On this page we offer a variety of practices and study materials from the school. Much of the school’s study material has been collated and edited into two volumes entitled “Inner Work I and II” by Reshad Feild. This material, along with the writings of the Sufi masters, in particular the Three Poles, constitute the focus of this school’s written text-based studies.
This school works with practices to assist in the process of transformation. The right practices, performed on a regular basis and with the right motive, can help us build a stable centre which is indispensable to walk on this path and be of any real help to others.
Some of these practices are offered below. While greatly effective, they are also very simple in their structure. These practices have been chosen to provide safe help in living our ordinary lives. Generally practices from various traditions should not be mixed, and it is essential to investigate your motive and intention before beginning a practice regime. They can all be carried out in a few minutes. A basic 24-day programme, including these basic practices, is published in Inner Work I.
The students of this school work with the material offered on this site and more. If you wish, you may contact a regional group or just feel welcome to attend one of the breathing groups in several Western European cities.
Particularly valuable are extracts from Reshad Feild's lectures. It is intended to offer here an increasing number of edited audio and video materials of his lectures in the near future.
The 7-1-7-Breathing Exercise The Mother's Breath The secret of life is in the breath. We come into this world on the breath and we go out on the breath; but if we are not awake to breath, we will surely die asleep to the reality of life itself. Breath is life.
Method Sit in a hard-backed chair. Keeping your back straight, without forcing it, will allow the flow of energy to move as it should. With practice your back will straighten naturally. Place your feet flat on the floor, with heels together and toes apart forming a triangle. Legs should be uncrossed. Arms should be relaxed and if possible in an unstressed position; hands should rest on knees. The solar plexus has two subsidiary centres, which are located in the knees. The knees are highly sensitive instruments. If you focus your attention on your knees while blindfolded, you can sense that the knees send out a beam of energy. You will not walk into a wall due to the inner sense that comes from the area of your knees. Do this practice for about ten minutes and no longer. It can be done several times a day with safety. All of these practices are to help us to see God’s beauty and to live beautiful lives. Before you start the conscious breathing practice, visualise the most beautiful object in nature you can imagine. It could be a plant, a tree, a waterfall, the sea, or whatever means something real to you. For this practice, the eyes can be open or closed. Either way, focus on a point approximately eight feet in front of you. If your eyes are closed, then put the picture of whatever you’ve chosen in front of you through visualisation. If you are focussing on an object, put it as close to eight feet away from you as you can. Do not meditate on a candle in this practice. This is very important. The object of the visualisation is to help you focus your attention, not to meditate on the object itself. Now we come to this sacred rhythm, this 7-1-7-1-7 rhythm of the Mother’s Breath, about which I have spoken in former books and which I have been teaching for so long. The rhythm came from ancient Egypt, and there are many hieroglyphics showing how this practice, and others, are done. The method is simple though initially it may seem difficult since we are used to just breathing without any form of attention or consciousness. You are going to breathe into the solar plexus for the count of seven, pause for one count, and then for another seven counts radiate out breath from the “heart centre”, as we call the point in the centre of the chest. You may notice that the rhythm corresponds exactly to the octave in music. Please remember that it is not the speed that counts, be it slow or relatively fast. It is the actual number of counts that we are talking about. Choose the speed that suits you. First, find a point in the centre of your solar plexus area, and also the heart centre. Breathe into the solar plexus for the count of seven and from fourteen directions simultaneously, from in front and behind, from above and below, from left and right, as well as from the remaining eight diagonals. As you breathe, bring in all the elements of the earth, the minerals - you can even breathe in vitamins by choice if you wish! - and fill yourself with all that the body and its subtle counterparts need. Do not be embarrassed about taking what you need in the understanding that all this is done in the name of service. Having breathed in for the count of seven, pause for one count and at the same time, bring your attention to the centre of the chest. Then breathe out for the count of seven. As you breathe out, radiate love and goodwill to all mankind from the centre of the chest in the same fourteen directions, as if you are a lighthouse for the ships that are entering the harbour. At this point, there is a tremendous sense of wonder and gratitude in the realisation that, indeed, we are able to serve our fellow human beings and the planet itself. To complete the practice, return to the senses. As in other practices, feel your body and take responsibility for it once more. Be awake to the room or the surroundings, and finally agree that you have fulfilled what you set out to do. We can choose the quality of the air that we breathe. As you progress in the practice, through correct visualisation, you can breathe the air that is circulating in certain sacred areas of the planet, without leaving the chair upon which you are sitting. The last step in the practice, which, after all, is an alchemical process, is the refining of the breath. Begin taking only us much breath as you actually need and are given. This should require as little effort as the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings. There is no more need to force the breath. In a sense, at this stage, you are not breathing. Rather, you are being breathed. Breath is life! This is the still point in a waiting world.
