How to Do Spiritual Exercises
This is an excerpt from the book, Spiritual Warrior: The Art of Spiritual Living, by John-Roger, which is available in bookstores nationwide.
A common question asked by people new to spiritual exercises (s.e.'s) is, 'Where do I start?' The answer I give is, 'The only wrong way to do s.e.'s is not to do them,' so there are no rules, rituals, or postures that are necessary to begin your practice. Mostly, s.e.'s are an action of the heart, in which the approach is one of devotion and a clear intention to know Spirit and God in a greater way.
Having said that, for those people who would like to have some form of methodology so they can begin their s.e.'s, here is a step-by-step procedure as a suggestion for doing fifteen minutes of s.e.'s.
1. Find a quiet place with low lighting and a comfortable chair to sit in. It's best not to listen to music while doing s.e.'s (although it's fine to listen to music while getting ready to start).
2. Sit upright, if possible, and close your eyes; sitting upright will assist you in staying present and aware.
3. Call yourself forward into the Light for the highest good, and ask for protection and guidance during your s.e.'s.
4. Chant the HU (pronounced H-U or hue) or the Ani-HU (pronounced AHN-EYE-HUE), which are sacred names of God. It's preferable to do this inwardly (silently).
5. While chanting, focus your attention in the area near the center of the head directly back from your forehead. It is in this place that the Soul has its seat and the Soul energy gathers.
6. After you have chanted for about five minutes, stop and listen within. You are listening for the Sound Current, which is very subtle. You may hear it the first time you do this, or it may take years of practice. It is a very individual matter.
7. If you find your mind wandering and you lose the focus of listening, you can focus the mind by chanting again.
8. After about five minutes of listening, you can either continue to listen and look inside or return to chanting again. The times are approximate, of course, The idea is to spend time in s.e.'s doing both chanting and listening.
9. If you see the color purple coming from the right or center of your head, you can allow yourself to follow this inwardly, for this is a form taken by the energy from the highest source of Light and Sound when it is awakening people to an awareness of their Soul. This is known as the Mystical Traveler Consciousness. If the color (or any other form) is coming from the left side, we advise not following it because this is often a negative or deceptive influence. (All this applies to seeing inwardly.)
10. After about five minutes more, you can open your eyes. You may want to wiggle your fingers and toes to bring the energy back into your physical body. And so ends your fifteen-minute session of s.e.'s.
Through daily practice, you can gradually build on this time period until you reach the recommended time of two hours a day. For longer periods of s.e.'s, you can expand the time for chanting and listening to fifteen minutes each. For example, in an hour session of s.e.'s, you can chant for fifteen minutes, listen for fifteen minutes, and then repeat the chanting-and-listening cycle one more time.
All of the above are guidelines, and it's important to remember that the only wrong way to do s.e.'s is not to do them. So you can experiment with how you do s.e.'s, using what works for you at a particular time and not getting attached to a certain form. And, again, the focus is on doing your spiritual exercises with as much loving and devotion to God as you can.
I've often said, 'Boy, how I wish you could do your spiritual exercises like you can get involved in your fantasies and thought forms! You'd be in the Soul realm immediately!'