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The Firewalk Experience

By Tom Margrave

A Typical Firewalk

A typical firewalk might have anywhere from ten to 50 participants. Tony Robbins, author of Unlimited Power, has had as many as 1200 participants at one of his firewalks. Most firewalks take place in the evening and are divided into two sections–the workshop and the walk.

The workshop begins with introductions and some kind of process for the participants to get to know each other and the instructor. Then the participants are led outside to build the bonfire. Half a cord of wood is stacked into a pile five feet wide by five feet high. The pile is then doused with kerosene and lit.

Within a few moments the fire is leaping 15 feet into the sky. The participants then return to the class room space and the workshop continues. Topics covered in the workshop may include dealing with fear, growing beyond self-imposed limitations or the creative power of mind and intention.

Walking The Walk

After about two and a half hours, the fire is burned down to a pile of glowing, red-hot coals. As the participants gather around, the coals are raked out into a pathway 12 feet long and six feet wide. Often the heat from the coals is enough to singe the hair from the fingers of the person wielding the rake even though the handle is six feet long.

When the bed is fully prepared, the tension and fear within the group is tangible. The workshop leader moves to the head of the bed and strides quickly across the coals. Just seeing someone walk the coals is a powerful transformative experience. A person’s sense of the wonderful possibilities inherent in living on this earth expands beyond its current limitations.

Even more powerful is when a person opens to his own fears, listens to his own inner guidance and, if appropriate, moves beyond the limitations of fear and crosses the fire himself. Usually 85% to 95% of the participants walk the fire and usually there will only be a blister or two in the whole group. Sometimes we need a blister just to prove to ourselves that the fire was really hot!

Doing The Impossible

During my firewalk instructor training, I witnessed an individual named Michael, from Seattle, Washington, walk into the center of a bed of glowing hot coals and stop. He reached down and picked up some coals and held them in the palm of his hand for ten or fifteen seconds. After dropping the coals, he proceeded to walk up and down a still flaming log on the edge of the coals. He then stepped back into the center of the coal bed. After a short time, he finally and reluctantly left the bed in order to make room for others who were growing impatient to walk themselves.

Michael’s feet and hands were unscathed. It seemed like Michael was on the coal bed for a minute and a half to two minutes. With even the most conservative of estimates, he was there at least 45 seconds. I was blown away.

Intention and Consciousness

When walking the coals, the thoughts a person thinks are excellent feedback as to their degree of focused intention. By way of example, the first time I firewalked, when I was half way across the coals, I could feel their heat but they didn’t burn. Suddenly I had the thought “This is impossible!” At that moment, I felt a lick of pain. Immediately I refocused my attention and made it across the rest of the way without further problems. A small blister was the result of my broken intention.

Firewalking has shown me that it is valuable for us to open to life, let go of our judgements, feel our feelings, take some risks, affirm our aliveness, and love ourselves. We are children and perfect expressions of our Creator. Joy and love are our inheritance. Now is the time to claim them.

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