The Decision Exercise Most of us are never taught that there are two types of thought pattern. There are night thoughts as well as day thoughts, just as there are daydreams and the dreams we have at night. There are obviously things that we do after the sun goes down which are better attended to at that time rather than during the day. It is the same the other way round. This is important to understand.
Through this practice, little by little, we begin to build a blend of these two patterns of thought. This has the effect of providing us with a certain type of will which we did not have before. The simplicity of the practice should not mislead us into trying to make it more complicated than advocated, for the sake of getting something extra out of it.
Method Before retiring to bed, having put yourself into a calm frame of mind with the use of the 7-1-7-Breathing Practice, visualise something that needs to be completed in your house or garden that will take no longer than five minutes. The task should be extremely simple, such as cleaning a pair of shoes, or emptying out a cupboard that you have been avoiding for so long. In the garden, you might weed a border, trim a hedge, or simply sweep the pavement. All of this is essentially simple. I learned a version of this practice when I was in the boy scouts! There is nothing new in what you will be doing since these things are done every day. However, the key words here are decision and visualisation, and they are used to bring us into a greater state of awareness. The next step in the practice is to visualise, in detail, the job that you decided to do the next day. You need to be meticulous about this visualisation. For example, if your decision was to clean a pair of shoes, then you would visualise where the shoes were, see yourself getting them out of the wardrobe and placing them in a suitable spot. You would then see yourself putting down a newspaper, and taking out the polish and brushes from where they were kept. Proceed with the visualisation until the cleaning process saw its completion, finally returning the shoes to the wardrobe, the polish and brushes to their cupboard and throwing away the newspaper. A portion of us will try to resist this decision that we have made, providing all sorts of excuses as to why this seems so trite, or by saying that there is no time. This is exactly the part of us that needs to come under the command of the higher self until it is willing to co-operate in every way. At the end of this visualisation, therefore, try to be sure that all of you is willing to complete the task the next day. The second part of the practice is done in the morning and is, of course, completing the visualisation that was done the night before. First you re-make the decision to do the task and then remember all the steps in the process and the time that it is to be done. At that time, follow all the details that you visualised until you have finished the job. Every act should be an act of awareness as you observe the body fulfilling the job that was started in the mind, employing the pattern of night thoughts. When the task is over, agree that you have completed it and the time and in the manner that you decided, and then go about your business.
The Present Moment Exercise Obviously, without being in the present moment, we will not do well as conscious human beings. Either we will be working from opinions based on the past, or day-dreaming into the future. Thus any practices which help us to come into the present moment with every part of our being, and with every cell of our bodies, will be beneficial, not to ourselves alone, but for the good of the whole.
It is almost our obligation to collect ourselves and thus be able to serve better. Before any act of service is done, whether to do with human beings, animals, birds, the vegetable kingdom or the planet itself, become aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you. The mind is like a wild horse which has to be tamed and made our friend. Time can then be on our side. As we all no doubt know, it is the mind, with all its many and complicated facets, plus the emotions, which constitute most of our physical illness. We also know that every cell of the body has consciousness and is continuously being changed. In order for there to be proper flow within us, the mind has to be harnessed and the body and its organs reminded of their proper function. This practice is geared to this end. The Present Moment Practice can be practised at any time that you feel it is necessary. After completing the 24-Days Programme, it should be possible to be in the present moment with just the use of breath, the visualisation of the practice, and the memory of the work you have done with it.
