Exercise and Alterations of Consciousness – A Sethian Perspective by Denny Hall

Printed in the Conscious Creation Journal
February-March 2000, Issue 10

Exercise and Alterations of Consciousness – A “Sethian” Perspective
by Denny Hall

(From a talk given at the ‘Do North, October 1999, Toronto, Canada by Denny Hall.)

Exercise, we all know, is uncomfortable, painful and seems to take forever, right?

But these are all beliefs, other examples of which are “Exercise is no fun at all!”, “Exercise is masculine and I’m not”, “Mental exercise is superior to physical exercise”, “The body is a machine and I’m about worn out!”, “Exercise is animalistic and gross-all that sweating and grunting!”, “I am too tired to exercise”, and “I’m not a physically-inclined person”.

What do you believe about exercise?

One can try to discover such by using various Sethian techniques.  Among them, they include viewing unpleasant memories as reflections of beliefs. Seth has said, also, that to change a belief, choose an opposite belief and go through a scenario–your typical day, for example–and see where your resistances are, as they will indicate opposing, conflicting beliefs you still hold.  Another technique includes using associative reverie, that is, daydreaming, to discover belief conflicts, dream work of various sorts and so on.

Here is a well-known Seth quotation which I ask you, now, to read, but doing so in light of your beliefs about exercising and the body:

“You form the fabric of your experience through your own beliefs and expectations.  These personal ideas about yourself and the nature of reality will affect your thoughts and emotions.  You take your beliefs about reality as truths and often do not question them.  They seem self-explanatory.  They appear in your mind as statements of fact, far too obvious for examination.

“Therefore they are accepted without question too often.  They are not recognized as beliefs about reality, but are instead considered as characteristics of reality itself…  They become invisible assumptions, but they nevertheless color your experience.”  [The Nature of Personal Reality, pp 19-20]

I began to question my own assumptions and beliefs about exercising when I, a somewhat bookish type, read about the various altered states of consciousness that athletes have reported.  These included time compression (“psychological time” in Seth’s terms), feelings of bliss and ‘universal oneness” (Seth’s “state of grace”), visions of various sorts, and out-of-body experiences.  Powerful transcendental experiences, indeed, and one’s that didn’t necessarily start with a book!

One of my first experiences with perceiving, while exercising, the body as energy began with some tai chi classes wherein the instructor asked us to feel the molecules in the air passing over our skin, or feel the energy between our outstretched hands.  To my surprise, I did.

Later, I was fortunate enough to take some yoga classes with an instructor who spent a lot of time talking about feeling the spaces between bones.  I was a little intellectually scandalized, I admit, but there was an intuitive truth elicited from what she said that I was able to perceive.


Firstly, let me say that we can recontextualize the “problem” of exercising to a Sethian perspective and perceive it, instead, as a “challenge”–a framework which gives us more energy to consciously create a reality more to our liking.

We can, of course, be playful, and keep an open mind, for once one’s decided upon a particular version of reality, there becomes no reason to question it, and, consequently, lesser opportunity for expansion is available in that area.

We can remember that “You get what you concentrate upon”, even in the area of exercise.  Also, Seth tells us that “Your muscles believe what you tell them about themselves”, and “You do not have to rely on what you think of as your private resources alone”.  As well, Seth has said, “Let your voice smile”. I think we can, as well, let our muscles and bones and nerves smile-all interesting concepts/realities to explore.


No discussion of exercise would be complete without touching upon the reality of pain, so first let us think about this quotation:

“Suffering is not good for the soul unless it teaches you how to stop suffering. That is its purpose”.

What could this mean in the arena of exercise?

In my explorations regarding altering my state of consciousness during exercise, I began to think about Seth saying that “Inner sounds are extremely important”.  I was doing indoor running around a track at the gym for the cardiovascular component of my workout and I decided to start working with sound and began the chant “om”, timed to my breathing whilst I was running.  I also began to do various visualizations of energy-energy running up and down my body, sending energy to specific parts of my body, and so on.

