Short Path to Oneness Exercises 
✳️ Key Exercise 1 : Calling In Your Higher Self
Next Step: Read the exercise below. Practice it at least once. If you feel called, practice it more than once. After journaling about your experience, move on to the next lesson.
Time: Once, for 15 minutes, or longer if it feels deeply meaningful to you.

Place: Any quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.

Perhaps you’ve felt the presence of your Higher Self, the Beloved—or perhaps it’s just a vague idea. In this exercise, you deliberately seek contact with your Higher Self (NB 23-4-59; SPE p. 28). You don’t need to know anything about your Higher Self in order to call it in.

Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Notice your breath flowing in and out of your body. Imagine your breath flowing in and out through your heart, in the center of your chest.

Feel the volume of space inside your feet. Then inside your hands. Then inside your legs and arms. Then your pelvis and entire torso. Then your shoulders, neck, and head. Feel the volume of space inside your whole body.

Focus on the volume of space between your eyes. Now feel the breath flowing in and out through your heart.

Feel the vastness of the space between your eyes. Notice the volume of space inside your body. Feel your breath. This is an empty inner space into which your Higher Self can make its presence known. Invite your Higher Self to speak into this space. Feel that yearning for conscious contact with your Higher Self as keenly as possible.

After 15 minutes, feel the volume of space inside your hands and feet. Return your attention to your environment. In your journal, record any messages or sensations you’ve received.
✳️ Key Exercise 2: Sensory Immersion in the Glimpse
Time: 2 minutes 10 – 20 times a day.

Place: Any place you happen to be.

When you’re in your quiet place, notice your breath flowing in and out of your body. Imagine your breath flowing in and out through your heart, in the center of your chest.

Remember every detail of the vivid Glimpse of reality you recorded in your journal (NB 23-6-206; SPE p. 26). What did the Glimpse look like, sound like, taste like, smell like? Were there any sensations of touch?

After two minutes, resume your ordinary activities. You can set a timer for two minutes, to go off every hour, to remind you to immerse your senses in the Glimpse.
🟣 Life Game 1 : Priming Your Brain with Ritual
Time: 20 minutes.

Place: A spot you can meditate regularly.

“Priming” refers to the psychological phenomenon of an initial stimulus affecting a person’s response to a second stimulus. The first stimulus “primes” your brain to react to the second one. A large body of research demonstrates the effects of priming.

One such study looked at the unconscious impact of a warm physical sensation versus a cold one (Williams & Bargh, 2008). Subjects who had held a cup of hot coffee before being asked to judge a certain person’s personality described that person as a “warmer” personality (generous, caring) than subjects who had held iced coffee. Likewise, those who held a hot therapeutic pad were more likely than those who held a cold pad to select a gift for a friend rather than for themselves.

In a Harvard study, before taking a mathematics test, Asian-American women were asked to complete a questionnaire that included a question asking them either to identify their ethnicity or to identify their gender (Shih, Pittinsky, & Ambady, 1999). Compared to a control group that identified neither, those who identified their ethnicity did better on the test. Those who identified their gender did worse. Priming affected a seemingly unrelated activity.

The state you are in when you begin meditation has an impact on how it goes for you. There are simple ways to predispose yourself to having a deeper, more focused experience.

Consider the elements that will prime your brain for meditation. These might include:
  • A meditation cushion
  • An image of a saint
  • A candle
  • A gong, bell, or sound bowl
  • Incense
  • A holy symbol such as a cross or ankh
  • Crystals
  • Wisdom cards
  • A sacred book
  • A prayer shawl

These elements are entirely up to you, because they are uniquely meaningful to you. After completing one of the previous meditations, and in a mindful state, gather items like those above or others that appeal to you.

PB says that meditation is more fruitful when done in a prepared environment. He recommends a special room for practice, and decoration that includes “flowers and incense … ennobling and colorful pictures” and other inspirational cues. In time, “as soon as you step into it the cares and worries of worldly existence will fall from you” (Brunton, 1969b, p. 53)

Slowly and mindfully, gather the items that prime your brain for a deep experience. Arrange them in your usual place of meditation in a way that is pleasing for you. 
🟣 Life Game 2 : I Notice My Story
Time: 1-2 minutes.

Place: Wherever you find yourself telling an old story about yourself (NB 24-3-227; SPE p. 89).

Inevitably we tell others stories about our lives. When you meet a new person, you might share where you were born, what you do for a living, and what your current interests are. When you present yourself to a new business contact, you will inevitably share salient features of your story.
As you’re talking to friends, acquaintances, new people, business contacts, and any other occasions to recite your story, notice the story you tell.

Notice how you tell old familiar stories about yourself throughout the day. They may even be stories you tell yourself in your own mind.

In your journal, label some of the prepackaged stories you’ve told recently. All that is necessary is the title of the story. Examples might be:
  • Unseasonal snow during our Yosemite vacation
  • The unfair job performance review
  • The accident when I broke my arm
  • The horrible divorce
  • Disappointment with my retirement fund
  • Sheltering in place
  • My child failed fifth grade.

