances or elements in the air we breathe are being drawn inside.
Some of these remain as we breath out, saying inwardly, “AM”, while sensing the physical body/limbs etc.
Sometimes when feeling and sensing are strong the two become blended while doing the exercise.
Also, as one is strongly in a state of relaxation, while consciously breathing with 3-centered awareness, Gurdjieff says that we not only breathe in finer substances through our lungs, but they can also soak or breath in through the pours of our skin.
Exercise #2: Shorter Exercise
I’m also including the shorter exercise that I created for the Facebook Wisdom Communities 8-week Inner Tasks last fall, as it can be done quickly and almost anywhere.
I find this practice to be extraordinarily helpful throughout the day, no matter what I am doing.
The aim of this exercise is to be in relaxed stillness of body, mind and feelings in order to open the way for Sacred Influence and Peace within.
With practice, it can be completed in seconds or under a minute!
- Become aware of breathing in and breathing out in your natural flow of breathing. Maintain this while doing all steps.
- Bring your attention to your mind. Invite quiet mind. Allow the thoughts to subside. (It can be helpful, when the thoughts continue to be chatty, to say inwardly “in”, when breathing in and to say inwardly“out”, when breathing out).
- Bring your attention to the center of the chest. Invite calm feelings.
- Bring your attention to your physical body. Invite relaxation.
- Be in relaxed stillness of mind, feelings and body remembering to breath consciously.
- Be aware that there may be others in our circle doing the same inner practice at the weekly designated time.
- Breathe a breath of Gratitude and Love for all.
You can listen to Deborah giving this exercise at a recent Wisdom School.