Method Sit with you back straight, but without any tension. Put your hands on your knees and both your feet firmly on the ground. You may close your eyes or keep them open. Now put your attention on the top of the head. Imagine loving attention or a waterfall of light flowing from this point down your entire body. Very carefully, relax all the muscles you will encounter. Make this practice a present for yourself. Enjoy it. Be nice to yourself. Now let your loving attention flow from the top of your head downwards, paying particular attention to the forehead, the temples, the cheeks, and the lips. Remember the eyes and eyelids, the eyelashes, the eye sockets, the sinuses, the tongue, the palate, the teeth, both the inner and outer ear. Do not miss the cerebrum and the cerebellum, the pituitary and the pineal gland. Think of the windpipe and the gullet, the larynx and the thyroid gland. When you have done this, then bring this energy of attention down the right side of your body from the neck and shoulders. Start with the tension in the shoulders and shoulder blades, letting go of any tension that you find there. Bring your attention down the right arm, remembering the bones, the muscles, the tendons, the nerves, and the veins. Remember the elbow, the wrist, the pal, as well as the hand as a whole and each finger individually. Now return to the right shoulder and bring your loving attention down the right side of the body, again noting if there is any tension or if there are parts which need special care and attention. Remember the lungs, the ribs, the diaphragm, the liver, the kidney, the pancreas, the bowels, the pelvis, the hip, the buttocks, the thigh, the knee, the lower leg, the ankle, the foot, and the toes. When this is completed, return to the left shoulder and repeat the practice, moving down the left arm first and then down the left side, bringing light and loving attention to the whole of your body’s left side. Finally, bring your attention once more to the top of the head and like a zipper join both sides of the body together, remembering the spinal cord and the nerves and organs in the middle. Within seconds and as though with one sweep, bring light and relaxation once more to the whole of the body, anchoring it to the ground. If your eyes have been closed, open them very slowly and look around once again at the space in which you are sitting. Sense how you are feeling; watch the rise and fall of your breath and be very still. There is nothing to fear; there is only to be.
The End-of-Day Clearing Exercise It is inevitable that throughout our day there is a build-up of unredeemed thought-forms which can be carried over into the next day. It is important that we clear these thoughts so they do not become our motivators. This 24-Days Programme is geared to both bringing us into the present moment and increasing the flow of life force. In this context, many people have said that the Clearing Practice has been one of the most valuable for them.
Method Directly before going to sleep, lie on your back in a relaxed manner, arms by your side and legs uncrossed. Breathe deeply and rhythmically. Now, placing your attention on the soles of your feet, consciously remember the moment that you got out of bed in the morning. Try to visualise your impressions at that time. Slowly bringing your attention up the legs and through the body, remember as much as you can of what happened during the day. Your feet will represent the first moment that you got out of bed since they were the first part of your body to touch the floor. They key word to this practice is “gratefulness”. Do not judge whatever memories arise. There might be so-called unpleasant experiences but since life itself is the only real teacher, it is experience that counts. There is always something that can be learned from our experiences. Our task is to try consciously to have a sense of gratitude for every moment as it arises. When you have brought your attention through the body and have remembered all that you can, repeat the practice two more times. This is to be quite sure that what is left within is a sense of gratitude, rather than one of bitterness, envy, pride or any of the other negative emotions that beset us so often. This may take a little practice but in a few days, you will see how the Clearing Practice helps your next day in the right manner. When everything has been completed, make a decision as to the exact time you will get up the next day and then have a restful night.
Extracts from Lectures by Reshad Feild
Listen to some extracts from lectures given by Reshad Feild (German translation by Barbara Feild) - depending on your technical settings the download make take a little time:
Reshad Feild on fate and destiny from the lecture "Je ne regrette rien" at Munich, 1 April 2010 (13:24 min) (download of the full lecture soon available in our bookshop)
R. Feild on meeting his teacher and freedom part I (11:21 min.)
R. Feild on meeting his teacher and freedom part II (10:06 min.)
Your desire for God is God's desire for you What is a question? What is the quest? The quest of seeker is the quest of all because we each begin from a unique place. Yet none of us will have exactly the same quest because we are all unique individuals within the One Reality.
