by Paulo Coelho
The Seed Exercise
Kneel on the ground. Then seat yourself on your heels and bend forward so that your head touches your knees. Stretch your arms behind you. You are now in a fetal position. Relax, releasing all of your tensions. Breathe calmly and deeply. Little by little you will perceive that you are a tiny seed, cradled in the comfort of the earth. Everything around you is warm and delicious. You are in a deep, restful sleep. Suddenly a finger moves. The shoot no longer wants to be a seed; it wants to grow. Slowly you being to move your arms, and then your body will begin to rise, straightening up until you are seated on your heels. Now you begin to lift your body up, and slowly, slowly, you become erect, still kneeling on the ground. The moment has come to break completely through the earth. You begin to rise slowly, placing one foot on the ground, then the other, fighting against the disequilibrium just as a shoot battles to make its own space, until finally you are standing. Imagine the area about you, the sun, the water, the wind, and the birds. Now you are a shoot that is beginning to grow. Slowly raise your arms toward the sky. Then stretch yourself more and more and more and more, as if you want to grasp the enormous sun that shines above you, giving you strength and attracting you. Your body begins to become more and more rigid, all of your muscles strain, and you feel yourself to be growing, growing, growing – you become huge. The tension increases more and more until it becomes painful, unbearable. When you can no longer stand it, scream and open your eyes. Repeat this exercise for seven consecutive days, always at the same time.
The Speed Exercise
Walk for twenty minutes at half the speed at which you normally walk. Pay attention to the details, people, and surroundings. The best time to do this is after lunch. Repeat the exercise for seven days.
- Author to his guide: ‘I explained that in my country the law of return said that people’s deformities and diseases were punishments for mistakes committed in previous incarnations.’ His guide replied: ‘Nonsense. God is not vengeance, God is love. His only form of punishment is to make someone who interrupts a work of love continue it.’
- The guide: ‘The first symptom of the process of our killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the good fight.’
- The guide: ‘When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being. We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice. And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoons.’
The Cruelty Exercise
Every time a thought comes to mind that makes you feel bad about yourself – jealousy, self-pity, envy, hatred, and so on, do the following:
Dig the nail of your index finger into the cuticle of the thumb of the same hand until it becomes quite painful. Concentrate on the pain: it is a physical reflection of the suffering you are going through spiritually. Ease the pressure only when the cruel thought has gone. Repeat this as many times as necessary until the thought has left you, even if this means digging your fingernail into your thumb over and over. Each time it will take longer for the cruel thought to return, and eventually it will disappear altogether, so long as you do not fail to perform the exercise everytime it comes to mind.
The Messenger Ritual
- Sit down and relax completely. Let your mind wander and your thinking flow without restraint. After a while, begin to repeat to yourself, ‘Now I am relaxed, and I am in the deepest kind of sleep.’
- When you feel that your mind is no longer concerned with anything, imagine a billow of fire to your right. Make the flames lively and brilliant. Then quietly say, ‘I order my subconscious to show itself. I order it to open and reveal its magic secrets.’ Wait a bit, and concentrate only on the fire. If an image appears, it will be a manifestation of your subconscious. Try to keep it alive.
- Keeping the fire always to your right, now begin to imagine another billow of fire to your left. When the flames are lively, say the following words quietly: ‘May the power of the Lamb, which manifests itself in everything and everyone, manifest itself also in me when I invoke my messenger. (Name of the messenger) will appear before me now.’
- Talk with your messenger, who should appear between the two fires. Discuss your specific problems, ask for advice, and give him the necessary orders.
- When your conversation has ended, dismiss the messenger with the following words: ‘I thank the Lamb for the miracle I have performed. May (name of the messenger) return whenever he is invoked, and when he is far away, may he help me to carry on my work.’Note: On the first invocation, or during the first invocations, depending on the ability of the person performing the ritual to concentrate, do not say the name of the messenger. Just say, ‘he’. If the ritual is well performed, the messenger should immediately reveal his name telepathically. If not, insist until you learn his name, and only then begin the conversation. The more the ritual is repeated, the stronger the prescence of the messenger will be and the more rapid his actions.