After I practiced this for some time, I noticed that the effects of my workouts were changing as a result of this inner energetic work.  Also, I began to experience the beginnings of time compression (use of an inner sense) and, on occasion, a diminution of the discomfort from the effort I was expending.

I began using the LifeSteps machine rather than running around the track and, since I was stationary, I could close my eyes while exercising and increase the kinds and numbers of internal exercise that I started doing, as it were.

Firstly, I would do some chanting of “om” timed to my breathing to attune myself, eyes closed.  Then I would attempt to enter the alpha state.

Now, much has been written in The Seth Material about “alpha”, but it was in Sue Watkin’s book, Conversations with Seth, Vol. 2, that there is a handy, helpful description of how to achieve it:

“To go into Alpha, we’d usually imagine ourselves doing something inspiring, like painting or writing, or listening to music; then we’d “hold” that feeling.  Some would instead imagine a tiny self standing off to one side of our heads…or we’d concentrate on one of Rob’s many paintings”.

At that point, I’d ask for time compression to happen, and if I wasn’t too distracted by day’s events, I almost always experience a time-compressed version of the exercise experience, thus shortening it, effectively, to my conscious perception.

From here, I would imagine a ghost-self projected above me, or elsewhere in the world, and I would try to ‘pour’ as much of me into that self, effectively removing myself from my body as much as possible.

This was also a time to do other energy visualizations or even belief work.  I particularly liked using various of Seth’s exercises or ideas about the body-as a universe full of stars of unimaginable power.  I’ve practiced seeing the room from different perspectives, checking in on others and being within their feeling-tone, trying to connect with my personal equivalent of Seth II, with other selves of mine, and working on reprogramming my genetics and the psychic blueprint of my body.

“There are certain simple steps that can be followed, whenever you find yourself in a difficult situation…  Immediately begin to live in the present as much as possible.  Try to become as aware as you can of present sense-data–all of it.  Often, while you are in pain, for example, you concentrate upon that sensation alone, ignoring the feelings of ease that may be felt by other portions of the body, and unaware of the conglomeration of sounds, sights, and impressions that are also in the immediate environment.”

And so the various approaches that I’ve described so far relate to what could be described as pain displacement, to my mind, or to a widening of one ‘s consciousness.

The other approach I’ve found is to embrace the pain and ride its power, which I’ve used to great personal effect.  This I’ve used during my long stretches, which I’ve found can be quite uncomfortable.  If I have a low-level anxiety, the content of which I’m not yet consciously aware, I’ve found that I can magnify that (uncomfortable) feeling by concentrating upon it during these (uncomfortable) stretches, making it more easy for me to be conscious of the contents of that feeling or group of feelings.  Once I am aware of what it is that is bothering me, I can take various measures to deal with that reality.

Now, all this is well and good but, in the end, one has to get off the couch and do something.  And so I shall leave you, gentle reader, with a simple exercise to create impulses that has always worked for me (whenever I’ve remembered to use it):

Take a quiet minute to imagine yourself in the very-near future, all of a sudden being filled with precisely the right impulse/desire to do what you wish to do (or have been avoiding doing!)  Imagine yourself at that point, filled with zest to do that particular thing.  Images or words or whatever may come to mind; whatever they may be, trust them as being exactly appropriate for you.  Stay within this little visualization for no more than a minute or two, in effect sending energy to that future self of yours. Within an hour you will experience a strong impulse to do what you’d preprogrammed.  Seize the moment and create as you will.

Happy and joyous creating (and exercising) to you!
©1999, Denny Hall.  Printed in the February – March 2000 Issue of the Conscious Creation Journal.  http://www.consciouscreation.com (Feel free to duplicate this article for personal use – please include this copyright notice.)

“Denny Hall is a singer/composer of songs/poems.  He lives in Toronto, his birthplace, now working toward completing his fortieth revolution around Sol.  He asks that if you enjoyed his article, comments are appreciated.  He can be reached at [email protected].