In 1988 I attended a seminar given by Anthony Robbins in Virginia Beach. The first night we walked on fire. It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. It was also a turning point for me in understanding that there could be times when the known, traditional laws of physics did not apply.
212 People attended. I was the last person to try it. It was Friday night. Four lanes of mesquite wood were burning - red coals with a blue glow rising above, just right for a Bar-B-Que!
First Tony scared the crap out of us, inside the building. "What do you think could happen to you out there?!" Yep, you could trip and fall and get COAL FACE! You could catch your hair on fire! You could be the ONLY one who gets burned! You could be in a hospital for months!
Why would we do such an apparently stupid thing? To push the limits? Actually Tony saw this as a goal setting exercise.
First you set your goal. You are going to walk about 12 - 15 feet on burning coals to a group of friends who are cheering you on. Waiting to hug and yell. (Tony is from California).
You are going to gather together your resources and take firm sure steps toward your goal. You do not run, because you could slip and fall. You do not stop in the middle. When you reach your goal, you celebrate!!
I watched 211 people walk on fire. No one was injured. I looked at their feet. NO burns. No blisters. Old people. Young people. All kinds of people. But I was just not going to do it! Until I thought, what will you feel like when you get back home and you did not even try?
So I found myself in front of the coals. I hesitated. Did I mention there were African drummers beating out frantic rhythms? I stood there feeling the heat. Tony gently slapped me on the back and I stepped forward. Instantly I felt I was in the middle of an illusion. There was no sense of heat. It felt like my bare pale, shaking, feet were walking on popcorn. Each foot contacted these coals 4 or 5 times.
When I got to the end, the waiting people grabbed me, screaming, celebrating, hugging. I felt cold liquid as they washed the burning embers from my feet and ankles with a garden hose.
That night I met a physics professor from Princeton. He was amazed. He said there was no scientific explanation. He said we should have been burned. The hair was burned off my legs midway up to my knees, but there were absolutely no burns or blisters, my skin did not even look sunburned.
We did not walk though any kind of protective solution. We just took off our shoes and socks and walked on fire.
It remains a mystery today for me. I have done the firewalk several more times. Each time a terrifying experience. Two of the walks in Hawaii were 50 feet. I felt a little warm, but no burns.
I am not sure there is a rational explanation. But I am asking. Does anyone know what happens when we walk on fire?
EDITED It has been said that this is not a supernatural experience because audiences with little or no metepahysical knowledge have done it. As I understand it in Fiji, it is a common occurance where the fire-walking "priests" invite the audiance to follow them. I supposed that "nothing" is really supernatural.
However something did happen, as I put each foot down in burning coals 4 or 5 times, with no sensation of heat. BUT I have hurt these very same feet walking on a hot beach, or stepping on a stil buring cigarette.
Uri Geller bent spoons (maybe), one time he went to Japan and did a demonstration for children. Within a short period of time many of the children were also bending spoons. They saw it happen, had little resistance to the idea and did it!
When we actually experience something unusual that someone else is doing, it changes our belief system, and others can do it.
For about 2,000 years, it was thought that man could not run a mile in less than four minutes. That record was broken by Roger Bannister in May of 1954. His record lasted less than 46 days and other athletes, once they released their resistance to the "four minute mile barrier" were able to do it also.
Could we levitate? Walk through walls? I believe that we could, and probably some people (who are not interested in publicity) are doing this. It would just take releasing some restrictive, resistant beliefs.
It is ONLY our default, automatic belief systems that empower or disempower us!
I've never done walking on hot coals myself but, maybe because I have a fairly scientific background, I've also never seen it as much of a mystery that requires either a mind-over-matter or supernatural explanation.
In my mind, the feet of the walkers are not in contact for long enough with the coals to cause enough heat transfer to burn the feet. So, to me, it's more of a psychological illusion than something actually dangerous...as long as you keep walking steadily. So it's about overcoming your fears rather than breaking the laws of physics.
I did once attend a Mind, Body, Spirit festival where the "performer" attempted to demonstrate his own "mind over matter" abilities by walking over a stage littered with broken glass.
He managed to badly cut his feet, which were heavily bleeding, and he was carried away, presumably for medical treatment - not the most convincing demonstration of "mind over matter" I've ever seen :)
answered 09 Mar '12, 23:15
It was about 1990 when I did the fire walk with Tony Robbins in San Diego. (Later I got a kick out of the movie "Shallow Hall" in the scene where Hall was stuck in the elevator with Tony. When Hall shook Tony's hand, he exclaimed, "Wow, that's like shaking a bunch of bananas!" It's TRUE! I stood on stage with Tony that weekend and shook that same hand. When I heard Hall say that, it all came back to me... it's TRUE! His hands are huge!) That Friday night there was probably about 600 of us in that big room in that hotel down at San Diego harbor all screaming and shouting and standing on our chairs. Then at the peak of our hysteria late that night, we all went outside and got in lines where there were probably a half dozen rows of hot coals waiting for us.
I remember standing back ten or twelve feet from the the first line I passed and could feel the heat coming off the coals. I could see the glowing embers fall from the shovels of the helpers as they stoked the lines with more hot coals from the wheel barrows. And when it was finally my turn to walk, I kept repeating "Cool Moss" over and over as I tramped across those coals. And at the other end I yelled "POWER!" as I stood there and they sprayed water to wash my feet. I also walked on broken glass with Marshal Silver, a hypnotist in San Diego and I broke boards in Los Angles with Tad James, an NLP trainer from Hawaii and I loved every one of those experiences!
