The three (3) lessons:
- Treadmill as metaphor for life – two weeks ago
- Giving up control; shifting mental focus when the going gets tough (or easy) – last week
- Using machine lights and timers for affirmative prayer and here-now presence – this week
USING MACHINE LIGHTS AND TIMERS FOR AFFIRMATIVE PRAYER & HERE-NOW PRESENCE
Before you hit the start button it’s time to layout your spiritual workout …
DURATION. The length of your workout depends on your fitness level and the time that you have available. Over the years, I found that 30-minutes was optimal for me. If needed, I would could shorten it to 20-minutes and still have a meaningful body-mind-spirit experience. For workouts that were shorter than 20-minutes, I found that my mind and spirit didn’t have enough recharge time; and, for workouts longer than 30-minutes, I found that I was more focused on a body experience (exercise!) than a spiritual workout. You’ll have to find your own sweet-spot, your own duration middle-way.
Warm-up – consider using the first 5-minutes of your workout as a warm-up by focusing on your breath; or, releasing the “woes of the day” on your out-breath before starting your workout.
Cool-down – at the end of your time, your treadmill will shift into a step-down pattern (reducing speed with each passing minute). Use this time to shift both your muscles and your mind back into the day-to-day world.
LEVELS (affirmative prayer). The treadmills* that I used had 7 levels of lights that displayed one’s course – with 7 being the most difficult (think “climbing a mountain”) and with 1 being the easiest (think “a walk on the beach”) with levels 2 to 6 being somewhere in-between. I mapped my practice to these seven levels:
[A word about “whisper speaking” while working out. I have found that speaking affirmations (or other words) aloud makes them more powerful than merely thinking them – but the choice is yours. In the midst of health club noise, and with the advent of cell phone headsets, I doubt that anyone will even blink twice.]
- 7 (hardest) – walking, holding onto the handles, merely breathing
- 6 – walking, holding onto the handles, merely breathing
- 5 – walking, swinging arms, merely breathing
- 4 – running, filling with a spiritual quality that you need most(whisper speaking this quality aloud)
- Some of my more frequent qualities were love, faith and peace
- I would speak my “quality of choice aloud” as many times as would fit between my 1-counts
- EX: “1” – peace – peace – peace – peace – peace (if level 4 repeats for the next time period , you’d repeat this sequence, else shift to the sequence for the other level)
- 3 – running, asking for what type of “help” that you’d like(whisper speaking this request aloud)
- Some of my more frequent requests were “show me,” “hear me,” and “guide me”
- I would speak my “request of choice aloud” as many times as would fit between my 1-counts. I directed these to my power of choice (i.e., Infinite Spirit), but be sure to use your power of choice.
- EX: “1” – Infinite Spirit guide me – Infinite Spirit guide me – Infinite Spirit guide me (if level 3 repeats for the next time period , you’d repeat this sequence, else shift to the sequence for the other level)
- 2 – running, a short connecting prayer(whisper speaking this aloud)
- One of my favorite verses is: “Spirit as peace, help me to see. Spirit as love, help me to be.”
- I speak this verse aloud twice between my 1-counts
- EX: “1” – Spirit as peace, help me to see; Spirit as love, help me to be - Spirit as peace, help me to see; Spirit as love, help me to be (if level 2 repeats for the next time period , you’d repeat this sequence, else shift to the sequence for the other level)
- 1 (easiest) – running, a slightly longer prayer, but not too long (whisper speaking this aloud)
- Because this is the easiest level, you can be more creative with a verse, an affirmation, a poem, whatever … but it will need to fit between the “1”s on the clock (10 seconds). Be creative! One of my favorite affirmations is: “I listen deeply to all; I am boldly authentic.”
- Whatever you can fit into the 10-second cycle is fine – whether you state it once, twice or several times between your “1” brackets on both ends (if level 1 repeats for the next time period , you’d repeat this sequence, else shift to the sequence for the other level).
CLOCK (here-now presence). Every treadmill has an electronic clock that tracks your workout time. I’ve seen many people cover it up with a towel (“I don’t want to know how much longer this misery will go on!”), but for this practice, you’ll focus in on the time – every ten seconds when “one (:01)” rolls around, you will include that as part of your workout – whisper speaking “one” (think unity, wholeness) as part of your routine. The levels on the machine change (or remain the same) every 10 seconds with each level starting with one (1) so this will always be your starting point.
Take time to layout what you want to include at levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 before you step onto the treadmill. Your workout is spiritual practice based on your current thoughts, feelings and sensations – you want to focus on your here-now personal energy to transition it to a more energetic level. Give yourself time to find the rhythm and repeat of a new routine – new habits take several weeks to start feeling normal. And, pay attention to how your breaths and steps fall into a connected rhythm.
* – LifeFitness treadmills were used, but these practices can be adapted for other brands/styles
Thanks to the following people (Flickr) for photos: “stacya” – people treadmilling in a gym, “dr. coop” for the LifeFitness treadmill panel, Keith Davenport “sirwiseowl” for the woman on a treadmill, and George Hatcher “toastforbrekkie” for the digital clock.