Copyright (C) 2000 by William R. Mistele. 
All rights reserved. 			

	Brief Concentration Exercises

The purpose of these brief mental excursions is to make
the practices in Franz Bardon's book, Initiation into
Hermetics, fun and enjoyable.  Some individuals have
busy schedules and are also easily bored with traditional
esoteric training systems.  You could call these practices
the "One Minute Magician" even though they are more
like two to four minutes in length.  The goal here is to
work with a large number of different images and
sensations.  These are meant to extend the imagination
and increase our concentration on our five senses and our
awareness of body, feelings, mind, and spirit.
    My point is that it is often the case that if we are
entertained and enjoy what we are doing, if it is fun and
playful, easy and interesting, we do not waste energy
"forcing" ourselves to do the practice.  Now there is a
time to accomplish hard work through the use of pure will
power.  But in a post-industrial and democratic society,
entertainment is extremely important.  This is because we
are presented with such an incredible array of choices and
things to do that we need activities which are soothing,
relaxing, and which also sharpen our abilities to reflect on
life and gain overall perspective.  
    Such abilities are not required in a feudal, totalitarian,
or tradition bound society where some arbitrary authority
tells us what to do and how to think and feel.  A
democracy requires extremely advanced skills from its
members in the area of noticing exactly what each person
thinks and feels for him or herself.  This enables
immediate feedback and effective communication on all
levels of society. This same individual alertness is required
in magick. You make your own observations and learn
everything you can about how your mind, perceptions,
feelings, and body work.

Some Entertaining, Magical Exercises 
   
1. The following set of exercises can be done in one to
two minutes.  

Notice your surroundings. Make a quick mental snapshot
or picture of the room or place you are in as if you are
using a Polaroid or digital camera.  Look at this picture. 
Now briefly survey how your body feels.  Notice any
tension or unease in your muscles or sensations from your
inner organs.  Make on outline in your mind of the shape,
intensity, and location of these sensations and tensions.
    Have you ever sat down in a hot car baked by the sun? 
Try it.  Picture a car in front of you which has been sitting
in a sunlight at a 100 degrees for a few hours.  Open the
door in get into the car.  Feel that intense heat on your
face and skin, the constriction in your lungs as your
breathe in and your body's reaction to this situation.  Stay
relaxed. Just notice how it feels.  

Continuing:  this exercise can also be done in one or two
minutes.

Picture yourself now in a vast desert late in the afternoon. 
Feel the heat.  The sand is rust red.  Reach your hand
down and pick up some sand and let the sand slide
through your fingers. 
   Over near the horizon there is a caravan of fifty camels. 
Imagine you are walking beside one of those camels
wearing a turban and your face covered with a black
cloth.  Smell the camel. The camel walks slowly but its
strides are long and you must walk briskly to keep up. 
There is no wind.  No birds are singing.  There are no
animals calling in the distance. Listen to the sound of
camel's hooves as they thump on the sand. 
    Go a little further into the image. You are a nomad and
you only need to drink three cups of water during
daylight.  Every month you take your caravan on a six
hundred mile journey.  You respect the desert and it treats
you well in return.  It offers you peace with its vast
solitude.  It offers freedom and independence to those
who can survive its harsh conditions. 
    The night has fallen. You have pitched a tent and sit by
a camp fire sipping hot tea.  The stars circle slowly above
you.
   Briefly notice how your body feels,  How do these
images affect you?  Are you relaxed and at home with
them or do you notice some unease and discomfort?
   
2.  This exercise can be done in one or two minutes.
    Let's work some more with imagery, sound, and action. 
Think of two of your favorite movies or just the last two
movies you have seen on TV or at the theater.  Think of
one or two of the most dramatic movements in one of
those movies.  Now recall several times what happened in
one of those scenes.  Picture the characters, what they
looked like, where they were, and what they said or did.  
   Focus on one moment of the action. Picture it clearly.
Can you hear what the character said?  Listen to their
voices.  Imagine yourself as one of the characters.  Why is
this moment dramatic?  What are you feeling and why are
you feeling it?  Can you notice where in your body this
feeling occurs?  Why is this one of your favorite movies?

