Exercise and Alterations of Consciousness–A Sethian Perspective

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(From a talk given at the ‘DoNorth, October 1999, Toronto, Canada by Denny Hall.) Exercise, we all know, is uncomfortable, painful and seems to take forever, right?. But these are all beliefs, other examples of which are “Exercise is no fun at all!”, “Exercise is masculine and I’m not”, “Mental exercise is superior to physical exercise”, “The body is a machine and I’m about worn out!”, “Exercise is animalistic and gross–all that sweating and grunting!”, “I am too tired to exercise”, and “I’m not a physically-inclined person”. What do you believe about exercise? One can try to discover such by using various Sethian techniques. Among them, they include viewing unpleasant memories as reflections of beliefs. Seth has said, also, that to change a belief, choose an opposite belief and go through a scenario--your typical day, for example--and see where your resistances are, as they will indicate opposing, conflicting beliefs you still hold. Another technique include using associative reverie; that is, daydreaming, to discover belief conflicts, dream work of various sorts and so on. Here is a well-known Seth quotation which I ask you, now, to read, but doing so in light of your beliefs about exercising and the body: “You form the fabric of your experience through your own beliefs and expectations. These personal ideas about yourself and the nature of reality will affect your thoughts and emotions. You take your beliefs about reality as truths and often do not question them. They seem self-explanatory. They appear in your mind as statements of fact, far too obvious for examination. “Therefore they are accepted without question too often. They are not recognized as beliefs about reality, but are instead considered as characteristics of reality itself...They become invisible assumptions, but they nevertheless color your experience.” [The Nature of Personal Reality, pp 19-20] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I began to question my own assumptions and beliefs about exercising when I, a somewhat bookish type, read about the various altered states of consciousness that athletes have reported. These included time compression (“psychological time” in Seth’s terms), feelings of bliss and ‘universal oneness” (Seth’s “state of grace”), visions of various sorts, and out-of-body experiences. Powerful transcendental experiences, indeed, and one’s that didn’t start with a book! One of my first experiences with perceiving, while exercising, the body as energy began with some tai chi classes wherein the instructor asked us to feel the molecules in the air passing over our skin, or feel the energy between our outstretched hands. To my surprise, I did. Later, I was fortunate enough to take some yoga classes with an instructor who spent a lot of time talking about feeling the spaces between bones. I was a little intellectually scandalized, I admit, but there was an intuitive truth elicited from what she said that I was able to perceive. A Sethi
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