Many wonder why they need to practice exercises for their spiritual development. The truth is that while it would be nice to just flip a switch and have all our abilities functional, it does not work that way. Just as we physically exercise our bodies, we need to exercise our spiritual abilities. Both build muscles. You may not yet know your spiritual abilities. They may not be under control or open to you unless you know how to work with them. Often a haphazard experience will trigger things leading us into events we do not understand. Taking a positive approach helps us avoid wrong turns, pulled mental hamstrings, or worse. By understanding that exercises are designed to help you do things properly and gain control over your abilities (we all have them), it really is going to make a huge difference.
In order to open a channel to guidance, connect with your Inner Spirit, meditate, journey, grasp clairsentient abilities, or weave energy, it is vitally important to be able to concentrate. All your attention must be on accomplishing what you are setting out to do. That means a focused mind, the use of the imagination to get you started, and then going beyond that gradually to explore what you are capable of achieving. We need to study and understand how our spiritual nature functions in order to work with it. Concentration and a focused mind allow you to gain control, and exercises help you to do just that. Meditation and guided visualization will help you begin to open channels to guidance, other dimensions, and spiritual growth as you develop your skills. Doing this leads to self-empowerment and many exciting experiences that add to your growth through the knowledge they bring you.
When you are starting out, the time you devote to these exercises must be set aside and kept brief, gradually building to longer periods. Fifteen- to twenty- minute sessions are enough; we should never push ourselves to the point of exhaustion or beyond comfortable limits. It is also important to make it part of your daily routine, so pick a convenient time each day. It establishes a routine that your Guides and Spirit Helpers can focus on to assist you from the Other side, too. As you become more accomplished and your comfort level grows, you can extend the sessions gradually until you are doing an hour or more if you like.
You will discover that your awareness sharpens along with your ability to recall more of what you are learning. Your sensory impressions go right along with that, and your awareness starts to expand like a radar system. Mental agility, efficiency in getting things done on a daily basis, responsiveness to energy signatures and shifts, etc. will begin to show. You will start feeling the control come into not only your spiritual development but its function within daily life, too. Exercises assist you in training your mind to respond to your intentions instead of controlling you with distractions. Initially you will explore an intangible reality, and the mind likes tangibility. Abstract thought calls for concentration to understand and accept the intangible. The mind is a creature of habit; its logic is based in the reality found as we experience things as well as what we have been taught. A disciplined routine helps to retrain the mind to accept the spiritual realities, and we train the mind through focus, relaxation, and breathing exercises as we learn to meditate and journey shamanically.
If you do not discipline yourself, opting to take a haphazard approach instead, you are not going to get very far or gain the control you want. It does take dedication to open up to your senses, and it will take practice to bring them under control. This is building sensory muscle. If you are a serious student the exercises are going to be your best friend, because once mastered, they lead to everything else. Now, while all traditions offer similar techniques, sticking with one of your choosing initially is going to be less confusing. There is nothing like the exhilarating rush that comes when passion arouses our interest. You must be willing to put in the effort for at least a month before looking for another technique. It is perfectly okay to work on different areas at the same time, and exercises for mind control along with those for sentient abilities make a great combination. You should not be disappointed if you do not get immediate results. Sometimes the door hinges get darned rusty, and repetition in your efforts oils them. Then the doors to spiritual understanding, your abilities, and higher awareness will start to open for you. There is nothing like making a connection with your Inner Spirit or your Guides, and exercises help you do just that.
The mind loves to chatter, it loves to be in control, and it loves to wander all over the place. If your mind thinks it is losing control it will jump from one thing to the next, trying to get it back. We have to train it through repetition. When the mind starts to run amok, all we have to do is bring it back to the point of focus, gently or firmly as the case may be, but without judgment or self-recrimination for wandering thoughts. We all have them, and it does not matter how seasoned we are—there are times the mind just refuses to focus. If you are ill, stressed, or feeling pressured, it is best not to exercise until you have regained your composure.
Breathing exercises train the body to enter into a more relaxed state and slow down the system and heart rate, promoting vibratory rate changes to our energy levels, which calms them. These exercises call for inhaling and holding the breath for a count and exhaling with the same count. Pushing yourself to achieve can cause stress, so if you are just starting out, set a pace in accordance with your own comfort level. If you can do a count of ten—inhaling, holding, and exhaling—that is wonderful, but if your count is five, then start there and increase it with practice. When holding your breath, let it flow gently in, hold it, and then release it. If the body and mind are not relaxed, you will find you have a wandering, fidgeting, fussy condition that hinders developmental processes. You are dealing with distraction instead of focus, so training the mind and body is important. This means finding a comfortable position and environment where you will not be disturbed.
Different exercises lead to different experiences, and you may find yourself with several that you want to work with. Mind and breath exercises can be combined, essentially accomplishing two things at once while entering into experiences that are more spiritual at the same time. Different forms of meditation will bring you to various experiences, too. As you develop your skills, they open the door to shamanic journeys, deep inner journeys to your spirit, projections, and out-of-body experiences. It begins with the exercises to achieve a balanced state of disciplined control, and with that comes a growing sense of self-empowerment.
Those experiences leading to journeys and projections all begin with the imagination as you work with guided visualization exercises and expand from there. By learning to work with energy this way, you are learning how to co-create with Spirit or interact with your Guides and Spirit Helpers. Sensory exercises will develop your sensory awareness, raising that into a conscious state and allowing it to become second nature for you. You will begin to hold these Guides and Helpers in your awareness and sensitize yourself to the triggers that set them off. By learning that your radar picks up blips on the screen of life, they will assist you to move through it. Spiritual development enhances mundane life, too. Sensory ability is not restricted to the physical reality; however, the physical reality can block spiritual development. Exercises help us overcome our fears, blockages, and perceptive obstacles.
Daily exercises are important, too; the steadier you are with your practice sessions, the faster you will achieve your goals. Daily exercise develops both your sensory and conscious awareness, bringing the two into balance. You will learn you are capable of shifting your perspectives as needed, and can literally walk between the physical and spiritual realities. You will begin to function on a much higher level because of it. The steps you take with exercises will lay the foundations you need. Once those foundations are in place, any tradition you want to explore is going to make more sense. This is because you will have something of your own to relate to those teachings. The universal truths are everywhere, and different traditions present them in a myriad of ways to meet the different ways people grasp things.
Medicine Woman, Non-Denominational Minister, Spiritual Life Coach, and Clairsentient Reader Cinnamon Moon has spent 40 years in service. Her book A Medicine Woman Speaks was published out of her love of sharing experiences and knowledge. Today she runs workshops, seminars, and a radio show through her online site.