The Guidelines for Inner Development, used by Instituto Alef, originated in very old Schools of Inner Knowledge. The Master Khoja Abd Al-Khaliq al Ghujdawani, of the Order of the Khwajagan (Order of the Masters) of Turkestan, in Central Asia, collected the first 8 rules described here and The Khoja Muhammad Bogauddin Naqshband (years 1318-1389), founder of the Naqshbandi Order, added the Secrets or Rules – 9, 10 and 11.
The Director of the Institute has re-interpreted, translated and clarified the meaning and use of each of these guidelines, enabling students to use them, with the help of the Director, in a clear, practical manner, as constant reminders to help focus Inner Work, day by day, minute to minute.
The use and deep meaning of these Eleven Secrets or Guidelines of Spiritual Development, is in truth, unlimited. As the student matures and develops Spiritually, he will perceive more and more aspects of each of the Guidelines.
They are Secrets because they open little by little, developing the individual who uses them constantly, as guides to self-knowledge and to knowing more and more of the Totality that gives Life to the Universe. They are secrets because they are known and used only in schools based on the Order of the Masters.
The Director of Instituto Alef has reinterpreted the emphasis given to each of these Guidelines, considering it of vital importance, that they be clearly understood and easily remembered, like formulas, which can help the student in every aspect of his or her study.
First the eleven Guidelines are listed briefly, introducing them in a way, which the student may memorize and afterwards they will be described in more detail.
The Student reviews these Secrets or Guidelines, for several minutes every day to memorize them and to be able to understand them as he or she progresses in his Inner Work.
The Eleven Secrets or Guidelines for Spiritual Development:
ONE : Conscious Breathing.
TWO : Intention or Constant Awareness of the Objective.
THREE : Self Observation.
FOUR : Solitude in the midst of Turmoil.
FIVE : Remembering.
SIX : Return.
SEVEN : Awareness, or to Be Alert.
EIGHT : Recollection or Joining.
NINE : Pause of Time.
TEN : Pause of Numbers.
ELEVEN : Pause of the Heart.
These Secrets or Guidelines, together with the inner exercises, the indications and directives, and the Energy that is received to utilize them, form the Way to Inner Development that the student will need.
ONE: Conscious Breathing .- It is necessary to realize the importance of breathing. The human being breathes in an automatic way, thanks to his nervous system, but this respiration is insufficient to support physical, emotional, and mental health, much less, contribute to greater spiritual development. This is because the human being, unconsciously, does involuntary things that prevent him from breathing correctly; the way very small children do naturally. For instance, when experiencing a physical, emotional, or mental pain, the individual unconsciously contracts muscles that prevent breathing correctly and at the same time contracts or impedes the flow of energies to his Spiritual Being.
To develop Conscious Breathing, improving health in all levels previously mentioned, the individual would have to do several things that gradually make this development possible.
First, one must use this information, accepting in the mind the importance of learning to breathe consciously.
With observation, the individual will notice there are moments in which he almost stops breathing, moments when his breathing is too shallow and others in which it is inharmonious or irregular.
Through observation, breathing should become more continuous, deeper, more relaxed and consequently, more complete, providing greater oxygenation to the physiological system and also opening the possibility of receiving subtle energies, previously not contacted. This occurs through exercises prescribed at each stage of the student’s development.
By observing the breath in a tranquil and relaxed way, there will be a tendency for the body and the inner being to breathe in a circular way. By circular, it is meant that, it takes the same time to inhale as to exhale.
The simple act of developing circular breathing, observing it in a tranquil way, contributes growing benefits in all levels mentioned: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
The inner state of a person who is able to observe his or her breathing during the whole day is a very different state of Being to that of a person who has never noticed how his breathing is. The tranquility, peace, attention, etc. of such a person will grow the more he practices this form of breathing.
To combine breathing with Intention and Visualization is a theme or context carried out in this school, producing new possibilities for the human being.
This at first is carried out through exercises prescribed for each student and later on also continues in a natural way in daily Life, offering a new way of Living, as much physiologically as Spiritually.
TWO: Intention .- To Know where one is going at each moment. To know the steps one is taking. After Conscious Breathing, nothing is more important than Intention. With intention, one does everything in Life, including breathing, when it is necessary or called for.
To breathe without Intention, is like an empty cup, before being filled with that which will quench thirst. To breathe without Intention, merely to maintain physiological Life is completely acceptable and natural, but it is not the only possibility for a human being.
It is necessary, in this school; to learn to observe the steps that one takes, with the Objective of always being in pursuit of a Goal. The Goal can be partial or primary or final. This will depend on the importance of the occasion; on the action that one is carrying out, etc.
By achieving many partial objectives, the main Objective is reached.
For example, you can breathe with the Objective to Be, to Serve, to Understand, to Perceive, to Love, to Know, and in this way, to eventually become familiar, with that which gives Life to All.
By remembering and utilizing this Secret or Guideline, one comes to Live with Objectives and with real Intention.
THREE: Self Observation .- To know oneself in a kind way, without judgment, with affection, with interest, to be able to observe one’s characteristics – both positive and negative. The positive can be polished, becoming more productive. The negative characteristics, one begins to exchange, for others that are positive.
The observation of oneself must be carried out in a very relaxed way, without tension, without judgment, without expectations: as though you were watching scenes from someone else’s life.
FOUR: Solitude in the midst of Turmoil .- Is to be alone within oneself and not permit events occurring outside yourself to affect you physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Even in the middle of uncomfortable or violent situations, one can remain with self-control. From this center one can do what is necessary, with objectivity, with tranquility, with self-affection, with self-control.