The Arousal of Intuition (The Water Exercise)
Make a puddle of water on a smooth, nonabsorbent surface. Look into the puddle for a while. Then, begin to play with it, without any particular commitment or objective. Make designs that mean absolutely nothing. Do this exercise for a week, allowing at least ten minutes each time. Don’t look for practical results from this exercise; it is simply calling up your intuition, little by little. When this intuition begins to manifest itself at other times of the day, always trust in it.
The Blue Sphere Exercise
Seat yourself comfortably, and relax. Try not to think about anything.
- Feel how good it is to be alive. Let your heart feel free and affectionate; let it rise above and beyond the details of the problems that may be bothering you. Begin to sing softly a song from your childhood. Imagine that your heart is growing, filling the room, and later your home, with an intense, shining blue light.
- When you reach this point, begin to sense the presence of the saints (or other beings) in which you placed your faith when you were a child. Notice that they are present, arriving from everywhere, smiling and giving you faith and confidence.
- Picture the saints approaching you, placing their hands on your head and wishing you love, peace and communion with the world, the communion of the saints.
- When this sensation becomes strong, feel that the blue light is a current that enters you and leaves you like a shining, flowing river. This blue light begins to spread through your house, then through your neighborhood, your city and your country; it eventually envelops the world in an immense blue sphere. This is the manifestation of the great love that goes beyond the day-to-day struggle; it reinforces and invigorates, as it provides energy and peace.
- Keep the light spread around the world for as long as possible. Your heart is open, spreading love. This phase of the exercise should last for a minimum of five minutes.
- Come out of your trance, bit by bit, and return to reality. The saints will remain near. The blue lgiht will continue to spread around the world.This ritual can and should be done with more than one person. When this is the case, the participants should hold hands while they do the exercise.
The Buried Alive Exercise
Lie down on the floor and relax. Cross your arms over your chest in the posture of death. Imagine all of the details of your burial, as if it were to be carried out tomorrow, the only difference being that you are being buried alive. As the situation develops in your mind, the chapel, the procession to the cemetery, the lowering of the casket, the worms in the grave – you begin tensing all of your muscles more and more in a desperate attempt to escape. But you cannot do so. Keep trying until you cannot stand it any longer, and then, using a movement that involes your entire body, throw aside the confines of the coffin, breathe deeply, and find yourself free. This movement will have a greater effect if you scream at the same time; it should be a scream that emanates from the depths of your body.
The Shadows Exercise
Relax completely. For five minutes, study the shadows of all of the objects and people around you. Try to identify exactly which part of the object or person is casting a shadow. For the next five minutes, continue to do this, but at the same time, focus on the problem you are trying to solve. Look for all of the possible wrong solutions to the problem. Finally, spend five more minutes studying the shadows and thinking about what correct solutions remain. Eliminate them, one by one, until only the single correct solution is left.
The Listening Exercise
Relax. Close your eyes. Try for several minutes to concentrate on all of the sounds you hear in your surroundings, as if you were hearing an orchestra playing its instruments. Little by little, try to separate each sound from the others. Concentrate on each one, as if it were the only instrument playing. Try to eliminate the other sounds from your awareness. When you do this exercise every day, you will begin to hear voices. First, you will think that they are imaginary. Later, you will discover that they are voices of people from your past, present, and future, all of them participating with you in the remembrance of time. This exercise should be performed only when you already know the voice of your messenger. Do this exercise for ten minutes at a time.
The Dance Exercise
Relax. Close your eyes. Recall the first songs you heard as a child. Begin to sing them in your thoughts. Little by little, let a certain part of your body, your feet, your stomach, your hands, your head, and so on, but only one part, begin to dance to the melody you are singing. After five minutes, stop singing, and listen to the sounds all around you. Compose an internal melody based on them, and dance to it with your whole body. Don’t think about anything in particular, but try to memorize the images that spontaneously appear. The dance offers an almost perfect means of communication with the Infinite Intelligence. This exercise should last fifteen minutes.
Disclaimer: The key points of the book presented here are not a substitute for reading the book. To get the entire holistic message the author has offered requires reading the book.
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