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Six Exercises for Discovering Hope

Six Exercises for Discovering Hope

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described five distinct stages before one can accept death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

In an essay called “Discovering Hope,” by John Davy, the author observed that Kubler-Ross’s five stages to accepting death are actually very similar to six exercises by Rudolph Steiner that will lead a person to harmony and hope!

If, like most of us, you need more of a sense of hope in your life, consider these thoughtful exercises:

The first exercise concerns the life of thinking. We are asked to spend a few minutes each day (for about a month) focusing our attention upon a single thought. We must exclude from consciousness all thoughts which do not relate directly to the object of our thinking. This exercise can be seen as a fitness program in the “soul-gym” for dealing with denial. Whenever we refuse to admit the possibility of something, our thinking skates and slithers about on the thin ice of rationality, inventing explanations and excuses.

The second exercise brings self-disciple into the will. We choose to do a simple and quite unnecessary act at the same time each day (perhaps for a month). The task may consist of transferring keys from one pocket to another, or of untying and retying a shoelace. The value of this exercise is that it is essentially “useless,” of no significance outwardly; it is then free of all compulsion. In disciplining our will-forces, we form a basis for the reining-in of anger, so that instead of lashing out we may attend to the issue.

The third exercise requires us to find a relationship to personal experiences through which we can view them with complete equanimity. It is better at first to look at some event in the past than a present issue; but essentially we must learn to regard joys and sorrows equally as the weather of the soul. At each time each day a mood of inner tranquility is established in the soul, an din these moments we become able to contemplate reality without being swept back and forth emotionally. We then learn to “own” whatever is ours, and to let go of whatever is not.

The fourth exercise is a challenge to view everything with positives, to say “Yes” to every experience which comes to us. This exercise aims toward the development of a positive gesture toward every aspect of life. Every situation is an opportunity for learning; even the deepest experience of depression then becomes a parable.

The fifth exercise extends this positivity further, to develop an open-minded attitude to the whole world. This implies having no prejudices, and being able to imagine that anything might be possible. Hence this particular exercise, through which we develop open-mindedness toward life in all its forms as it streams toward us. To arrive at acceptance requires such an open gesture.

The sixth exercise involves balancing the soul’s developmental needs through our continued practice of these exercises in relation with one another, an activity which is different in the case of every individual.

Read more: Spirit, Exercises, Inspiration, Self-Help

Adapted from A Way of Seeing, by John Allison (Lindisfarne Books, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by John Allison. Reprinted by permission of Lantern Books.
Adapted from A Way of Seeing, by John Allison (Lindisfarne Books, 2003).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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9 comments

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10:18PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

10:18PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

10:17PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

10:16PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

7:58PM PST on Dec 7, 2007


That "weather of the soul" - that is very profound.

2:07PM PDT on Sep 10, 2007


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3:26PM PDT on Jun 13, 2007

Yes, that's true!
I did the same after my first news about my chronic condition; after my heart attack. And it worked a lot for my moods and to soothe my soul.
I knew nothing about Kubler-Ross steps, now I know, but the effect is the same, calm and peace at the spirit.

2:11PM PDT on Jun 11, 2007

Yes, agree with Kathryn H.

2:04PM PDT on Jun 11, 2007

Good stuff!

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people are talking

Thanks for sharing.

Interesting article... thanks Care2

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