Author photo © 2016 Kathleen Dreier Photography
Barbara Haynes was born in 1950 to a tenant farming family on the plains of west Texas. Her mother was a devout Christian and instilled in Barbara a sense of spiritual values and a belief in an existence beyond what we can see. She spent her early adult years searching for a spiritual "home".
In the spring of 1984 she received an invitation to attend, what was for her a pivotal, invocational dinner at which the work of E.J. Gold was presented and studied. She found the works of E.J. Gold and his presentation of the ideas to be very practical and useful in everyday application.
After working with Mr. Gold and some members of his community at a jewelry show in Los Angeles in 1985 Barbara made the decision to move to California to live and work with the community working with Mr. Gold.
In November, 1986, Barbara moved to Grass Valley, California and has been working closely with Mr. Gold for the last thirty years.
I first came across the idea of using exercises or experiments to open new perspectives on myself, the environment and my relationships with others when I encountered E.J. Gold's book Practical Work on Self in 1984. Mr. Gold offers exercises in his book that allowed me to gain a new understanding of myself.
I worked with each of the twenty-four exercises in Practical Work on Self and found the results revealing.
I had a most profound experience while doing the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Popcor exercise.
I was driving my car -- a stick shift -- and attempting to watch the movements of my body doing its job while keeping an eye on traffic. Suddenly "things" changed. Though traffic continued it felt as if everything had gone into slow motion, I could see around the car in a way that would not normally have been possible -- more like a sensing than a seeing. I drove another five or ten minutes in that state before I arrived home. When I left the car I had a definite feeling of having been cared for ever so gently by the car and I gave it a pat on the trunk in thanks. I walked through the house and finally sat down on the sofa where I enjoyed another half hour of heightened perceptions.
One Wednesday afternoon, about a year ago, as I was preparing dinner I had the thought: how easy it would be to keep the kitchen clean and exercise my attention if I remembered all the things and areas I had touched during meal preparation and made sure to clean them during clean up.
My Wednesday afternoon meal prep inspiration got me to thinking about the various little exercises, experiments and practices I have done over the years and the ones I currently do to strengthen my attention and presence. I decided to gather them together and share them.
At one time or another I have done all the exercises in this book. Some have become a part of my life while others I pick up and put down as the need arises. They have all come from personal experience personally experienced.
The exercises are not in a particular order. I encourage you to use them in whatever way works best for you. Opening the book and letting synchronicity take a hand in choosing which one you will do that day is a great way to approach the exercises. Keeping a journal can help you work with the experiences you have as you do the different exercises.
I hope you will find this book useful and that it will inspire you to find ways to make every day a holy day.