Usually we become seekers from a deep yearning to know what life is all about, and with that there inevitably comes a sense of frustration in the face of all the greed, hatred and stupidity around us. We find in the world and in ourselves so much of what holds us back from realizing our journey’s end. We want to change the world and we want to better ourselves that we may serve life better. It is hard to understand why so many people abuse each other and the planet we live on. We might even sense the urgency of the situation in which it is obvious that a major cycle of history is coming to a close. With this we see the fear and pain increasing as more and more of the past dissolves in front of us. We want things to be easy, but we cannot just go along with the tide of a dying world without doing something about it all. But it is difficult to find a spiritual path that satisfies the deepest yearning of our hearts. (…) Do you really want to know the truth, or do you just want to find something to satisfy your self-righteousness? Deep within the heart of all people is the longing to know the Truth, but so often this gets covered over by the many attractions and distractions in life…. The real questions we have are not just about us. This is our illusion of separation. The deeper questions are those shared by all seekers from the beginning of time. (…) Seldom do we ask a real question, but it is only in the asking that real change can come about in our lives….We need to open up to the question and allow the answer to unfold itself in its own time….In this way the question becomes an opening for insight and change in our lives. It is possible to live within the question itself but this takes courage, because it is much easier to presume that we know the answer rather than allowing the answer to unfold itself. (…)
Only through the question can we allow the opening for real change to occur….Change is a step into the unknown. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and trust to live completely in the question. (…) A real question comes from our pain which, on the highest level, is the pain of separation from God. And we can only receive the answer to our inner question, or prayer, when we are open and awake to the answer manifesting itself in this very moment. We need to pay attention, which means we need to give our full attention to the answer manifesting in whatever way it is given. We also need tremendous perseverance. We cannot live life passively; we need to search and struggle with a great degree of intensity and passion. The intention in our question needs to be strong and alive, or else that part of us that does not want to change or wake up will distract us from reaching our destination. We need to remember the question in order to find the truth that beckons us and not presume to be given the answer without pursuing the question. Little by little that which does not want to know can be assimilated into that which knows. Finally the pain of separation which led us into the question in the first place, can be transformed into the realisation of Unity. (…)
In the realisation of our ignorance and our dependence upon God, we passionately desire to go home to Him, to be One with Him. Through prayer and through a gradual dissolving of the illusions while essence remains, we come to realise that God has no other mouth but ours, no other eyes but ours, no other ears but ours and no other hands but ours. Then we are going a stage further and realise that there is nothing but God: everywhere we turn there is the face of God. (6) We then go even further to realise that it is God who knows Himself in us. These are all steps in our awakening, but we need ‘desire’ to keep going. So it is said, “Take one step towards God and He takes ten towards you.”
(from "The Alchemy of the Heart" by Reshad Feild, chapter "The Quest")
Letter from Reshad Feild to all
Recently, when Barbara was over in England during my stay in hospital, she asked me a very important question which has prompted me to write a letter to all of you, hoping that these pages will help you to understand what we so often call “The Trinity”in the West, or “The Triad” in the Eastern countries.
I am sure you will remember what Bulent said to me at the very beginning of our journey together which was “Reshad, one is not a number, but a unit. Two is not a number but the doubling of one, and three is the first number.” Of course this took me many years to understand!
When I was attending a School of Inner Learning, at the beginning of my Journey, we were always told that there are three steps necessary for anything real to happen in our world, to be created, or for real change to come about. The steps were then described as ACTIVE and PASSIVE with the third sometimes having different titles. For instance, I was first told it was called THE THIRD FORCE, then it was changed to THE RECONCILING FORCE, but later, THE ALLOWING FORCE was often used and I, personally, found this expression to be very useful, and it is an expression I use to this day, and consider that the word ALLOWING is a word that you we need to work with, and understand, at this time.
Of course I could write all sorts of comments on this word, but I feel it is best if you would all sit down, individually and together in your groups, and really dig into the meaning of the word, in connection with the other two words which make up the ‘Triad’, The Law of Three Forces, or ‘The First Number’. In this way a great deal of mindful understanding in your hearts and minds can arise, particularly when we are considering our relationship with other people, how to react or behave with them, and how to turn so-called ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ into a creative process. So often people behave in a way that we do not like, or agree with and then, before we have allowed ourselves to look deeply into the cause behind the cause of angst and unhappiness by other people’s behaviour, we are caught in one of the old traps of judgement. As I said in one of my books “When you judge another, then you humiliate those you judge, and veil yourselves…!” What we all want and wish for is to work from a place of essence in our own hearts, not clouded by false opinions and habit patterns from the past.
