Podcast Series 1, Episode 2: The “I Am” Exercise

The "I Am" exercise  - freedom in the sky paraglider

The “I Am” Exercise

The “I Am” exercise allows a being to experience their own presence by the utterance of two words, with deep focus on one’s being.

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Hi, I’m Gary

Welcome to a series of podcasts on how to achieve a peaceful and mindful state by using simple, short exercises. Each episode will focus upon a particular element of our being, and will reveal exercises designed to expand our awareness, and build up a gradual sense of inner calm and alertness.

Last time, we talked about the “Threefold Attention Exercise”.

Today, we’re going to talk about an exercise called “I Am”. 

Another exercise I learned from a fellow in Texas. 

An exercise that allows a person to experience their own presence.

This is a very important exercise. 

In an I AM exercise a person says the word “I” silently to themselves as they inhale, and the word “AM” as they exhale. 

Find a comfortable place

So, in order to do this exercise, find a comfortable place where you can sit still, and then decide the breath on which you are going to start.

Let’s begin…. 

So, I am sitting there saying, “OK, I am going to try an I AM exercise and I am going to begin on the next breath. 

OK, ready, here I go…

I silently say to myself “I” on the inhale, and “AM” on the exhale”.

Then I stop and ask myself, “How much of me was present?”

Was I just saying two words, or did I feel a sense of presence in myself from saying them. 

Sense yourself

A sense of me.

A sense of my existence.

I then say, “OK, well, that’s a start!”

Then I choose another breath, and again silently say to myself, “I” on the inhale, and “AM” on the exhale.

My aim is to make the second “I AM” greater than the first “I AM”.

I continue saying “I AM” on chosen breaths, and after each one I tell myself, “That’s better, but that’s not all of me yet. That’s just the beginning. That is not all of me, but it’s a start.” 

So, I do a third one, “I” on the inhale and “AM” on the exhale

And again say, “That, too, was not all of me… but it was better.” 

Then I do a fourth one, with even more tenacity, trying to get more of me involved.

Maybe it takes 7 or 8 breaths of this nature, and all of a sudden on the “8th” breath, when I say “I” on the inhale and “AM” on the exhale, I feel a change in my body. 

And there is an assemblage of presence in me; and I go, “OK that is the beginning. That is finally starting to be my “I AM”. OK, let me see how big I can make it.”

Sense the body

I start by looking at my left foot, and asking, “Is the “I AM” taking place in my left foot?” 

And my left foot looks back at me and says, “Me? I’m supposed to do this? You want me to do this? I’m supposed to do this too?” 

“Yes! I want you, my left foot, to be present in the I AM”.

And so on the next breath when I say “I AM”, I again have the calmness and stillness in my body, but now, I also feel it in my left foot! 

My left foot is in my awareness. 

It was not in my awareness before. 

But it is now.

And then I start to look at other parts of my body as well, and ask, “OK, how many of you can we get involved? Let’s get ALL of you involved. Let’s make the next “I AM” bigger and better… with even more of you involved.” 

And, I continue, until I get as much of me as I can participating in these two words: “I” and “AM”. 

Sense the body’s instincts

In the last podcast, we talked about center. 

How people have an instinctive center – that senses, a moving center – that carries them along in life, and an emotional center – that sees meaning in the world.

Understanding that, I try to get each center to individually participate in the “I AM” exercise. 

“OK, instinctive centre, you’re first.”

On the next “I AM” I want everything to fire in my senses.

I want every nerve to respond and say “We are here.”

And I do several “I AMs” in this way, and I try to get the instinctive centre to acknowledge its presence.

After achieving this, I stop performing the “I AMs” with my instinctive centre, and move to my moving center.

Still the body

Since I’m not moving, I will use the stillness of my body to indicate that my moving centre is participating in the exercise. 

I hold my body in stillness as I say “I AM”. 

By my stillness, my moving center is saying “I AM”.

It says, “I am here doing it with you. I am still!”

It’s like I’m a statue, frozen like a rock. Nothing is moving.

And I do several “I AMs” in this frozen state.

Feel the “I Ams”

Next, I move to my emotional center and try to FEEL my “I AMs”. 

I do this by acknowledging that I am the only species on the face of the earth that can say “I AM”. 

There are 75 million species of living creatures, and none of them know that they are here, except for me! 

Nature has been doing this for 5 billion years, evolving up to humankind – who is the only species that KNOWS that they are here. 

I hopefully will have 80 years to complete the journey. That is, become fully self-conscious, and acquire all that a human is destined to acquire. To wake up. 

What an obligation! 

That means something. I feel it.

And now, there is an emotion in me, of this idea: that I am the only species that knows of its existence; and what it means.

So, I do emotional “I AMs” that are full of meaning. 

Then, after I complete the emotional “I AMs”, I do all three centres together.

All three together

I sense, I feel, I still my body.

Again, all three centers together. 

I want everybody. 

I want the whole chorus. 

And I do that for several breaths, until… I am zinging. 

Finally, I always like to finish my “I AM’s” with what I call a “building I AM”. 

Where I just say “I” with little sips of air.

I just say “I” with sips of air. 

Just say “I” with sips of air.

Build to a crescendo

And, every time I say “I”, something builds. 

Something gets bigger.

And bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

And there comes a moment when I know it is time to say “AM”, because I have built up so much of the “I” in me I am simply not able to build it up anymore, and then I exhale, and say “AM”, and usually something goes “whoosh” down through my body. 

My whole body tingles.

I took in little teeny sips of air and built my “I”.

Little “I’s” gathered until they got so big, I could not take in any more. 

And I was compelled to say, “AM”, and “Whoosh!”

An important exercise

So, this is a very important exercise. 

Take a breath, and say “I” on the inhale and “AM” on the exhale. 

Always say, “That’s not it yet.” 

Then do it again.

Make the next one better. 

You can do this. 

You can make the next one bigger.

After that one, say “Better, but that’s not it yet”.

Then do another one, make it better. 

Do another one, make it better; do another one, make it better. 

Make each one better than the last. 

Try to do each one with more of you. 

Straighten your posture.

Change something.

Make the next one better. 

There will come a moment, maybe the 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th breath, when the assemblage of your “I AM” starts and you feel some conscience, some presence, in your whole body. 

Look everywhere in you

Then, look at your left foot to see if it is there too. 

Make it happen there as well. 

Then get other parts of your body to participate. 

a) Use your instinctive center to do it.

b) Use your moving center’s stillness to participate.

c) Use your emotional center to recognize the value of what it means to be the only creature on the face of the earth that knows you are here. 

The obligation that puts you under!

Then, do them all together. 


Finally, end up with one that just builds the “I”. 

Just “I”, “I”, “I”, “I”, “I”, “I”, “I”, “I”, “I”, as you sip in air.

Oh my! 


Time to say “AM” … and …. Whoosh! 



Stop and for a few moments feel the presence of yourself. 



That’s the end of this exercise



Thank you for listening.


Hopefully, there is more of You listening to this podcast than the last.


This was the”I AM” Exercise.


Thank you and goodbye until next time.

Teachings based upon the works of R. A. Smith and G. I. Gurdjieff.

All material © 2020 THEDOG Publishing

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