By using various of the secrets or guidelines simultaneously, for example, combining conscious Breathing and Self Observation, together with this Guideline of Solitude or Isolation, one is able to achieve great benefits and advantages in every situation. One can prevent the negative events occurring around one, to provoke loss of control, of energy, of directed attention, leaving one at the mercy of all kinds of accidents. And instead create and produce an environment of Well Being, that is required to Be, to Serve, to Understand and in general, to be able to exercise the faculties of the Spirit.
FIVE: to Remember .- To Remember situations, beings, persons, places, elements, designs, from one’s remote or recent past. Situations and elements positive to oneself can be remembered, making it possible to re-connect with that positive Energy, state, sensation, being, or person, to deepen and promote a better situation within oneself and one’s present environment.
One does this by perceiving and understanding that the Inner Work is being carried out in a dimension where past, present and future, are one and the same thing. Therefore, one can re-contact a context, person, or energy and benefit from this Memory.
SIX: Return .- Return to a state of self-control. To deliberately return to the best state possible for oneself, at a chosen moment. This is done at times when one observes that there is a loss of self-control, that one is being carried away by external circumstances, commotion, or violence.
This Guideline is a means to learn to acquire very fine reins to govern oneself, with affection, simplicity and relaxation.
SEVEN: Attention or to be Alert .- This Guideline is to remind the student to be attentive and alert in a general way, especially to all that is positive, both outside oneself, as well as within one’s Being. One becomes aware of moments when the faculties of the Spiritual Being (Organs of Perception) are active, and can learn to use these faculties with greater precision, ease, and confidence. One also learns to recognize moments when there is positive energy, useful for Inner Work, and to be aware of the moments when the energy is not present, moments when one must be able to exercise patience, and also use techniques to enhance the Energy which is missing. One employs attention in a tranquil, relaxed manner, never with tension.
EIGHT: Recollect or Join .- Is the constant awareness of the Presence of the Totality, having the sensation of the body and the Being at the same time. Also, it is to place into the Deep Memory, experiences of essential importance, for the development of the Being. With time, one comes to recognize these central experiences more easily – until finally one is able to enter in contact with the Divine Essence, with the Totality. This rule is to divide Attention, simultaneously aware of the sensation of the body, the Being and the Totality. It is to join that which is on the outside, with that which is inside oneself, into a single attentive sensation.
This Guideline is used always during Inner exercises prescribed for the student.
NINE: Pause of Time .- Is to be aware of Non Time. Non-Time can be perceived when performing an exercise, or when with the Guide, or in special places, etc. This is to be in contact with a dimension in which it is realized that time is not operating in the customary way.
In a certain way the Secrets or Guidelines 9, 10 and 11 refer to the way one enters other levels of Being, of Awareness, and therefore into Dimensions beyond the third, in which the human being normally exists and carries out daily life. The five senses, so useful for the physical body and daily life, are also an obstacle, which prevent the mind and Spirit of the human being to perceive, grasp, understand and know other dimensions that also exist. The student, beginning Spiritual work, needs to understand that this work develops in other dimensions, which gradually he will become familiar with, by carrying out certain exercises.
The Eleven secrets, together with the inner exercises prescribed for each student, are utilized fully and deliberately in the Institute, to achieve the spiritual development that is possible for a human being.
To stop Time, the use of the clock, the hurry in carrying out activities, is indispensable for contacting the energies that are found outside the physical dimensions. Entering into the inner tasks and exercises calmly and with simplicity will help the student a great deal to Stop Time.
TEN: Pause of Numbers .- The Pause of numbers relates to exercises that are prescribed to the student when the right moment arrives for him to do them. These are carried out through visualization – sensation – relaxation – intention – attention – and breathing in coordination with certain numbers and certain areas of the body and Being, in order to contact and benefit from the use of certain Energies.
These exercises are carried out in phases of study in which the student has already become familiar with many of the aspects of the Inner Work.
The numbers relate to frequencies, colors, sounds, and certain parts of the body and the ethereal being.
ELEVEN: Pause of the Heart .- The Spiritual Heart of the Human Being is the center or organ of Inner Perception that will receive the most attention in the Work and Inner study of the student in the Institute. It is in this Inner organ that Intention is born.
This center or organ is not the physical heart, but is very united to it and is a vital part of the Spiritual Being.
When an individual works with certain spiritual exercises, the inner Heart stops, and fixes or sets itself, upon a certain frequency. It is like a technological device that has the capacity to stop at a selected frequency. This occurs by visualizing and simultaneously having the intention to stop at a frequency or specific context that is deliberately chosen, in order to benefit by the contact.
Logically, it is quite impossible to give a complete description of these Guidelines or Secrets, because their understanding develops dependent upon how the individual is working with them every day, with the Guide of the Spiritual Director.
These Descriptions are to give the student and the reader of the Institute’s Web page, an idea that serves as a basis for understanding the importance of having precise Guidelines for Inner development in order to begin a deeper stage of Inner study.
Meditating upon the description in the following paragraph can be of use in grasping the form in which these Guidelines may be used, in a more complete and constant way, for the development of the Spiritual Being. That part of the human being that is not of the third dimension :
To Breathe Consciously and to Live Life with Intention, Observing Oneself, with the capacity to Isolate oneself even in situations of noise and violence, Remembering all that is of Real Benefit for oneself, with natural self-control, with Attention and Alertness to live a full Life, Gathering everything positive which one knows, reviewing it frequently, in order to Be able to be in the Presence of the Totality, can be attained with the help of an Awareness of Time, so that one may start to act outside of time, with an Awareness of Numbers to know that one has completed an inner work and also to use numbers in a certain way , in order to contact specific Energies for Inner Development, Being conscious of the Heart, knowing that it contains what I have deliberately put there, through the use of visualization and Intention, so that It is fixed or set upon a specific Content, so that I may remain there and Be there in contact with partial expressions of the Totality, or fixing and remaining my Being only in : The Totality.