Continuing for one or  two minutes.
     Recall a actor or actress who has a wide range of
expressions and who can easily play different parts.  For
example, with my kids we imagined Alley McBeal.  Now
think of five or ten different emotional responses such as
excitement, frustration, happiness, joy, love, surprise,
tenderness, curiosity, jealousy, anger, boredom,
depression, despair, insight, rapture, etc.  Imagine how
the actor or actress expresses each of these
responses--notice the gestures, body language and
posture, and voice if something is said.

3.  This exercise can be done in one or two minutes. 
    Picture or imagine you are a child holding the string to
a helium balloon.  The child let's go of the string and
watches the balloon float off in a breeze.  Think of a song,
something light and humorous, to accompany this action.  
    Another image.  You are with a lover beneath a large
tree.  You listen to the sounds of the leaves in the wind as
your lover runs his or her fingers through your hair.  Feel
those sensations.  Again, think of a song that accompanies
this mood and image.  Notice how your body feels.
    Now you are riding in a cockpit beneath a large balloon
at fifteen thousand feet as you gently float over the peaks
of some mountains.  It is near sunset and you watch the
colors of the sky changing to orange and red, purple and
violet.  You look down and also at the circle of the
horizon.  Someone with you gives you something hot to
eat or drink.  What is the taste and the smell?  Think of a
song that expresses the mood of where you are now.
    You are in a space suit just outside the space shuttle at
three hundred miles above the earth.  You are completely
calm and relaxed as you gaze down at the planet.   You
feel so peaceful it is as if time has stopped, as if this
moment is something you want to savor and taste and
experience for all it is worth.  You are completely
weightless and the silence is itself like a song, like the joy
in all the songs you have heard.  Take a moment and
experience that beauty and silence.

4.  This exercise is for around two or three minutes.
     You are sitting by yourself on a beach.  You are
comfortable.  The waves rise and break on the shore.  A
thin mist from the surf occasionally reaches you falling on
your arms and face. You smell the salt in the air. You can
taste the salt on your lips.  You listen to the sound of the
breaking waves, the dull roar and the sound of the wave
crest rising and splashing down against the sand on and
on.
   Someone is walking out of the waves toward you.  It is
a human shape and since this is an exercise in imagination
you are completely comfortable when I tell you it is a
mermaid or a merman.  The elemental comes over and sits
beside you.  He or she places an arm around you, a hand
on your leg, or else claps your hand. 
   Feel that touch. No words are spoken.  Rather, you
suddenly perceive the sea with new perceptions.  The
sound of the waves are full of passion.   And you notice
your consciousness shifting.  Your awareness of your
body nearly vanishes.  
     You are surrounded by water and dolphins swim
around you.  You listen to a whales song as that deep
resonance rumbles from within its chest.  You hear an
iceberg breaking free of a glacier.  Forty foot waves slam
like thunder against mountain cliffs at midnight. 
   Images flash through your mind.  You stand on the
deck of a ship beside Columbus, Cooke, or Magellan as
they sight new land or islands.  It has been a long voyage. 
You are on a Viking ship five hundred years earlier as it
sights England.  A thousand years before, you are on a
Roman ship as it patrols the Mediterranean.  You are
sailing down the Nile toward Thebes three thousand years
before Rome was founded or Greece established its great
cities. 
   And now you are sitting on a sandy beach a billion years
ago long before animals or trees existed on this planet.
Relax. We are here through the power of imagination. 
The waves break. You smell the air. A faint mist gently
drifts over to caress your face with its cool, soothing
touch.  With the sea, time is not really that important. 
The sea is constant the way it nurtures, cares, and lends
support.  
   "And the sea shall grant each man new hope."  What
desire or need within you have you let slip from your life
because it could find no place to rest, no where in your
life to make a home?  What would the hope be, how
would it feel, if this desire or need was free to return, to
make your soul its home and to dwell in peace?  The
mermaid or merman looks into your eyes and with that
looks says, "Those who know the sea are free to dream
any dream and explore the depths of any vision."