Yes, fire walking has been investigated to death by all kinds of people who want to find the "the real reason" people don't get burned when they walk. It's natural to want to try to figure it out. The first thing any kid does with an old clock is tear it apart to see what makes it tick. It's our natural curiosity to want to understand the unusual. And just about everyone who comes up with an answer makes sure it fits their paradigm of the world. Why? Because it's also natural to be suspicious of anything that does not fit.
Yes, we can all walk on fire. But what if that night Tony had you walk through a solid wall? Just think of the implications! Consider the scale of the impossible. As you go up that scale, it gets scarier. What if people really could levitate? Or even fly? What if voodoo is real? What if the world of Harry Potter is real and we just can't see it? What if people really can "jump" to other realities and learn from their "other" selves. And what if the Matrix is real? Am I really being gullible to let myself believe there's a supernatural reason I can do something unusual or impossible? Ripley's Believe it or not is full of stories of people doing the impossible. And believe it or not, believing the impossible is precisely "why" one can DO the impossible!
For me, I prefer the magic in life. Science is wonderful and I love what the world of quantum physics has done for our understanding of the world because now, where understanding fails, believing can pick up where it left off and finish the impossible dream. But if all one wants to do is explain away the magic so they can feel a bit safer in their world, then I say "Be careful Vernon Dursley. Don't let what's apparent fool you. It's what's not apparent that will sneak up on you in a moment of "Magic" and shatter your safe little muggle world. BUHAHAhahahahaha!!!" ;-)
answered 10 Mar '12, 11:42
sorry I deleted my original answer; but it was the only way I could delete my last paragraph permanently. I replaced it with links & nearly all of them will give you the same answer.
considering who Anthony Robbins is & the fact your bio says you are an Industrial Psychologist; I think you already know the 'scientific' theory as well as mystical explanations to your question. I'm confident; you have searched the internet for an answer.
To answer your question, yes, I have & witnessed it more times than I've done it. I know it's a combination of physics & state of mind; but actually prefer to believe an explanation which is more mystical/spiritual over the scientific answers..
Today, it is often used in corporate and team-building seminars and self-help workshops as a confidence-building exercise. Firewalking implies the belief that the feat requires the aid of a supernatural force, strong faith, or on an individual's ability to focus on "mind over matter". Modern physics has largely debunked this however, showing that the amount of time the foot is in contact with the ground is not enough to induce a burn, combined with the fact that coal is not a very good conductor of heat.
After that there was not much attention paid to firewalking in Great Britain nor America until the early 1980s. At about the turn of the decade there was a resurgence of interest due to lucrative businesses promoting self-image and confidence boosting courses which relied heavily on people firewalking as part of the course; many of them are still in existence. Most of those making money from these ventures tend to portray firewalking as something in the realm of "mind over matter" and not something understandable in terms of simple Physics. There are others though who are skeptical and do not believe that it requires a particular state of mind, or that anything extraordinary, in the true sense of the word, is involved.
The following quote tends to resonate with me most:
**"Danforth, the Bates College anthropologist, said that scientific explanations do not "debunk or diminish or invalidate the value of the ritual."
"[Fire walking] can have the power to affirm one's life. It can change lives, give confidence, all kinds of things," he said."**
I had a friend, who recently passed who had a doctorate in Business Psychology & like you owned his own consulting business. He too was a man of science & religion.
in regard to my experience with fire walking. It was at a weekend spiritual retreat; one of many 'activities'. I considered it a mystical, enlightening & yes, a sacred ritual. It was referred to as the Four Paths of Fire. When we came out of the sweat lodge; we dropped our towels & our inhibitions & proceeded to walk over live coals naked. Now before you get the wrong idea; it was not a coven of witches or did it result in a wild orgy . . . so if you're thinking along those lines, stop; shamanic intention. I know fire walking has a scientific explanation & nearly anyone can do it; but for me, it was all about intention. (Don't you just hate it when someone bursts your bubble with science? - rhetorical question)
I tried to Google this; but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. Here are a couple links which will give you a general idea.
Max Freedom Long in the "Secret Science Behind Miracles" talked about the Hunas taking him for a walk on semi-molten, but still very, very hot lava. They took a stick and tapped the lava in front of them. When Long ask, was it part of the ritrual, they said no, we just want to be sure the lava crust is strong enough to support our weight.
He insisted that he wear his boots. They demurred, saying he was walking on the Mother's breast and should be barefoot. He wore his boots and burned the soles completely off them. The Hunas laughed as he was making his way back through the thorny jungle with no soles on his boots. But his feet were unharmed by the hot lava.
In my world, something happened that night and the other nights when I walked on burning coals. I learned a lot about myself and how I processed information. I gained enormously from the experience. I en-Joyed it!
Maybe the coals are not hot enough to hurt you, but I have stepped on a lit cigarette on the beach and it hurt!! A LOT! That was one step with one foot. I put both my feet down in hotter burning coals 4 or 5 times with each foot and was unharmed.
It was about removing self-imposed limits and understanding -- and tweaking -- my connection with my inner being. Something marvelous and momentous happened that night. And that, folks, was enough for me.
answered 10 Mar '12, 21:02
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