Affirmation is an excellent way of calming the mind and avoiding states of mind such as worry and fear, creating our future. Decide not to let the mind control us, we're going to control the mind. Gurudeva's story of "I'm all right, right now." The three keys of affirmation are to: Think, visualize and feel. At least once a day, during these times of staying at home, together say a family affirmation as here bestowed by Bodhinatha.
Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lesson 11, The Power of Affirmation.
Thought I'd talk about responding to current world conditions. Different topic than usual but seemed more relevant than the Merging with Siva lesson of the day.
So I was speaking to the camera as well as the monks present. Definitely we're in the midst of a global crisis due to the Corona Virus and it's a challenging time for everyone and challenging times are excellent time to make sure we're applying some of Gurudeva's many tools for handling challenges. In other words we have to decide that we're not going to let the mind control us; we're going to control the mind. And find some tools that are appropriate to accomplish that. And I thought a good one was recently highlighted on TAKA which is the power of affirmation.
Power of affirmation is an excellent way of calming the mind and avoiding states of mind such as worry and fear. For those who aren't familiar with affirmation, affirmation is the idea that we repeat a positive statement in a certain way which we'll talk about later. And that positive statement quiets the mind and impresses the subconscious mind and therefore, when the subconscious mind is impressed significantly actually changes our future. Because the subconscious, the future is created by the impressions put into the subconscious mind. Most impressions that go in there deliberately or impressions that go in there just by chance. All of that adds up to creating our future.
The affirmation that's mentioned in the Master Course for quieting the mind and reading it as worry and fear is: "I'm all right, right now." Repetition of I'm all right right now helps us focus on fact that in the present moment we're actually okay and if we can keep focused on the present moment we'll continue to be okay. It's just our thoughts about the future that are, could cause us to worry and become disturbed. But there's no reason to become worry and disturbed, worry is not a positive mental activity. Some individuals are so used to worrying that they would feel strange if they didn't. But, looked in a, from the overview, there's no benefit from worry. Gurudeva even says: "If you worry enough about something you can actually create what you're worrying about." So don't want to do that. Just think about something positive and create that instead.
It's a wonderful story, I read it before a few years ago I think from Guru Chronicles on the origin, Gurudeva's origin of finding the idea that: I'm all right right now. And it's from Guru Chronicles, Guru Chronicles it, the when Gurudeva was young calls him Robert. But I'm not comfortable calling him Robert out loud so I'm going to call him Young Gurudeva, like Young Sheldon. Those of you who know the television show Young Sheldon. So we have Young Gurudeva in our story.
"Among Young Gurudeva's favorite radio shows was 'The Lone Ranger,' a serial adventure that was broadcast from 1933 to 1954. In the story, a heroic masked Texas Ranger gallops on his horse Silver to right injustices, helped by his clever Indian partner, Tonto. The weekly half hour was addictively popular with kids eager to be enthralled, among them Young Gurudeva, who never missed an episode..."
So those of you who are not old enough to have listened to radio shows before 1954, this was the equivalent of watching television. This is, the radio shows would have all kinds of sound effects, you know, you'd hear the horse galloping along and guns shooting and all kinds of things. So, it wasn't just talk. It was actually sound effects and different layers of different roles and all so it was a very, very exciting shows, pre-television.
"One cold December day in the early 1930s, Young Gurudeva's father took his son on a supply errand to the village of South Lake Tahoe, (There in Fallen Leaf Lake which is off the main roads.) three miles away, to pick up the mail and stock the family pantry. They had a custom-made truck--black in color, as all automobiles were in that day--that had two large skis mounted in front instead of tires, and dual-wheel metal snow tracks in the rear, so they could drive on the top of the lightly packed snows without a need for roads. (Very clever.) It had a fabric roof, no side windows and the back was an open flatbed for carrying supplies. On this day, father and son were running late, and that was not good. This was the evening "The Lone Ranger" would be aired, and it was unthinkable that an episode would be missed. But the unthinkable was happening. It was a moment the young boy would remember the rest of his life.
"Quite often the snowmobile would become stuck in the snow. This might delay us an hour or two as my father worked to release it so that we could proceed. Each time we went to the village, on the way home I observed my thinking faculty being disturbed and worried for fear that we would not arrive in home in time for me to listen to my favorite radio program. I hated to miss the sequence of the programs, such as 'Captain Midnight,' 'The Lone Ranger' and 'Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.'
