The “Six Supplementary Exercises” were developed by Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy, as a way to supplement spiritual development. The exercises are intended to be used in conjunction with meditation and contemplation practices.
The six exercises are:
- The Control of Thought:
This exercise involves focusing the mind on a single thought or idea for an extended period of time, in order to develop mental discipline and control.
- The Control of Feelings:
This exercise involves focusing on a feeling or emotion and observing it without judgment or attachment, in order to develop emotional awareness and control.
- The Control of Actions:
This exercise involves choosing a simple action or gesture, such as walking or breathing, and performing it consciously and with full attention, in order to develop physical awareness and control.
- The Path of Equanimity:
This exercise involves cultivating a sense of inner balance and detachment from external circumstances, in order to develop spiritual equanimity and resilience.
- The Path of Consecration:
This exercise involves dedicating oneself to a spiritual ideal or goal, and striving to embody it in daily life, in order to deepen one’s spiritual commitment and connection.
- The Path of Insight:
This exercise involves developing the ability to perceive and understand the spiritual dimensions of reality, through the practice of contemplation and insight meditation.
Books about the exercises
The Six Supplementary Exercises were originally presented by Rudolf Steiner in his book “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment,” which was first published in German in 1904. The exercises can be found in the second half of the book, beginning in Chapter 10.
There are many translations of this book available in English, and it is widely considered to be one of Steiner’s most important works on anthroposophy and spiritual development.
In addition to “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds,” there are many other books by Rudolf Steiner and about anthroposophy that explore these exercises and related topics in depth. Some examples include “Theosophy,” “Occult Science,” and “How to Know Higher Worlds,” and “An Outline of Esoteric Science”, all written by Steiner himself. There are also numerous commentaries and interpretations of Steiner’s work by other authors, such as Sergei Prokofieff and Robert Sardello, among others.
You can find many of these titles in our library for you to use, or in our bookshop for you to purchase.
>> Download a description of these exercises from “An Outline of Esoteric Science” by clicking here.
Here is a short video explanation by Brian Grey who takes us through the 6 basic exercises that Rudolf Steiner recommends.
Another useful exercise of Steiner’s is known in german as the “Ruckschau” or “Review of the day”.
This is a daily practice of reviewing the events of a day, in reverse order of their occurrence. This can provide a foundation of strength for the days ahead.