So let me try to give you just a few suggestions in connection with the conscious and creative use of the word ALLOWING, hoping that these notes will help you with your Journey. After all, God never seems to make life easy!
First you need to allow the Beauty and the Essence within yourselves to come out into the open, both for yourselves and, most important, in order to help others in their own life’s journey. For this to occur you need to allow this to happen, and that means we need to want this allowing force to manifest itself in all our actions and words, and, most important to be conscious enough to allow this third force to be present with every breath that we take, remembering, as we have been told, that one of the inner meanings of Christ is “The Breath of the Spirit.”
Again, the word ‘allowing’ is so important. We need to allow this to happen, and just like a doctor needs a patient in order that he can fulfil his role as a doctor, so we, as aspiring conscious human beings, need there to be space both in ourselves, and in in all those with whom we come in contact with in our daily lives.
The Beauty and the Essence are always here, within ourselves, but so often they are veiled, and covered up as the result of our own lack of mindfulnesss and loving attention to the moment. Too often we judge and work with patterns of the past. We need to remember that God, Allah, and all Goodness is right here within us, and thus He is also within all other people as we understand the inter-connectedness of all life. We do not have to like people to love them! However as we remember what I have just said, we come to understand that the Goodness is there within them. Allowing the right space to be active within ourselves, so we help to open that space to be open in others, so the Good will come forth and prevail, even in difficult circumstances. Is this not one of the meaning of the expression, “The Presence?”
Of course there will be difficult times in our lives, times that we feel we just cannot manage. Perhaps we feel rejected, or our health has almost prevented us to be as conscious on the breath as we would like. There are many reasons for these times that feel almost negative and self-destructive. And yet we can also put these times to very good use. There are lessons to be learnt then, and put into action. In the work of Inner Schools there are often times when we feel we have lost directions, and when there is little clarity, and these are the times when it is especially useful to remember the expression “The Allowing Force” to make up the creative triad. Thus, at the right time, clarity will prevail again, and we discover that all the difficulties we have been experiencing have indeed been part of our journey, and with “Patience as the key to Will” (Rumi), and “Perseverance as the key to Joy” (Rumi) we can smile together as we enter these new cycles of our lives. We want freedom. We must never forget it. We want freedom for others, for all sentient beings, and we must never forget this. We want the Truth to manifest within ourselves, and for this to happen we surely do need to allow the right space to be present, and thus know, without any shadow of a doubt, we all want to know that we are loved, and we need to allow this to happen.
Of course, in all these words, I am not meaning that we have to allow gross stupidity to happen all around us, but we do know that in real compassion we realise that in nearly all cases of violence or stupidity in our world, people do not mean to be what they might appear to be, in their words and actions in this world, but it is their lowest level of nafs that prevents them behaving in a loving, conscious way. No, we do not just allow these things to happen, but rather it is developing a higher state of consciousness ourselves so that we know that if only these people were more awakened, and had been touched by the Holy Spirit, they would not do as they have done. We are asked to allow ourselves to understand, to learn how to be more compassionate, and to forgive. It is through compassion and forgiveness that the doors of the soul are kept open. “The Soul is a knowing substance”, and when the doors are kept open so that the Essence and your true self emerge on the breath, so we can bring joy to all around us, and to the waiting world.
Let us take courage with both hands, BREATHE (!) and approach people with this attitude of Allowing, and all the meanings that are connected with it you, each one of you, need to find out for yourselves, and I feel sure that changes will come about, good changes, which will, step by step bring to you what God wants for you, as living, loving, unique and blessed human beings, allowing His Presence in your hearts so that you are able to breathe out Love and Light, as He breathes us into Life each day.
I pray these words will help. They come with deep respect and love for you all.
Jan 30th 2012.
If only the lamp of divine secrets is kindled in your inner self, the rest will come, either all at once or little by little. Some you already know, some we will tell you here. Read, listen, try to understand. The dark skies of unconsciousness will be lit by divine presence and the peace and beauty of the full moon, which will rise from the horizon shedding Light upon Light.
From a letter by Abdul Qadir Gilani (from Suhrawardi, "The Shape of Light", Louisville, Fons Vitae 1998)