"This was the first time I became aware in the area of the mind that always worries. There I was, though, and I didn't like it. I clearly remember mentally talking to myself and saying, 'You are all right right now. We haven't gotten stuck in the snow yet! Have we?' At that early age, I actually saw awareness coming out of the area of the mind that always worries and entering a total consciousness of here and now. Then awareness would leave the now and go into the past, and I would begin to think, 'Four days ago we were delayed in the snow for about an hour and my father had a very difficult time digging out the snowmobile.' I saw my awareness travel into the past. Then I would repeat even more firmly to myself, 'I am all right, right now. We are not delayed yet.' And again, I actually saw awareness travel right back to the present moment.
"This became one of my hobbies. The totality of the power of the eternity of the moment began to become stronger and stronger within me from that time onward, until whenever anything came along in the mind substance, I was able to handle it and work it out right from the now, instead of having my intelligence drift off into the future and try to work it out from that perspective or backtrack into the past and try to find a resolution there. All this and even more unfolded to me at that early age in such a beautiful and simple way."
End of story. Charming story.
There's an excellent chapter on affirmations in "Merging with Siva" and gives three important keys for affirmations being effective. In other words, when you do something often it's easy to do it with only part of your mind focused on it and the other part doing something else. Driving a car is a good example. You can have major conversations, be planning your day and at the same time you're driving your car and you're not paying much attention to it. So repeating an affirmation many many days in a row, after a while you can stop paying attention to it and you're thinking about what's gonna, what you're going to eat for dinner or what you're going to cook for dinner. And it you're doing that then the affirmation is not going to be effective.
Well, what are the three keys? The three keys are to: Think, visual and feel. Think, visualize and feel. Go through each one.
Think means to be focused on what the affirmation means. And, to illustrate this I changed affirmations: "I can. I will. I am able to accomplish what I plan." That's an easy affirmation for this particular exercise of think, visualize, feel. I can. I will. I am able to accomplish what I plan. So think means we have that feeling: I can. I will. I am able to accomplish what I plan. We're focused on the meaning.
Visualize means we need an image in the mind. How our visualization is very strong. So, we need to create something. So in the "Publisher's Desk" which this comes from I imagine we're renovating a room, where you're doing carpentry in a room. So you would visualize what it looks like now and then see yourself remodeling it and then see how it looks when you're finished. That would be a visualization. So you need to find an example to illustrate what you're trying to do through the affirmation.
And then feel. Feel is very important as Gurudeva points out in the chapter in, on affirmations in "Merging with Siva" sometimes people leave that out. And therefore, the affirmation is not as effective as it could be. Feel means to feel in the present how you will feel in the future when you've accomplished what you're going to do. So, for example, if we're creating an affirmation for building the front steps of Iraivan Temple before we started we'd see at that point, there was nothing there, then we see different steps in constructing it and then we see it when it's done and we feel now as we will feel when we see it when it's done. That's how we evolve affirmation in a specific project. So, it's very important. It's going to look beautiful so we need to have that feeling of seeing it, beautiful steps sitting there and how it will transform the temple in many ways.
Last idea on affirmations is a group affirmation. Monastery has a group affirmation that we say every morning about our areas of service. Visualizing them going well. And once a month the whole monastery works on the Iraivan Temple project. And the day before that we have a special affirmation for Iraivan that we all say together once a month to help manifest the completion of Iraivan Temple's construction.
Well, affirmations as a group are an important part of monastic life. And we thought, many years ago, it would be great to create a sample affirmation for families. And this is a particularly good time when many families are together all day long at home, enjoying each others company. One of the activities you could do is to say a family affirmation at least once a day.
And this is a sample one:
"We, the Sivam family, beseech the grace of Lord Ganesha to manifest His blessings of peace and harmony within our home and to joyfully fulfill the spiritual, social, economic, cultural and educational goals of family life as outlined in Hindu scripture. We remain close-knit and cultivate unity by talking together about the experiences of our day, extending our affection and harmony to other families as well. We take time for training, and we value mistakes as opportunities to learn. To us, the guest is truly God, welcomed and honored with heartfelt hospitality. Through our thoughtfulness, care and compassion, we allow an abundance of gold to accumulate within our home. We give generously of our income and our time to further our religion. We are filled and thrilled with God's Cosmic Energy, creatively alive, and in tune with the universe."
Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day. Aum Namah Sivaya.