You get the idea. We all have hundreds of such stories and we may have told some of them dozens of times. They may even be central planks in the platform of our personality.

I once went to a meeting of a veteran’s association. I shook hands with a man who said, “Hi, my name is Sam. I’m a disabled Vietnam veteran.” He then turned to the next person, shook hands and said, “Hi, my name is Sam. I’m a disabled Vietnam veteran.” As I watched him repeat those words many times with each new person, I realized that his name wasn’t just Sam. It was “Sam the disabled Vietnam veteran.” His story had become who he believed he was.

The purpose of this exercise is to sensitize you to the stories you tell frequently and how they build your sense of self.

Once you’ve got a collection of 20 or 30 story titles recorded in your journal, challenge yourself to begin releasing them. As you’re about to tell a time-worn story again, interrupt yourself. Mentally say, “I release my story.” Use the imminent retelling of your story as a trigger to make a different choice.

As you release your story over and over again, you’re likely to begin to question whether you need that story and whether it is still a useful part of who you consider yourself to be.

The purpose of this exercise is simply to become mindful of our stories and how retelling the past conditions us for a similar future.

Sharing Your Experience: Share just one of your old stories here. Just a sentence or two is enough. Save it once you’ve recorded it, then mark this section complete to advance to the next Topic.
🟣 Life Game 8 : Initiating an Enterprise
Time: 1 minute several times a day.

Place: Anywhere.

We’re all familiar with the ritual of saying a prayer before a meal. In many families, it is an empty ritual. You might have heard prayers recited by a priest or a family member that were just words.

But you might also have heard prayers or spoken prayers that were full of the fervor of passion. The mother praying for the survival of her sick child, the soldier on the battlefield praying to live through the firefight, the soul in the depths of despair crying out to God, the mystic whose every word is spoken from the heart of the universe.

In this exercise, the local self practices a fervent prayerful connection to the Beloved at the start of any enterprise (NB 23-6-169; SPE p. 98). The activity can be a small one, like cooking a meal, taking a bus trip, writing a poem, or cleaning out your closet. It can be a giant one, like building a house, getting married, starting a new job, birthing a child, or immigrating to a new country. It can be getting on the train for a journey. It can be signing a contract.
Whenever you initiate any enterprise, however big or small, invoke the Divine Beloved with a fervent prayer. Give thanks and ask for alignment with your Higher Self. Infuse the coming enterprise with the energy of your Higher Self, whether that enterprise is shopping for groceries or building a skyscraper.

This exercise links all the facets of the life of your local self with the wisdom and perspective of your Higher Self. It invites Grace into the mundane details of your everyday life. Infused with the presence of the Divine Beloved, no activity is mundane.

When you invite the Beloved to fill any activity with Grace, that enterprise becomes one of many links between the local self and Nonlocal Self.

Sharing Your Experience: What is one upcoming enterprise into which you plan to invite the Beloved? Write just the name of the enterprise, e.g. knitting a sweater … making the perfect martini … planning a vacation … visiting grandma … choosing a housemate … applying for college. Once you’ve recorded this, advance to the next Topic.
🟣 Life Game 10 : Giving Up Complaint
Human beings complain a lot. We complain that our bodies aren’t perfect, our relatives are annoying, our jobs are limiting, our movies aren’t flawless, our money is scarce, politicians are corrupt, society is flawed, corporations have too much power, and the spiritual journey is hard.

Complaint is also sanctioned by our society. We can complain about our health, children, or money to garner sympathy. Everyone agrees that certain things are bad and wrong. With complaint, we build consensus reality around the world being imperfect.
Yet complaint, in essence, is saying that the universe made a mistake. It is the opposite of accepting everything just the way it is. Since we can’t change the way things are out there, complaining keeps us stuck in perpetual dissatisfaction. We can then blame our negative emotion on those imperfect conditions in the world, in ourselves, or in other people.

Complaining might seem like a harmless exercise, but in fact it shapes our brains for unhappiness. Every time you fire that neural bundle of negative emotion, you build new synaptic pathways. Those bundles become bigger and better at conducting information.

Complaint also saps your enthusiasm, positive emotion, optimism, happiness, and life energy. PB says that “if we could reject, and reject persistently, each unpleasant, unhappy, and spiritually untrue thought as it arises, we should indeed be happy” (Brunton, 1969b, p. 120).

Adyashanti, a modern nondualist teacher, echoes that sentiment. He observes that “Whatever you resist you become. If you resist anger, you are always angry. If you resist sadness, you are always sad. If you resist suffering, you are always suffering. If you resist confusion,you are always confused. We think that we resist certain states because they are there, but actually they are there because we resist them.”

Consider accepting things as they are and completely giving up complaining.

You’re likely to find certain trivial complaints easy to give up. You’ll find you’re very attached to other grievances. Question why, and challenge your thinking in your journal.

