When you come here, you are given all kinds of exercises to do and it is important that you put them into practice, for they will make you stronger and help you to contend with your problems. What counts is the intensity of attention and concentration you bring to them. I have so often seen proof of this! The Master Peter Deunov used to say, ‘When you pray, focus your thoughts exclusively on the object of your prayer and take a deep, slow breath’. Prayer has greater efficacy when it is accompanied by peaceful, rhythmic breathing. God says to us, ‘take a deep breath and listen, and you will hear my voice’; when we breathe deeply and consciously we can more easily be in touch with God.
Let me explain one very simple exercise where you can associate a prayer with your breathing. You take a deep breath and at the same time mentally say a prayer; you hold your breath while saying another prayer; then you breathe out to the accompaniment of another prayer. For example, you can take the first three supplications of the Lord’s Prayer:
As you breathe in, say to yourself, ‘Hallowed be your name’;
As you hold your breath, say, ‘Your kingdom come’.
As you breathe out, say, ‘Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven’.
But one of the very best exercises you can do – and i advise you to get into the habit of doing it every day, several times a day – is to inhale light. Pick a quiet spot where no one will disturb you, sit comfortably and breathe: imagine you are breathing in cosmic light, the light that is even subtler, infinitely subtler than sunlight, that intangible, invisible, quintessential light that permeates all creation.
Let this light penetrate deep inside you and circulate through all your cells, all the organs of your body.
Then, as you breathe out, draw it from yourself and project it outwards to enlighten, illuminate and help every single creature in the world. This is a truly extraordinary exercise for, in cabbalistic terms, you become the letter Aleph. Aleph, the first letter of the hebrew alphabet, symbolizes one who receives light from heaven with one hand and distributes it with the other hand, to the whole of humanity.
You cannot become Aleph if you think only of yourself, if you keep all the light for yourself. Aleph is those whose only concern is to give, to warm, enlighten and vivify others, without a thought for themselves. They are creators, saviours of humanity, sons and daughters of God.