5.  This exercise is for two minutes or so.
    You are walking down a path through a forest.  A
man is walking beside you.  When he was young, he
spent seven years in a cave in complete darkness learning
songs and histories from his tradition.  He also can
identify every tree and bush and fruit in this forest using
smell and touch alone.  
    You look down and notice thick padding on your left
arm.  You hold your arm up and you are not surprised as
a large hawk lands on your left arm.  You gaze into the
hawks eyes as she looks into your eyes.  The hawk
jumps back and turns into a woman standing in front of
you--a human form but the eyes have the same intensity
and penetrating gaze.
   The man next to you says, Her awareness is sharp,
ruthless, and commanding and her wisdom is ancient and
demanding.  She is hidden in every man and in every
woman.  
   The woman speaks to you.  She says, I am a destroyer
who is wise and a lover who is kind.  
     As you gaze into her face, your awareness flows from
your body into her body.  You become the woman.  And
now you look back at yourself through her eyes.  She
speaks now through your voice as she says, (you may
wish to speak these words aloud) If you had been aware
of me, if I had been alive within your soul, then here and
here at these crossroads in your life you would have
chosen a different way to go.  Whenever you need me, I
am here for you.  I am part of your soul.

6.  One to two minutes.
     It is dawn and there are birds singing. Listen and
identify three or four different bird songs.  You are in a
cafe at lunch downtown.  Secretaries, lawyers,
executives, and managers are sitting at the tables talking. 
Identify three or four different voices and listen to what
they are saying.  You are by a water fall in a small
stream.  Listen to the sounds of the water falling and the
bubbles splashing as the water surges around small rocks. 
     You are in a large auditorium. It is Las Vegas and the
place is packed.  There is a standing ovation for the
show.  You are in a large auditorium but now no one is
there.  The place is locked and everyone has gone home. 
Look around and listen to the silence.  You are three
hundred feet beneath the ground in a large cave.  All
artificial and natural light is gone and there are no sounds
here at all.  Listen to this silence also.  
    You head is against the chest of someone you love.
Listen to the heartbeat.  Briefly review in your mind the
sound of the birds, the cafe, the stream, the auditorium,
the cave, and the heartbeat.

7.  Two to three minutes. 
    You are sitting on a first story roof of a Hopi Indian
adobe house facing a rectangular plaza about
seventy-five feet in length.  There is a ceremonial dance.
The dancers are in a circle and wear masks, kilts, and
have turtle-shell rattles on their ankles.  Hopi clowns in
brown paint make fun and climb down from a rope next
to you to the plaza below. The clowns make fun of the
tourists by eating ice cream cones, pop corn, and take
pictures of everything they can.  Another katchina with
an owl mask throws pebbles at the clowns.  The owl
symbolizes conscience.
    As you look at the owl katchina, you find yourself
sitting at night next to an owl in a tree beneath a full
moon.  The owl looks about studying every sound and
the movements of its prey.  For example, it knows the
habits and routines of the mice below better than the
mice their own actions.  You enter and take control of
the mind of the owl.  You leap from the branch and with
wings of stealth and silence, you gently glide through the
forest night.  With wide eyes, you see through the dark
and observe the forest life and yet not a single thought
crosses through your mind.

8. One to two minutes.
    Recall an experience you once had with smell--perhaps
the first time you smelled the sea, baked bread, ginger, a
pine forest, a barn, a damp basement or a dry attic,
smoke from a camp fire, etc.  Focus on the smell for a
few moments.  Recall where you were and how you felt.  
     Now imagine you are another person--someone you
know fairly well.  You perform the same exercise
recalling a memory of smelling something for the first
time smell.  Focus on the smell and then recall where you
were and how you felt. 

9. Two minutes.
    Recall three memories from childhood which embody
for you the best feelings of what a family is.  Now hold
all three memories in your mind at once or casually move
from one to the other so that you sense the life in each
memory flowing through the others.  At this point, see if
you can get a new picture or feeling that brings these
three memories together into something new--a new
image, recollection of another memory, or an insight into
the heart of family and childhood.