When you read the words of great Masters or observe the lives of adepts, you’ll find complete acceptance is the rule and complaint is rare. Andrew Vidich writes that to the lover:

“Every so-called obstacle appears to be another gift from the Beloved. The lover, as Meister Eckhart once said, includes all occurrences in his or her being, seeing them all as part of God’s being.

“For the lover experiencing this truth, whatever he or she pushes aside is exactly that part of himself or herself that must come under the eye of scrutiny. Carl Jung talks about how humans often thrust away the dark side of their nature, refusing to acknowledge or explore it. This is precisely the area, however, that can teach us the most.

“For the lover experiencing this truth, whatever is happening, both the seeming light and the seeming dark, is God’s gift. Whatever the lover excludes is that aspect of God that he or she has not integrated within” (Vidich, 2015, p. 106).


Andrew quotes a poem written by his Master, Darshan Singh (Vidich, 2015, p. 117):

I have borne all atrocities, all eccentricities, all
idiosyncrasies, all sorts of torture and
indifference, for the sake of my Beloved;
Yet I have never complained.


This is an example well worth following. For the next few days, notice any time you complain. Make notes about consistent patterns of complaint in your journal. If possible, catch yourself before you utter a habitual word of complaint. With practice, you’ll notice complaint while it’s a thought in your mind, before it becomes a word on your lips.

Sharing Your Experience : What do you complain about most often? Record just three items, e.g. my boss … the Wall Street fat cats … my teenage daughter … the weather … my weight … the corrupt politicians … and so on. Once you’ve recorded these three, click Mark Complete to be directed to the next Topic.
🟣 Life Game 16 : The Now in Nature
Time: 15-30 minutes a day, at least 3 days this week.

Place: The most beautiful place in nature readily available to you.

Nature is entirely in the now. Nature invites the local self to be in the now as well. In this Life Game, you will spend time in nature and invite nature to draw you into the now (NB 19-4-184; SPE p. 85). This draws you out of self-absorbed thinking and into emotional freedom.

Find the most beautiful natural environment that you can get to within a few minutes. In the middle of a city, this might be a rooftop garden or the park at a nearby house of worship. In the country, it might be a stream or meadow. If you are in a tiny room, it might be a window box of herbs and flowers.

Set aside time each day this week to lose yourself in nature. Nature is a portal to the great stillness. As you contemplate nature, allow yourself to drift into the timeless consciousness of peace and harmony. Observe without thought details of the scene around you.

If you’re looking at a window box of tulips, notice how each tulip is a slightly different color, size, and shape. Notice the variations of green in the stems and leaves. Appreciate the differences without analyzing them.

Allow your local awareness to be fully immersed in the scents, textures, sounds, and sights of the natural world.
Sharing Your Experience: Where do you plan to spend time in nature during the next three days? Note the name of the place. Once you’ve recorded this, move to the next Topic.
🟣 Life Game 16 : The Now in Nature
Time: 15-30 minutes a day, at least 3 days this week.

Place: The most beautiful place in nature readily available to you.

Nature is entirely in the now. Nature invites the local self to be in the now as well. In this Life Game, you will spend time in nature and invite nature to draw you into the now (NB 19-4-184; SPE p. 85). This draws you out of self-absorbed thinking and into emotional freedom.

Find the most beautiful natural environment that you can get to within a few minutes. In the middle of a city, this might be a rooftop garden or the park at a nearby house of worship. In the country, it might be a stream or meadow. If you are in a tiny room, it might be a window box of herbs and flowers.

Set aside time each day this week to lose yourself in nature. Nature is a portal to the great stillness. As you contemplate nature, allow yourself to drift into the timeless consciousness of peace and harmony. Observe without thought details of the scene around you.

If you’re looking at a window box of tulips, notice how each tulip is a slightly different color, size, and shape. Notice the variations of green in the stems and leaves. Appreciate the differences without analyzing them.

Allow your local awareness to be fully immersed in the scents, textures, sounds, and sights of the natural world.
Sharing Your Experience: Where do you plan to spend time in nature during the next three days? Note the name of the place. Once you’ve recorded this, move to the next Topic.
🟩 Exercise 17 : Your Spiritual Hero
For the seeker’s local mind, getting a grip on a disembodied Nonlocal Self can be challenging. At first, it’s just an abstract concept. To make it concrete, find your spiritual hero. This is a man or woman who to you represents someone living in oneness, living as an expression of their higher power (NB 23-6-177; SPE p. 92). This could be a saint, historical figure, archetype, or living person you admire.
Use this person to represent your Higher Self. First, put photographs of this person all over your house, car, office, and other places you frequent. These don’t have to be big. Just a small thumbnail can be enough to remind you of the energy of your Higher Self.

Second, move these images around periodically. Put them in unexpected places, like inside your refrigerator or above your shower. Don’t let the remembrance of the Higher Self become stale and routine. Keep it fresh and vivid by using the stimulus of novelty.

This exercise gives you a concrete human being to which to attach your concept of the Higher Self until that time when you are able to conceptualize, experience, and relate to it without the need for any human anchor.

Sharing Your Experience: Who is your spiritual hero? Record his or her name in your journal.
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