Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within event is famous for one aspect: The Firewalk. In his book Unlimited Power, Robbins says that there can be no tangible benefit that can arise from walking on fire – this act is to signify to oneself that “I have walked on fire and come out unscathed. I can do anything else”. I confess – I was scared by the prospect of walking on fire. I considered skipping this, but I knew that I would eventually walk on fire. I asked several volunteers about the firewalk – “You don’t have to worry about anything. Tony will prepare you”, was the answer they all gave me. Here is a video of Oprah Winfrey doing the firewalk.
The event started around 12:45 pm, and up until 7 pm, Tony was giving his general lecture, I outlined some salient points here and here. I was wondering when would he prepare us for the firewalk? From 7 pm till 10:30 pm, he prepared us repeatedly.
- The first instruction was that we were not to look at the coals – we need to look straight.
- The second instruction was that we should not run – we needed to take brisk, normal steps through the coals. Third, to prepare for the firewalk, he made us repeat loudly “YES. YES. YES.” several times, to get us into peak state.
- Fourth – while walking on fire, we needed to repeat the phrase “Cool moss”.
- Fifth – once we cross to the other side, we will be stepping on grass, and volunteers will check if there are any coal pieces remaining on our feet.
There was one maneuver that Tony had taught us. He would loudly say “Make your move”, and we had to come up with a power move that appealed to us, and make this move. “Make your move”, he would repeat again. “Say Yes”, he would say, and we would say “YES”. “Say Yes”. “YES”. “Make the sound that unleashes the power within”. The entire 13,000 odd people all made a massive sound together, and the stadium erupted with this noise. Here is a video that demonstrates this.
As we inched closer to the big moment, in addition to the energy raising moves to raise our energy level, for half an hour or so, Tony calmed the entire set of participants by playing soft, meditative music. One piece, a Devi Prayer, particularly appealed to me:
My moment had come. I was next in line to walk on fire. “YES. YES. YES.” I shouted loudly. Just as I was about to walk on the fire, I saw the burning coals. My entire being started trembling in fear. “I can’t do this”, I said, and went to the back of the line. Another 5 people were ahead of me. “YES. YES. YES.” I was prepping myself. Each person ahead of me went ahead and completed the firewalk. It was my turn again. “YES. YES. YES.” I looked into the eyes of the volunteer. And I made the same mistake of looking at the coals. Fear enveloped me again, and I walked back to the beginning of the line. The same routine repeated.
The third time was a charm. I looked straight ahead, and marched through the coals, safely through the other side. I HAD WALKED ON FIRE! I know that fire walks are not all that unusual, there are many events which conduct this, but to me, this was a major achievement. I had overcome a fear. I had a small blister on one foot for a couple of days, but I was not hurt.
The next day, during one of the break sessions, I sought out this gentleman who helped me through the firewalk, and thanked him for his patience with me. He in turned commended me, and said that people who were scared the first time would typically decide not to walk on fire – I was one of the few who persisted after getting scared. The girl who I sat next to on the second day said that she had skipped the firewalk, so there were indeed a few people who had chosen not to do the firewalk. In any case – I had walked on fire!
Here is a picture of me with Paul, the kind person who helped me through the three attempts to walk on fire. He kindly agreed to pose for a picture with me the next day.
Image Credit: By Randy Stewart – https://www.flickr.com/photos/stewtopia/3948482669/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16169479