It is best to do exercises in a quiet room, sitting with eyes closed and keeping one’s personality (body, emotions and thinking) in an attitude of calm, rest and relaxation
By Roberto Assagioli, undated, from the Assagioli Archive in Florence. Doc. #23361. Original Title: Esercizi Psicologici. Translated and Edited With Notes by Jan Kuniholm
Social life is a fabric of suggestions. Everything tends to divert us from looking within, and for us this is a difficulty that adds to the one we already encounter in practicing meditation and devoting ourselves to the inner life.
It is therefore our task to work seriously in this direction, beginning by ridding ourselves of undesirable qualities and developing those that are lacking in us. In eliminating the former, however, we should not fight them directly, but rather think positively, developing and cultivating the opposite qualities in us.
How do we develop the qualities which we lack, and which we want to acquire? The technical psychological means are simple. However, it is necessary not to do the exercises at a time when we are actually being tested or challenged; but do them either before or after such a test. Indeed, for the exercises of “suggestion” and “meditation” to be effective, it is necessary that they be done methodically every day, devoting, for example, a quarter of an hour or half an hour to them every morning.
On each of the qualities to be developed in us we may dwell for several days — for example, a week or more, according to our needs and preferences.
It is best to do them in a quiet room, sitting with eyes closed and keeping one’s personality (body, emotions and thinking) in an attitude of calm, rest and relaxation.
Example: Suppose the quality to be developed in us is courage. Let us first consider the value of courage, the inner freedom it gives. Courage is the first, elementary mark of spirituality; it gives freedom and prevents us from being overwhelmed by others. How many good people, who would not hurt anyone, allow others around them do evil, because they lack courage. Often, the good people are not strong enough, otherwise the world would be different.
So let’s see how courage can be developed.
1st method: Repeat the word courage many times, letting the word influence you. It is also helpful to say the word courage out loud.
2nd method: Thinking, meditating on courage.
“Courage.” It is a valuable, necessary quality and a spiritual mark. Courage gives strength, gives momentum, is liberating, gives a sense of dignity and security. “I can become courageous, I want to become courageous. I propose it to myself, I know that by meditating on it, thinking about it, I can arouse it in me, and if this germ is already present in me, I can develop it. It will be able to eliminate all fear in me. What liberation! So I am going to cultivate courage in all ways. I feel a wave of courage coming into me. It grows in me: affirmation is creation. I will continue steadily, with tenacious will to cultivate courage in me. I will do it resolutely and with happy confidence.”